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Are you pregnant and curious, or have a baby and are wondering about newborn milestones? Thumb sucking is characteristic for many babies, and you may well want to know when your baby will start sucking its thumb. Thumb sucking is a natural response in many babies who are simply satisfying their oral reflexes.

Newborn babies have a sucking reflex that helps them latch on to the breast and thereby have access to appropriate nutrition. Place any object at all into the mouth of a newborn, and it will start sucking. This same reflex causes thumb sucking. After all, the thumb is right there and very convenient. But not all babies suck their thumbs routinely.

There is nothing wrong with either thumb sucking or not doing it different babies simply soothe themselves in different ways. Those babies who do suck their thumbs regularly probably started way back while they were still in the womb. Ultrasound during pregnancy frequently shows a fetus sucking his or her thumb, at even as early as 17 weeks into a pregnancy! Some babies are much happier when they suck their thumb it offers comfort.

But other babies want nothing to do with their own thumb and may prefer a breast or pacifier. There are some indications that babies who suck their thumbs tend to sleep through the night earlier than their non-thumb sucking counterparts. Since thumb sucking offers self soothing, rather than requiring another object for comfort, this is quite logical. Sleeping through the night is not everything though! Read more about this in our article, what is sleep training with a baby?

You may also wonder when your baby will stop sucking its thumb! Most will stop by the time they reach pre-school age, and especially as they start having more interaction with peers. Don't worry your child won't suck his or her thumb indefinitely. They will stop when they are ready to do so.

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