46 answers

Thumb Sucking - Overland Park,KS

I have a three and a half month old and she has been sucking her thumb since she came into this world.In the next two months I would like to try and get her off of it.Any suggestions?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you to all who gave thier thoughts on my request.My baby girl decided to give it up to the binky.She is almost 6 months now so it all worked out.Thank you again for all your responses:)

Featured Answers

There is some stuff that you put on finger nails for nail biters. I can't think of the name of it, but someone at a drug store could probably tell you. It would probably help keep the thumb out of the mouth because it is very bitter and nasty to taste.

Good Luck

Wish I could be of more help but my daughter is 3 years old and still sucks her thumb. She has been doing this before she was born and still is. I really need to break her of this habit before she starts school in a couple years. I haven't read the responses yet so hopefully someone has some ideas....for you and for me! GL!

There are two different things to try that I know of. The first would be to put sockes over her hands when she naps or at bedtime, the other is a special polish that they make. The polish tastes very bad and so when the child puts her thumb in her mouth the taste is supposed to make the child want to remover the thumb. It's some kind of a training session that they say is a sensory trigger. They both sound a little mean but the only other alternative would be to stay awake 24/7 and follow the child everywhere, including the bathroom. I was fortunate enough that none of my children sucked their thumb. Good luck, I hope this helps you out some.

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You know C., regarding thumbsucking you can't really stop and infant from sucking their thumb. It's self soothing. It's actually a good thing for your baby! I'm sorry I can't give you advice on how to stop it. Just try to not stress over it. Your baby is only a baby once. Enjoy the little things they do. Worry about the thumbsucking when she get's old enough to understand why she can't have it/do it anymore.

I've got 4 children. The first 3 were pacifier babies and self weaned at 9-10 months. My 4th child is a thumbsucker and at 17 months she's still going strong. She uses it to self calm and it's a security to her. If she's uncomfortable, she's always got her thumb to make herself feel better. I'm not worried.

1 mom found this helpful

It makes me sad to think about taking something so comforting away from such a little baby. I would consider it a blessing that she has found a way to comfort herself. I can't even imagine how you would go about taking her thumb away. If you do succeed, you'll probably end up using a pacifier and will have go though taking that away someday too. What is your reason for wanting to take it away? If it's about her teeth, chances are she'll probably have braces whether she sucks her thumb or not(since so many kids do now). Good luck to you.

1 mom found this helpful

You are fortunate that your child has developed a way to sooth itself. I personally would not worry about this. Every child has its own way of soothing. When your child is ready he/she will stop. If you are really concerned I would read about self soothing techniques on the Sears website. Dr. Sears provides a great deal of insight for parents and also has a post it site. This website is http://www.askdrsears.com

1 mom found this helpful

Based on what I've read, I think your daughter is pretty young for you to try to get her to kick thumb-sucking. At her age, it's great that she's learning to soothe herself. If it really bothers you, you could try offering her a pacifier occasionally when she goes for her thumb. However, it might just cause her anxiety if you try to make her stop, and sucking is such a natural need for babies. Besides, she may do it for a few months and then stop on her own anyway...

1 mom found this helpful

Hi C.....
I have been lucky w/ my kids...all three of them. None of them took passies or sucked their thumbs. BUT< I did as a child until I was 4 years old. The thing, and ONLY thing that got me to stop is liquid catnip. YES< Catnip. You can get it in a brown bottle and if I remember, it has a brush inside the lid. my mom put that on my thumb maybe 2 or 3 times, I'd put my thumb in my mouth, and bam...it broke me quick because it tasted nasty. It does NOT harm you...obviously because Cats are still around. This was a suggestion from my pediatrician 30 years ago and its worked on a couple of my friends kids who sucked their thumbs as well. I did look it up and its anywhere from $5-$9 a bottle.
A suggestion though, 3.5 months is awfully early to try and break her...I'd wait until she's 1 or so....but its your child...you do what you think is right!
I hope this helps!! I know it sounds strange...but it does work!

