23 answers

Cream/treatment for Thumb-sucker

My 23-month-old daughter has been a thumb-sucker practically from birth. This has always been just fine with me - she is able to self-soothe and I'm not constantly buying/losing/finding pacifiers. We'll deal with weaning her when the time comes. She stopped sucking from about 12-18 months, but has started up again in earnest since she became aware that her baby brother is on the way (due next month).

Now her thumb is getting dry and chapped, especially in the winter weather. She'll sometimes point to it and express discomfort/pain. I want to be able to treat it with a cream or something natural that will heal and protect the skin, but it has to be something that is not dangerous for her to ingest. Most creams state clearly on the bottle that they should not be ingested (for good reason, I'm sure).

Any suggestions?

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks to everyone for their responses. I started using Lansinoh on her thumb, and even her hands and face if they were chapped from the cold weather. It works great - a little goes a long way! Thanks for the tips.

Featured Answers

You could try 100% lanolin--the kind you buy for when you are breastfeeding. It's safe for babies and I used to use it on my daughter's chapped lips when she was an infant.

What about Lansinoh cream that you use for dry/cracked nipples when you're breast feeding? It is specifically okay to ingest and is safe enough for new borns.

More Answers


I was a nursing Mom who used Lansinoh Brand Lanolin cream which is safe for your baby/toddler to ingest. I still have some cream and have used it for many things like under my children's noses when they are sore from a cold. It works great and I know it is safe for them.

Their website is www.lansinoh.com if you want to read more about it. I don't remember where I purchased mine but I am sure you can find it at any drug store or baby supply store.

Good luck!


1 mom found this helpful

Hello A.,

You might want to try Lansinoh ointment (100% natural lanolin). Its actually marketed as a remedy for sore nipples for breastfeeding mothers (thats how I originally came across the product). It does not need to be removed before breast feeding, so it is OK if its ingested. My 4 year old daughter gets very dry, chapped lips so I began using it on her when nothing else was working. It works very quickly, like a charm! If you want to look into it further, the website is www.lansinoh.com, and it can usually be found in your local supermarket in the baby aisle near diaper rash ointments and such. Hope this helps!

Good luck,
(Stay-at-home Mom of three- 4 yr old girl, 2 yr old boy and 10 mo old girl)

1 mom found this helpful

What about Lansinoh cream that you use for dry/cracked nipples when you're breast feeding? It is specifically okay to ingest and is safe enough for new borns.

In my opinion, try Eucerin cream to help with the chafing. She will be fine after it dries, it wouldn't hurt her anyway. Maybe if she can still taste it, she won't want to suck her thumb anymore.

My husband and I use the Lansinoh Lanolin and Medela's Purelan nipple creams on our extremely dry hands as moisturizers. When you use it on your breast, you don't have to wash it off, so I assume it would be okay on a thumb. I use olive oil or other high quality food oil as a moisturizer on my baby. Good luck.

It might be a case that it 's a comfort thing and it was ok before but now with "discomfort" it need to change.
Try offer her more hands-on activities or 2 handed things to do....have her be "mommy's Little helper" it also might ease the arrival of #2.
Not that she'd be able to explain thoughts at this stage try talking to her she might be able to shake her head yes or No to let you know more of whats going on.
Talk to your pedaitrician if things get worse. J.

I use lanolin on my thumbsuckers chapped thumb. I love the olive oil idea!

my doc suggested "new skin" by bandaid, its a liquid bandage. worked great for my daughter when this has happened. I put it on right after a nap, blew on her thumb for about 30 seconds and it was dry. She healed in a day or two.Good luck

Hi A.
Give olive oil a try while she sleeps. That way it works steadily for a few hours before she pops her thumb in her mouth again. You can also dab it on during the day and the benefit to that is she may not like the taste and stop thumb sucking all together and it's good for digestion if she does like the taste. Good Luck!

You could try 100% lanolin--the kind you buy for when you are breastfeeding. It's safe for babies and I used to use it on my daughter's chapped lips when she was an infant.

Try the lanolin creams used by moms who are breast feeding and that can be ingested by the infant without harm. I've seen them in stores with breast shields, nursing bras, etc.

Good luck--she won't thumb suck forever...

Good morning!

the best thing i can recomend is called "bag balm" its a little green tin with a cow on it. farmers use it to soothe their dry chapped hands. it works wonders. its somewhat like vasaline but darker and somewhat medicated. this is great stuff, i have used it for years (seeing as i grew up on a farm).

and it doesnt taste that great so she might stop sucking her thumb. there are other creams burts bees hand salve (tastes horrid). nothing that is good and moisturizing tastes good. hope this helps

My first thought was lanolin (think: Lansinoh), like the kind you would use as a nipple moisturizer with breastfeeding. It rubs in well, and is safe

The problem isn't the sucking the problem is with the excitment of a new baby brother coming to take her place as the baby how about some little special thing you can give her or extra time with her everyday to help her cope ?

My daughter sucked her thumb until about 6 years old. I remember asking my pediatrician about it, and he gave me the best advice ever- he said, "Have you ever seen a bride sucking her thumb? If not, then don't worry about it!" He's totally right! Your daughter is still very little, and whether she can express it or not, the addition of a new family member is stressful in her little world. Also, I have been teaching Kindergarten and first grade for almost 20 years- Every year I have a few that still suck their thumb while listening to a story, or resting. It is totally normal. What eventually happens is a peer says something and they start to police themselves. They'll keep their thumb-sucking to bedtime, etc. and stop doing it in public. Then all of a sudden it will stop. My advice is to just let her do it until she is developmentally ready to stop.

I would use lanolin- the kind that you can uses for sore nipples from breastfeeding. That way you know it's safe to ingest, and it will last longer than something like olive oil.

I've never tried it on any skin other than my nipples, but maybe you could try Lansinoh. Similar to your daughter's thumb sucking, it works for healing damaged skin from a baby's suckling. And it's safe for a baby to put in his/her mouth, so it should also be safe for a 2 year old. I hope this helps, and best wishes to you with your new addition coming soon! -L.

olive oil is wonderful for the skin. I use it for chapped lips, dry hands. But for my hands I usually use it at night because it is greasy. It's also wonderful for baby bottoms instead of the other stuff used for baby bottoms.

my son had the same problem, we used chapstick.

Have you tried Aquaphor? It has been a real problem-solver for our family. If she can keep her thumb out of her mouth for even an hour at a time, it will sink in and help tremendously. It is made by Eucerin, and don't get the Healing Ointment, it's not as thick and won't work quite as well.

Good luck!
E. W.

how about that breastfeeding nipple cream, think it's called lansinoh? It's safe to ingest and works great on chapped nipples!

How about coconut oil? They sell it both for food and for skin, it's definitely edible, and is now considered a healthy fat. It has anti-bacterial and anti-micorbial properties, too.

Dear A.,
I think this is a very good timing for your daughter to stop sucking her thumb since you have a good reason to tell her that the cream you used on her thumb to protect her chapped skin is not edible. She will be turning two years old in another month. Although she will be jealous about the new baby brother, I think you can take her to the store and let her pick up a toy that she would like and tell her that this toy is from her baby brother given to her as a gift, and tell her that her brother loves her very much and would like to meet her and play with her soon; let her know that she would be a big sister and she can help you take care of the little brother, and big girl will not suck on thumb.
Hope this will help you solve the problem.

A. L

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