15 Reasons Thumb-Sucking Might Actually Be Beneficial for Toddlers

Thumb sucking is a perfectly natural thing for a baby – and a toddler – to do. The medical community is a little split over this issue, but one thing we are definitely sure of is that when a child sucks too hard on their thumb, it can cause lasting damage on their teeth.

There are, however, some benefits to thumb sucking – or at least, there are reasons why it might not be such a terrible thing. As long as a child is thumb sucking at the age of a toddler, it can have positive effects on their life. Let’s take a look at some of those possible benefits.

It teaches how to eat from an early age

Thumb sucking is something that a fetus does in the womb. It’s completely natural and it comes as a result of human instinct. While the intention is obviously not to eat the thumb, the act of sucking on the thumb allows a baby to discover how their mouth and tongue work. At a stage when they aren’t eating solid food, this gives them important practice and teaches them the function of the tongue, teeth and lips from an early age.

Thumb sucking as a toddler serves this same purpose, as a baby moves on from milk to solid food.

BonNontawat / Shutterstock.com
BonNontawat / Shutterstock.com

It’s comforting

Just like adults like to curl up in the fetal position in bed, babies like to suck their thumb. These actions that we perform in the womb are solidified in our minds as something comforting and they become a habit.

Sure, it’s important that a toddler learns to comfort his or herself without doing this one day, but at this age, it’s not really the biggest thing to worry about. Most people quickly begin finding other ways to comfort themselves.

Zurijeta / Shutterstock.com
Zurijeta / Shutterstock.com

It’s a sucking reflex for breastfeeding

For young children, sucking the thumb helps them stay capable of breast feeding. The sucking motion is necessary in order to drink from a bottle, too, making this an essential part of learning for a baby. This is the reason why a baby does this in the womb. So, don’t worry too much about thumb sucking. It’s merely a habit formed in the womb designed as a survival mechanism.

MJTH / Shutterstock.com
MJTH / Shutterstock.com
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