1 mom found this helpful

try a pacifier. some babies just need to have suck more than others. it is totally natural.

Carla is right, socks will do the trick. I have a cousin who sucked her thumb until she was 15. That is not good for any child. Thumb sucking is not for comfort. Babies do this because of nursing, bottles. It is the first thing they learn. Try the socks :-)

L.

I think babies have a natural need to suck as a way of soothing themselves. I don't think sucking her thumb at 3 months is a problem. I sucked my thumb until I was 6 and my mom told me I couldn't go to first grade if I still sucked my thumb. I remember it being hard to stop but not impossible. I would not take that source of comfort away from your baby at this point. Good luck!

At a mere 14 weeks of age, I would *not* be concerned about thumb sucking! Your daughter is still an infant, so so small, and I absolutely agree with others that sucking is an important, innate need of newborns all the way through presschool. Some kids nurse a lot even into toddlerhood, others still want their bottles after the age of 1 yr old, and many, many kids still use pacifiers at ages 2, 3, etc. So your very, very young daughter is experimenting with using her thumb - I say let her! P.S. - She *may* be beginning to have teething pain, and this may be one way for her to deal with it. So my advice? Take a deep breath, relax, and see how/if the thumb sucking develops. Reassess in 6 months or a year, and see if you want to make changes then. But at 3 mos old? I wouldn't sweat it, not one bit. :)

There is some stuff that you put on finger nails for nail biters. I can't think of the name of it, but someone at a drug store could probably tell you. It would probably help keep the thumb out of the mouth because it is very bitter and nasty to taste.

Good Luck

I wouldn't worry about thumb sucking at such a young age. Newborns use sucking as a self soothing method. It's better than a pacifier. Her hand is always attached to her... she can't lose it like a paci. One of my daughters sucks her fingers when she is trying to fall asleep. She never took well to a paci... and I'm so thankful she is able to self soothe that way without depending on me or her dad to rock her or anything!

Don't worriy, thumb sucking is not a big deal, and my oldest which is 35 to my youngest that is 10 all did some thumb sucking. As They got older it turned into only at night. Right now at three months that's about the only way he can comfort himself or herself. Do you use a pacifier? I did with all three- then when it came to going to daycare they could only use it during naps and at home at nite time. It phased itself out gracefully, no big deal. I just wouldn't do it this early in an infants life. M.

Hi, I am no expert, this is just my opinion...I would let her do whatever comforts here at this point. I think you will drive yourself crazy trying to stop it. She is so little, if it soothes her, I wouldn't let it worry you!

Wish I could be of more help but my daughter is 3 years old and still sucks her thumb. She has been doing this before she was born and still is. I really need to break her of this habit before she starts school in a couple years. I haven't read the responses yet so hopefully someone has some ideas....for you and for me! GL!

Hi C.,

I have a 1 year old thumb sucker and I really think you should wait it out. I've always heard that thumb suckers are the best babies - and it's true! - because they have a way to self-sooth that other babies don't have.

If you are really stuck on getting her off her thumb at such a young age, the best thing to do would be to try and substitute with a pacifier, which you can wean her from when your family is ready.

My true advice, however, is to let her suck her thumb and you will see that with time and love it will decrease in frequency. My daughter is only a year and she now only sucks her thumb to fall asleep and when she gets very nervous/scared. Every expereienced mom I've ever talked to has said their best babies were thumb suckers, so try to be patient and let her figure it out on her own.

Warm regards,

K.

C.,
My daughter also sucked her thumb. The doctor told me it is a comforting phase for an infant and should not be concerned and should not be addressed until she was older-2 years of age- when she could communicate and understand that thumb sucking was not good for her teeth and we came up with another way for her to comfort herself. She would place her thumb on her lips or wrap her "blanky" around her thumb and rub it on her cheeks and fall asleep. Just be patient. To rush it, will cause frustration for your little one at this time. Believe me, it is a phase and they will stop. R.

