7 answers

Thumbsucking... - Snellville,GA

So I thought it was super cute when my now 3 year old started sucking her thumb as an infant. I read up on it as she's the only one of mine to do this and found that most quit by age 2 and that it's not considered a real problem until 4. Well, she's 3 and I'd really like to work on breaking it. It's not like I can just take it away like a pacifier. She really only does it now when it's bedtime. She does like to play "Mommy and baby" so I've started using this time as a way to explore the whole this is a baby type behavior and you're a big girl but it only works for a second. Should I worry yet or is there something more I can do to break it?

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I am dealing with the same issue. My twin girl sucks her thumb and she will be 2 in Ocotber. She started sucking it at about 4 months and it was only at bedtime but she has started to suck it more as she has gotten older. Now she walks around sucking it while she is playing. I know its going to be hard for us to break her. I sucked my thumb until I was 7 so she got it honestly. My mother sucked hers while I was sucking mine. It's going to be a battle. I had a coworker tell me that when her daughter was three she started polishing her nails and told her she couldnt suck her thumb because of the nail polish and that broke her. Maybe you can try that and see if it works. Im going to try it when my daughter gets old enough to like nail polish. Good Luck & God Bless!


I will share with you that there is a thumb guard that you can purchase through your dentist, or a dentist, and through a children's product magazine that I can't remember the name of (sorry) that is made of flexible plastic. It covers the thumb, and then extends down to the wrist with straps on both sides of the hand (inside and outside). It comes with adjustable wrist bands that you adjust to fit in the extended straps around the wrist. Alot of people said it looked similiar to a splint and asked if my daughter had injured her finger...lol. You have to be very consistent and keep this thumb guard on for an extended period of time (I believe it was for approximately 1 to 2 months). Then you gradually reduce the amount of time that you put it on. By that point, the habit of sucking the thumb is broken. And unless your child is doing it for other reasons than it became a comforting habit, you have stopped the thumb sucking!!!
I know that when I initially talked with my dd's pediatric dentist, he was concerned that she was too young (I did this when she was 2). I explained that she was very mature, and she knew that she should stop sucking her thumb but simply couldn't stop the automatic nature of this habit. He agreed to try it, and we were successful.
Not to discourage you, but I do feel that I must also share that my dd began sucking her thumb again when she was approximately 4. When she started preschool, she was very emotional and began having seperation issues. She also began sucking her thumb again. She is now 7, knows that this behavior is a "baby" thing, it will hurt her teeth, and she will be embarassed if other children see her doing it. At this point, she even hides her face when she sucks her thumb because of her knowledge that we don't approve. We have now tried the nasty tasting nail polish, hot sauce on the thumb nails, offering to have nails professionally done, bribes, and so on to try to stop this behavior again without success.
Good luck, and if you do choose to use the thumb guard, please make sure that you use it for a little longer than the recommended time.

Angie H.

I just searched and found where I purchased mine. Here is the link: http://www.leapsandbounds.com/catalog/product.jsp?product...

You'll get tons of responses about how this is going to ruin her teeth, etc. I sucked my thumb for almost 13 YEARS!!!! My teeth were fine. I had crooked front teeth that were inherited -nothing to do with thumbsucking -and my orthodontist said that once in awhile, depending on how the child holds her thumb in her mouth while sucking, it can have an adverse effect, but more times than not it DOESN'T!!! Also, people freak out about speech issues. If there's an issue -fine -but I never had any speech problems or issues and neither did the other 3 kids I "conspired with" who sucked their thumbs for much longer past the regular age.

Bottom line -I smoked a pack a day for 17 years. I wish I had NEVER quit sucking my thumb because when I discovered smoking, it was the only thing that made me feel as calm and relaxed as thumb-sucking. Of course by kindergarten on I realized it was strictly a secret and private activity, but if your child only does it at bedtime, I would leave her alone for awhile. Do go ahead and tell her that she's a big girl and shouldn't do it. Even offer her some type of great reward she would love if she stops for a week. Don't force it though or start punishing her for it. I honestly don't see what the big deal is especially if a kid is only doing it at night.

honestly I say yea I'd be trying to break that habit quick. If talking to her doesn't work maybe try hotsauce or find the nasty tasting fingernail polish and put it on her thumb.

I don't know about the ending it at age 2yo. I see alot of kids double and triple that age still sucking their thumbs. But the only thing I know about is what a friend does with her 3 oldest girls (oldest one was 8yo, when she was still doing this and may still be). She brushed stuff on each of their thumbs to help stop it. Their thumbs had seen better days, but I think this helped them. I'm sure you can ask your pediatrician or go to a health food store and ask what you could use.

To be honest with you if she is only really sucking her thumb at bed or when she is really tired I wouldn't worry about it. With my oldest we never made a big deal out of it and she just ended up stopping by herself, before she did it went down to just b4 bed. My 17 mos old sucks her thumb we just dont even acknowledge it. If she starts feeling pressure she will be more anxious about stopping. Thats just my thoughts though.

I have 6 year old twin girls who BOTH suck on their thumbs. The dentist wanted me to purchase that guard as well and I refused to because it cost way more than we can afford. Genetically speaking my family has the worst teeth so it's most likely inevitable that they will have to have braces. I myself was a thumb-sucker up to age 8 when I finally was put into a retainer and quit on my own. I just don't feel like it's that big of a deal-they will eventually quit on their own. HOWEVER, when my kids are sucking their thumb I certainly say something about it like "Get that thumb out of your mouth" they only usually do it when they are sleepy and sometimes while watching t.v. and sometimes at night when in the bed. It may sound mean but I tell them hey you know donkey on shrek? They will say yeah and I'll say you know if you keep sucking your thumb like that your teeth will end up looking like donkey's. They immediately take their thumbs out of their mouth. Like I said I just don't see what the big deal is-they will quit when they are ready to quit and as I said before it's pretty inevitable with our family history they are going to have to have braces anyways so why go through all that when it's going to happen regardless of what we do? When they were first born I gave them passy's because everytime I had a sonogram done one of them was ALWAYS sucking her thumb in the womb....she did as well when she was born so therefore I gave passy because I felt like you could always throw away a passy but you can't throw away their thumbs. Got them weaned off of a passy at 18 months of age. At age 4 they started to suck their thumbs and I have just given up-some battles just aren't worth it to me....I thought I would never be able to potty train them but it happened in due time.

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