How to Encourage Thumb Sucking

By eHow Parenting Editor

The need for babies to suck is so strong that many start sucking on their fingers while still in the womb. Parents can help babies develop self-soothing and comforting skills early on by gently encouraging thumb sucking.

Watch for cues that a newborn is trying to get her hand to her mouth.

Help baby bring her hand to her mouth.

Hold her hand gently at her mouth if she is starting to suck. If she protests, remove her hand and comfort her.

Respect her natural inclination to suck on her fingers or not.

Avoid removing other fingers from her mouth, as she may be just exploring or prefer to suck on them. Eventually she'll probably gravitate to the thumb when she has more dexterity.