Unless there is something I haven't heard, there isn't much you can do to avoid this habit. I have a 3 year old that still sucks his thumb. Fortunately (I guess) he only sucks it when he is resing/sleeping. But, I think once the habit starts, it is virtually impossible to stop it. I mean, once you put them to bed what can you do? I am taking him for his first dentist appt soon and I am going to ask them for tips, but I just can't imagine what they would be able to tell me. If you hear anything let me know!

If she were three YEARS old, perhaps you would want to discourage this habit, but at three months, I would let it alone.
Pacifiers are a worse habit...because what do you do if they lose it and then won't settle in for the night? Thumbs are always there!
I sucked my thumb until I turned 5 years old, then my mom explained that I ought to try to stop and I did.
I would let her continue until she gets a little older, then discourage it.
Aunt Sugar

My 4 year old boy is still sucking his thumb. Every ultra sound oicture we have of him he was sucking his thumb. We were at the dentist the other day and I was asking them about how to get him to stop. The dentist told me there are signs to look for that show when your child is ready to give up the thumb. If they are not ready the dentist said don't even attempt until he is ready.

I think this is just the first in lessons of powerless over our children. They all have their own personalitites and quirks. My older children never sucked their thumbs or took pacifiers.

Good luck

It's tough at this age because their hands can be a comfort they used to use in the womb. But, just try to keep pulling her thumb out and giving her something to rattle or distract her from it. If you can keep her occupied and let he no not to suck it she should eventually stop. I don't like pacifiers but that may help a bit too. It will at least relieve her skin on her thumb.

I do understand your reasons for not wanting her to suck her thumb. I prefer pacifiers over a thumb, also, because they are orthodontically correct, and you can take them away when they are older. You can't take a thumb away. Some kids suck their thumbs and don't have any dental repercussions, and others end up with overbites, buck teeth and expensive braces. Babies need to suck to self-soothe, it's one of the few things they can do to calm themselves. I would try giving her a pacifier every time she puts her thumb in her mouth, and see if she takes it. Most kids seem to give up the pacifier on their own by a year old, but if she doesn't, you can always transition her to having it only at bedtime/naptime, and then gradually take it away. Good luck.

well.....good luck w that my girl is four and i still cant break her. ive tried everything....luckily it hasnt effected her teeth but i continue to tell her it will.

my sister had this very same issue years ago ... her doctor told her to let her daughter chew bubble gum ... every time she would notice that her child was putting her hand near her mouth to encourage her to chew gum and to ignore the fact she was sucking her thumb/fingers ... he said the more you forget to respond to her actions the sooner it would go away and she did ... it took about 3 months and a lot of bubble yum but she did it! my sister never said ... take your hands out of your mouth or stop doing that ... she would just say ... hey wanna try and blow a bubble with me and it really changed the focus ... good luck

She's 3 & 1/2 months old - she'll grow out of it, and if she doesn't, when she is older you can try some more stern measures.

C. ,

my 2 1/2 year old is still suckign his thumb i have tried everything doctors told me to let him break himself of this thing he wille ventually do it just let nature take its course.......

I will say this, as I have read the other responses and don't need to say all of that---at this young of an age, it will not affect her teeth or her speech. She will be okay. It is no different than her taking a bottle or nursing. I really worried about this one as well, since I am a speech-lang. path, but early pacifier and thumb-sucking should not cause long term problems. You could try giving her a pacifier instead, since that is much easier to get rid of, but I really wouldn't worry much right now. I know, easier said than done. Best of luck to you.

