My Almost 4 Year Old Daughter Suddenly Starts Sucking Her Thumb

Updated on November 12, 2010
A.T. asks from San Diego, CA
4 answers

My daughter used pacifiers up until she was about 3 years old. We never put any pressure on her to give it up, we just told her about the pacifier fairy once in a while to spark the thought of giving her pacifier up. Peer pressure at preschool eventually led her to send her pacifiers with the fairy and we never had her asking for it again.

Suddenly, 8 months later she started sucking her thumb when she is getting tired, or she nibbles on it while I am reading to her. I have the feeling it is getting more every day. At first I just ignored it, now I am telling her that she should stop it. I do not want her to start another habit.

Has anyone experienced the same?

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answers from Los Angeles on

So far my kids have not been thumb suckers; they wouldn't even take a paci; spit it out every time. (For which I'm actually grateful, one less thing to wean them from). So, I can't offer any advice on how to get her to stop.

However, I wanted to express the importance of breaking this habit. I was a serious thumb-sucker til I was 6 or 7, and my teeth suffered greatly. My top front teeth grew out around my thumb, and I have what they call a severe over jet. I was teased so much as a kid b/c of my teeth. Even as an adult, I still have kids (in all their innocence) ask me why my teeth stick out. I hate having my picture taken b/c I feel like that's all you can see: teeth! and they're just awful pictures. It's painful. It was painful then, it's painful now. I finally have braces to correct it, and my mouth hurts every single day. But the physical pain pales in comparison.

I wish I could remember what made me stop, but I think I just eventually outgrew it. At any rate, I would encourage you (and all moms) to try and break the habit. My case might be extreme, but if your daughter doesn't have to have braces or suffer the wrath of mean kids later on, so much the better.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Rub some Anbesol on her thumb and let her get a taste of that. My lil brother stopped nursing that way, in one taste. Its def an issue with comfort...perhaps seek other outlets. More physical touch or affection, a blanket? Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

My daughter didn't use the pacifier at all. About a month before she turned 3 she started sucking her thumb. I think it was her way of dealing with all of the medical issues we were having with her dad, he almost died in front of her several times. Then was in the hospital for 61 days, during which he had to have a heart and kidney transplant. She is now 11, and I still haven't been able to get her to stop. Do whatever you can to get her to stop now. My daughter now has a huge overbite, which cost us $6000 for braces. I can't wait for the habit breaking device to go in. She has told us that she wants to stop sucking her thumb, we just have to keep reminding her when we see her with it in her mouth to stop. I tried all of those things that you can put on their thumb and none of it worked for us. I wish you luck.



answers from San Diego on

Hi A., The problem sweetie is you allowed the habit of the paci to go for so long that now she is addicted to having something in her mouth. This is why i didn't use paci's with any of my children, getting them off the bottle and out of diapers i felt was enough. Telling her she should not suck her thumb, is not teaching her anything thing, you have to step up be in charge and tell her that sucking her thumb is not allowed, have some kind of reward system when she does not suck her thumb, and some type of discipline when she does. One of my friends thumb has scar tissue, it looks like it was burned, I asked her about it and she said it was scar tissue from sucking her thumb to much. J.

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