The research shows that not all babies needs thumb sucking or comfort items. In general, the babies who are always accompanied by parents or family members, are less likely to rely on the comfort toys or snoothing actions. Baby needs comfort toys, soothing pacifiers, comfort pillows or thumb sucking usually have a specific reason. When baby feels lonely or insecure, comfort items will become one special meaning thing for the baby.
Baby emotion switches easily, the first minute they are laughing, and the next minute you will see they are crying. When the parents or close family are not around, baby will easy become anxious and nervous. In effect by this emotion, baby will need a particular items (plush toys, pacifiers, comfort pillow and so on) or action (like thumb sucking) to soothe their own. This might become a habit when they have the same emotion.
And the comfort items may represent a safe environment, a family member, or a emotion. When baby comes to a new strange environment, the comfort toys, pacifiers or other items could help them to appease their emotion, give them a sense of safe, and better adapt to the new environment. It is positive for the baby's psychological grow.
Many parents are very concern about when the baby starts to need the comfort items or dumb sucking, and when the baby should stop to use soothing items. Below are some information for your reference:
1. Most of babies begin to reply on an soothing action like dumb sucking or soothing items since 6 months
2. From 8 to 9 moths, the need of the soothing items or dumb sucking is increased, especially when the parents are not around.
3. Between 1-3 years, it is the peaked time of request for soothing items. After that, the child could feel safe even the parents are not around. The emotion could be stable, and the anxious would be reduced slightly, the request for the soothing items or action would also be reduced.
4. In general, around 3-4 years, the child will completely get rid of the soothing items or actions.
If the school age children are still rely on soothing items, you need to find the reason why the child feel anxious, help the child to solve the problem rather that simply take the soothing items away.
Below are some tips about soothing items or actions:
Don't add any sweetener like honey in the nipple of Pacifier
Don't delay the feeding time by using the pacifier
Try to avoid to use pacifiers if the breastfeeding hasn't started successful.
Using pacifiers could help to reduce the risk of SID (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
The best age to stop the pacifier is 2 years old
2. Plush toys, blankets or pillows
If the child's soothing item is a plush toy, or blanket, or comfort pillow, the parents will need to prepare a similar item as backup. Because when your child relies on one item, if that item is broken or lost, the child emotion might become extremely uncontrolled. At that time, a similar replacement would be very helpful to comfort your child.
For the baby under 12 months, if they have a plush toys, blanket or pillow as the soothing item, ensure removed these from the crib when the baby is sleeping. This could avoid baby suffocation by the plush toys or blankets when they turn over their body or face in the sleeping.
If the bottle is the your baby or child soothing item, do not put too much formula milk or juice into the bottle, in case the child suck the bottle for a long time.
Teach the baby to use cup to drink water when they are 6 months old and use cup to drink milk when they are 12 months old. These could help your baby to get rid of bottle soothing easily. And it is helpful for oral and dental health in future.
4. Finger or thumb sucking
Finger or thumb sucking is the only soothing way for many babies. However, it is not easy to get rid of this habit. The parents must be patient, distract the baby's attention and comfort your baby.
If the child is still like to sucking the finger or thumb after 3 years old, it will cause the future oral or dental health problem. If you meet the problem, intervene it timely, learn the reason cause this behavior, figure out it is just a habit or the real anxiety or fear inside, solve the problem fundamentally, rather than simply to stop.
Tips for Get Rid of comfort or soothing items or actions
When the baby is growing, they will feel enough sense of safety, the comfort or soothing items or actions will lose the special meaning, this would be the perfect time to get rid of comfort or soothing items or actions. This usually occurs the child in 3-5 years old.
In the withdrawal process, try to avoid to mention the comfort items in daily talking.
Don't just ask your child to stop to use the comfort verbally only, children also need a good way to help them. When the child doesn't need his comfort items temporarily, you could put it on place not easy to see by the child, but let he or she knows where it is. You can give it back to them when he or she indeed need it. This is gradually process, need the patient.
Don't let the child hold the comfort item all the time, this would not do any help, it will only become worse. That's why the finger or dumb sucking is hard to get rid of, because the child could suck his or her finger or dumb at any time.
Try to spend more time with your child, don't let them easy to feel lonely or bored. Then they will no long need the comfort items.
When a 5-6 years old child still need the comfort item, or the baby become very anxious when you take the comfort item from them, then you will need to find out the psychological reason, in order to help them to get rid of this.