C.,
You can try a binkie, but other that that I would suggest nothing.
As a child psychotherapist, your baby is 12 weeks old ! HELLO, she is doing what SHE needs to comfort herself. Right now it is about her, not so much about the parents. Trying to stop her now will not be good for her emotionally. As a parent, I understand that YES it is a bad habit, Yes we worry about thier teeth. But there are so many other things to concern yourself with, this one will correct itself after time. Let her be the baby that she is. I never went to college with any one who sucked thier thumb...we all outgrow it

Hi C.:

The pharmacy has an over the counter product that helps kids break thumb sucking, but your daughther might be to young for it. I wouldn't be too concerned about it yet since she is only 3.5 months old. Good luck!

girl all i can say is good luck!! my daughter is 4 1/2 and still sucks her thumb. she has since day one even in ultra sounds. my doctor said not to worry about it unless she was over 5 and still doing it, she also has taught my 2 year old son to do it. it drives me crazy!!! she starts school this month so i am hoping she will stop then. good luck

k

If you google thumb sucking, you will find lots of information about the subject. Frankly, it's a perfectly normal thing. It's not a 'learned' behavior. Both of my children were seen thumb-sucking on ultrasound, and both sucked their thumbs the day they were born, and both were premature. Frequently, efforts to stop the behavior only succeed in cementing it, causing it to last much longer. You might want to rethink your schedule for getting her to stop, and perhaps consult with your pediatrician and dentist. Good Luck.

I wish I had stopped my second son from sucking his thumb when he was that age.....instead I let him continue since he kept him happy when nothing else worked. He finally, at age 3, had to have an appliance (metal bridge) glued to the top of his mouth to prevent him from being able to suck his thumb since his teeth were being pushed out of place. It was not a fun thing to go through. The only suggestion I have is to put socks or gloves on her hands until he has forgotten about her habit. Good luck. C.

Baby's need to suck. It is part of their nature. Some need it more than others. I would not worry YOu still have a long ways to go before this becomes a problem. My son is four and still sucks his thumb. I have talked to the doctor and the dentist about this they tell me not to worry. The only fall back is the issue of germs when they are old enoughto play out side and with other kids. The dentist did tell me that it slows the growth of the lower jaw but that is only when they are more my sons age not a baby. I would let her be and enjoy the peace she gets from her thumb.

well, i never had that problem with my child, but there is a solution from the makers of "little tummys" that you can try. i also get on baby center.com to get some answers as well

My advice, as the mother of two thumb suckers, is don't expect to make them stop. Both my pediatrician and peds dentist said not to even try weaning them from thumb-sucking until they're 4 as that's when they'll be able to deal with it the best, and it would be early enough to prevent most dental damaage. However, some ideas that I tried when my son's thumb was raw and bleeding from new teeth, put a sock, or baby mittens on their hand, if she were a little older sometimes a band-aid helps, but at that age it would be a choking hazard. The only other thing is to push a pacifier, but I also know that a 3 1/2 month old may have a strong preference, as my son did. The only other thing I can think of is distraction - but for your sanity I would just say accept their thumb-sucking as the adorable annoying thing that it is and remember that it makes her happy :-) It does make for some very cute pictures!

H. M.

I guess I don't understand your deadline. Most sources say thumbsucking will resolve itself naturally around age 4-6. Personally, I believe it is a source of comfort for children, and a way they "organize" themselves during times of stress. My 2 year old sucks his thumb, and it hasn't been a problem.

I am a mom of a 2 year old Little girl and She did that a few times when she didn't have her pacifer..So you might try one of those if you don't already,Now some drug stores carry stuff for thumb sucking so you might try it its stuff to rub on the finger she sucks on..I hope this helps you C. you can im me at asweetgal4sum105 on yahoo messenger if you have it it's also my e-mail there too.

C.

C.-

My daughter is also a thumb sucker. She will be 3 in November. I have started telling her that it's only for nite time and she usually does that unless she gets really stressed out or scared or hurt.

My dentist said not to worry about it, because even if their baby teeth come in crooked that is no indication of how their permanent teeth will come in.

My son is 7 and he took a pacifier which was a pain in the rear in to find for him everytime it fell out in the night. His baby teeth were perfectly straight. Very beautiful. Now that his baby teeth are falling out and his permanent teeth are coming in, they are crooked. He is going to need braces. I had it in my mind that he wouldn't because his baby teeth were so perfect. If you want I can send you pictures so you can see them.

