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18 month old sucks her tongue
lee6901 posted:
My 18 month old never took the pacifier but she sucks her tongue all the time. I sucked my tongue for a long time and had to wear braces so I am just trying to stop this before it becomes a problem. I know she needs to self soothe so here is my questions. Is this something I should be worried about now? Any tips to get her to stop? She is talking and when I tell her to stop, she does for a few seconds and then she goes right back to it. Her lips are dry because of this. Any help, thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.

This is my first child and this site has been so helpful every step of the way.
orin34 responded:
I was a K/1 teacher and nothing made me cringe more than when a kid has his fingers shoved halfway down his throat and then the next thing you knew he was holding my hand. Wonderful.
I worked on this with the students and used "sign" to get them to stop. That way I wouldn't have to stop a lesson and I could save my breath. Usually what I would do is point at the offender (or make a pointed gaze in their direction) and I would sign "no" or "stop".
My son soothes himself this way he shoves his index finger in his mouth and he has a lovey stuffed animal in the same hand (he likes to rub the tag). In his case it is only during the transition from awake to asleep... he doesn't do it all day long.
Amelia_WebMD_Staff responded:
Hi lee!

I'm so happy to hear that WebMD and the members have been helpful through your first parenting experiences! Raising a little one is not easy, so having reviewed medical material and others to relate can give many of us relief.

Here is a great Oral Health Problems in Children Guide that may give you some suggestions with your daughter's habit. "Generally, it's normal and healthy for infants to suck their thumbs, fingers, pacifiers, or toys. Object sucking gives children a sense of emotional security and comfort. However, if thumb sucking continues beyond the age of 5 - when the permanent teeth begin to come in - dental problems may occur." Personally, I agree with the guide that discipline in this type of situation would be more helpful to reward your LO for her actions of not sucking and hopefully she will want to please you, rather than rebel.

Please keep us posted and best of luck!
lee6901 replied to Amelia_WebMD_Staff's response:
Thank you very much for the responses. After reading this information, it seems like I am prematurely worrying about this habit. I will keep an eye on it and try positive reinforcements, it is does not go away on its own.

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