Thumb sucking, better or worse than a dummy? 

Good question without a straight forward answer I’m afraid. Whereas the two are both sucking habits they usually start for different reasons and at different stages. 

Sucking on hands, fingers or thumb doesn’t usually start until week 10-16 and generally for exploring or comfort.  At this stage everything goes in the mouth, just because it can! 

It’s a stage of development which every baby goes through with most babies attaching themselves to something be it a thumb, comforter or blanket.   

Of course the thumb is much more difficult to detach from and isolate at bedtime than a dummy or comforter. This is why I advise introducing a comforter as a bed friend around the age of 5-7 months. Encouraging the soft comforter instead of a finger, thumb or dummy.  At the stage of naturally sucking for comfort I wouldn’t be thinking of introducing a dummy to avoid hand sucking. 

A dummy habit can start much earlier on and usually used as a sleep prop or silencer. You can throw a dummy away of course or confine the use to the cot! 

There is no right or wrong and what might be the easiest route for one child might not work for another. What I do know is that if the sucking for comfort is isolated to the sleep then a child is more likely to naturally grow out of it without the habit hindering speech and mouth development later on. 

You may enjoy the following posts…

Is it Ok to give a baby a dummy/pacifier to settle to sleep? 

Toddler Sleep Training and Settling plan


Baby Sleep Support

Toddler Sleep & Behaviour Specialist