What to do when thumb-sucking damages your baby's skin

Q: Our 10-month-old likes to suck her thumb when she is ready to go to sleep. Now the skin on her thumb has split and become calloused. Any suggestions to help with healing?

A: Thumb-sucking is common among babies, so your daughter’s sucking behaviour is not unusual or even worri-some, particularly since it happens at bedtime. The issue is the damage to her skin.

I’m sure this isn’t at all uncommon and there is likely a simple medical solution. See if her doctor can recommend an ointment or salve that’s safe to ingest for help with the healing.

You may also want to see if you can have her switch to sucking a pacifier instead of her thumb. This will allow her to have the comfort of sucking without hurting her skin. She may or may not be willing to make the change, but it’s worth a try.

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