Thumb sucking is very common childhood habit which almost all the parents must have heard about as well as faced once in a while. Usually thumb sucking is not a cause to worry about.
WHY do children suck thumb?
It is Soothing activity for children. Babies do it when they are feeling bored, anxious or tiered. It is a way to cope up with stress or anxiety and they feel safe and relaxed while sucking thumb.
How long will it last?
Most of the children stop sucking thumb by 4 years of age. Most commonly between 2-4 years of age. Most of the kids who suck thumb beyond this point stop in view of peer pressure at school.
When should we try to stop it?
It should not be a concern until permanent teeth start erupting. Once permanent teeth start coming it can damage the roof of mouth and teeth might be not aligned properly. We should consider intervention if
Child continues to suck thumb aggressively even after age of 4-5 years
Thumb sucking leads to dental problems
What can be done to stop thumb sucking?
Ignore it: In many cases, if you do not pay any attention to thumb sucking, child stops it (in cases where it is a behavior thing in which child do it to catch your attention).
Positive reinforcement: Praise your child when he or she is not sucking thumb and give them small rewards to encourage their positive behavior (like extra bedtime stories, some stickers etc).
Try to identify triggers: Thumb sucking could be in response to stress or anxiety. If you hug the child and provide reassuring words, it can do wonders. Children want unconditional love all the time.
Gently remind your child: Do not scold or threaten the baby; but simply offer a gentle reminder to stop. Do not embarrass the child in front of others; just tell them by using private cues.
And remember, most habits in young kids are just passing phases.
Does negative reinforcement have any role in thumb sucking?
Resist the temptation of using aversion techniques like putting chili powder, vinegar or other bitter stuff on thumb. It can only worsen the situation.
Should we consult Dentist?
Opinion can be taken; as they can directly counsel the child. Dentist might recommend a special mouth guard. But these are reserve for extreme cases.
Thumb sucking is a childhood habits, which will go away sooner or later; so try not to worry.
Putting too much pressure on your child to stop thumb sucking might only delay the process.
I think virtually every parent must have faced this problem once in their babies at some point of time. Diaper rash basically develops due to direct contact of skin with moist surface or soiled diaper. It develops mostly in genital area, perianal area, thigh folds and buttocks.
Causes of Diaper Rash:
If potty soiled diaper is left for too long.
If wet diaper is kept for too long a period.
Allergic reaction to diaper material, soaps or baby wipes
Too much moisture
Too much rubbing of skin while cleaning or too much friction from diaper if put very tightly on baby.
Bacterial infection, yeast infections
Once the rash has started developing and skin is damaged, there are more chances of developing infections like bacterial, fungal or yeast.
Babies who are breast fed have less chance of diaper rashes.
More common when baby is having diarrhea, baby on antibiotics, recent change in dietary habits like starting with solid foods. If babies are not kept clean or dry for long periods.
Steps to manage/ prevent Diaper rash:
Keep area as clean and as dry as possible.
Pat dry; the area rather than rubbing. Allow it dry fully before putting on diaper.
Use oil based barrier like Vaseline petroleum jelly, coconut oil etc.
Keep diaper area dry for as long as possible. Best is to avoid use of diaper during day keep it open to dry air.
If temperature of room is ambient, try to keep baby in open without nappies, so that rashes can air dry.
Change diaper more frequently
Avoid wiping with alcohol based wipes, use soft cotton washcloth.
Apply thick layer of any Zinc based ointment like Siloderm etc. Or any napirash cream available. Important is to put a thick layer and it is not necessary to completely remove the whole cream on next diaper change.
Most important thing to remember is that heavy rubbing or scrubbing is only going to damage it more.
Wrap the diaper as loose as possible (too tight diaper can prevent proper air circulation is there and wet or soiled parts do not rub against the skin too much).
Avoid use of Steroid based creams as far as possible (unless until recommended by your child doctor, as they can harm your baby).
When Consult your child doctor (Pediatrician) if
Pus filled blister or sores appear near rashes
Rashes are not improving
They are getting worse even after taking all the precautions.
Baby has fever along with rashes
Rashes all over the body
Various home remedies available for Diaper rash treatment are listed in the below mentioned link.