So at this time I'm not too worried about my daughter. She was sucking her thumb in the womb also and she has been the calmest baby where my son was the most needy little boy. I thought I was going to go crazy with him and my daughter has been a breeze. I am gradually telling her that "big girls don't suck their thumbs" and it seems to be working. But I do like the ideas of the fingernail polish that tastes bitter and the socks over their hands. But with my luck, she would just get irritated and start screaming for me until the situation was "fixed" and she was happy again.

Hope that helps.
D.

She is to young to get her out of sucking her thumb unless she takes a pacifier I wouldn't worry about it til she is 1yr old that is when you need to really worry about it I wouldn't worry about it at the moment though

As far as I know, babies suck because it is an instinct. They need to suck, and it is almost the only tool they have in their toolbox that they can use to comfort themselves. According to my pediatrician, it is a harmless habit that most kids kick on their own by toddlerhood.

Of course, that being said, my five year old little boy sucked his thumb until he was 4 1/2. No matter what we did (and we tried everything!), he continued to do it. It became this power struggle - and in the end he won. And let me tell you, I have four kids and I am not one of those moms who often loses power struggles. ;) He finally stopped when he went to pre-school and other little kids teased him.

My advice, every child is different and hopefully yours will respond to one of the techniques that are out there. But if she doesn't, don't stress. Most kids give it up on their own eventually, and some battles just aren't worth it. Good luck!

Hi C.,

My 3 1/2 year old sucks his thumb, but it begins less and less as he gets older. His doctor says won't impact him at all at this point to do it. It's been a blessing for us because it has provided him a lot of comfort over the years, so I'm glad we didn't try to get him to stop. Just a thought...

Hey,
a friend of mine has 2 boys and both were sucking there thumbs and she just gave them the pacifier when there turned 1 and for some reason there stoped sucking there thumbs and with 3 she took away the pacifier.I hope that I was helpful.

C. W., I am a certified postpartum caregiver. Allow your baby to suck her thumb. Young babies have a natural need to suck, and lucky you, you don't have to carry around pacifiers! It's all very normal. Your baby will always have her thumb to sooth her. She will most likely give it up on her own when she no longer has the need for it. In the meantime, don't be concerned, and certainly, don't make her stop.

I have been on both sides of that fence!!! There are pros and cons to both sides. I'm not too sure if you can break a 3 month old of sucking the thumb though. . . at least not without her screaming all the time. I understand right where you are coming from!

My son started sucking his thumb at 2 months. I thought that was better than the pacifier because I didn't have to "find" that in the middle of the night and never lost it anywhere, including the car!!!! BUT, he's 8 now. . . I've got him to where he occassionally sucks it at night and that's it what a LONG road to get there though!!!!

My daughter took a pacifier, she's 3 now and 2 weeks ago, I took it from her. First, I took it from her during the day and told her only when she's in bed. Now, I told her she can have it only when she naps (figuring she'll be done napping SOON!). But at night she's given it up! Believe me she was totally ATTACHED to that thing too!

You should try to take the thumb and replace it with a pacifier, something not attached to the body when it's time to lose it!!!

C.,
I do not think you can get a three-month old out of that habit. Maybe when she is around one year, when she starts understanding more. Relax, she will probally grow out of it, my son used a pacifier for the first few months, then he just stopped on his own. A benefit of sucking on the thumb or a pacifier is it reduces the risk of SIDS.
G.

There are two different things to try that I know of. The first would be to put sockes over her hands when she naps or at bedtime, the other is a special polish that they make. The polish tastes very bad and so when the child puts her thumb in her mouth the taste is supposed to make the child want to remover the thumb. It's some kind of a training session that they say is a sensory trigger. They both sound a little mean but the only other alternative would be to stay awake 24/7 and follow the child everywhere, including the bathroom. I was fortunate enough that none of my children sucked their thumb. Good luck, I hope this helps you out some.

She's three MONTHS old.......it's natural and normal for her to suck her thumb..it's a comfort mechanism. Now, if she were three YEARS old, I could understand your concerns. But, at this point.......leave her alone and let her break herself of the habit as time passes.

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