Training the children for toilet is a big issue for parents. It is perceived as a big developmental milestone. But the real problem starts when we start comparing our kids with others. Every child has different pace of developing milestones. And few accidents regarding Susu (Urine) and potty (Stool) once in a while should be dealt with patiently. Compassionate and encouraging attitude towards toddlers will help us better, than showing frustration and anger.
What is the age when our baby will be ready?
First action which suggests that your baby is ready to train is when baby start to tell you while doing susu or soon after that before you take notice. And when baby is praised for telling the same, they will soon be telling you before doing.
Most babies should be ready by 2 years but some may take time until they turn 3.
Girls are ready earlier than boys of similar age
Control over susu comes before potty
Other features which indicates that your baby is ready for toilet training are
Telling you that his nappy is wet
Pulling at wet or dirty nappies
Baby does not want to wear nappies any longer
Shows interest in others using toilet
Patience is the Key to success in this case too. Most problems arise when we start too early or we want our baby to be trained before certain major event in our life. eg arrival of 3nd baby, family marriage, long planned vacation, before going to play school. If we try to put pressure on child it will only worsen the case and increase your frustration levels.
How to train your baby
Teach your child meaning of words needed to define urine, stool, dry, wet , it’s coming. Choose words you are comfortable with eg susu, potty, wet (geela), dry (suukha), etc. Clear words and constantly same words to be used by everyone at home will make it easier for baby.
Need to have thing with you which are needed like toilet seat (different types are there, choose which ever you are comfortable with), footstool near the seat so that baby can climb up, proper lighting in the area, something to hold on while sitting on toilet seat so that baby will feel safe and relaxed.
Keep the area safe. Keep toilet cleaner, household cleaner and other toiletries out of range of children.
Talk to your child, if you are comfortable you can let your baby go along with you and tell them all the steps you are doing like cleaning flushing etc.
Learn the signal which baby gives before, keep your toilet ready (because your baby won’t be able to hold on for long), loose cloths which can be easily removed.
Few important things you need to know:
Never start toilet training when something new is happening and child is trying to adapt. eg change of home, grandparents leaving home, arrival of 2nd baby, you are very stressed out etc
Give your child time to get familiar with stuff in toilet (so that they are not scared). Eg let him touch the toilet seat, feel it.
Encourage an appreciate child’s behavior and things when they tell in time. Hug them or cuddle them and say something like “You are good baby”. And always support them if they do in their pants.
Never embarrass or punish your Child. It will only worsen the situation.
Remember it is very difficult skill to learn for child and it will take time. The more you support your child easier it will be for them.
Hygiene: Girls should be taught to wipe front towards back to avoid chances of getting the potty into vagina and Boys should be taught to shake penis after susu to get rid of any drops.
Teach your child to wash hand every time and also assist them in early stages of cleaning.
“Toilet training works best when there is no pressure for either the parent or the child”.
If you are stressed out or getting angry seeing that your baby is not learning, it is best to leave it for few days and do not pressurize your child. Punishment will never help.
Some baby will hide at some weird place and do susu or potty. Like behind the sofa, or curtain or cupboard. You need to be patient and support them and no Punishment.
Most babies will make a mess after doing potty; they may soil their hands and spread it. Do not punish them but also do not pretend to be happy about it. Child should know that it is not good in non threatening way.
Constipation can make things worse as doing potty becomes painful and child try to avoid passing stool and is afraid to sit on potty seat. Give warm bath, it may relax the muscles.
If a child who has been dry, start to wet again then look for causes of stress or visit a doctor to rule out urinary infection. Features suggestive of urinary infection include:
Increased frequency, pain during susu
Blood in susu
Consult a doctor if even after age of 4 years child is wetting pants to rule out Urinary infection, bladder abnormalities like Vesico ureteral reflux and behavioral issues like BED-WETTING.
Toilet training is not easy and child needs your support during this difficult phase to learn this new skill.
Go slowly at your child’s pace,not as per your need or wish.
Praise child at every step and encourage him/her.
Do not get dishearten by few accidents (susu & potty) after child had been dry.