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The Thumbsucking Toddler

Posted by on Aug. 19, 2011 at 11:28 AM
  • 8 Replies

 I'll admit, I thought it was insanely cute when my little babygirl would suck her thumb until I realized the nightmare it is to try and make her stop at 4 years old. I have worked super hard to minimize how much her thumbsucking occurs. I've also tried to limit it to only nap/night time type of thing.... but that doesn't always work. I'm not "hard" on her about it, because technically I'm the one that has let it go on for so long. I definitely address it, ALOT! Unfortunately a thumb can't just be taken away like a paci. So I'm constantly nagging, Brooklyn you need to get your thumb out of your mouth. We don't suck our thumb during the day and tell her she can go take a nap. . . or if she tries to talk to me with her thumb in her mouth. I'll say excuse me but I can't understand you while you suck your thumb and she'll remove it. I notice she sucks it mostly when she tired or at church not having anything to do. Grocery store ...etc. If she's busy/playing it never goes in her mouth. I just really want to get it under control/ stopped. Any advice on what to do?

by on Aug. 19, 2011 at 11:28 AM
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by on Aug. 19, 2011 at 12:34 PM

I'm not sure, just keep addressing it.

Here's a Bump!

by on Aug. 19, 2011 at 12:41 PM
I have the same problem my 3 year old is the same eay. She is doing it right now.
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by on Aug. 19, 2011 at 12:43 PM
My sister was an avid thumb sucker. My mom tried putting some of that gross nail polish stuff for mail biting. She attached gloves to her jammies so she couldn't suck at night. Good luck!
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by on Aug. 19, 2011 at 12:44 PM

My brother sucked his thumb until he was about eight years old.  What made him stop was peer pressure.

She may cave to pressure from her friends when she starts school.

Meanwhile, when she's at church or at the grocery store (i.e. public), you could try one of these devices.  I don't know if it works, and it's expensive (imo), but if you're desperate, maybe worth a try?


by on Aug. 19, 2011 at 1:13 PM

 Thanks for all the advice ladies, but after posting I was inspired to google about it... and here's some helpful advice I found on more than one website:

What to do about it

Don't worry. The American Dental Association says most children can safely suck their thumb — without damaging the alignment of their teeth or jaws — until their permanent teeth begin to appear. (Permanent teeth don't usually erupt until around age 6.) Also, not all children's thumb-sucking is equally damaging. Experts say it's the intensity of the sucking and the tongue's thrust that deforms teeth and makes braces necessary later. Children who rest their thumb passively in their mouth are less likely to have difficulty than children who suck aggressively. Watch your child and analyze his technique. If he sucks vigorously, you may want to begin curbing his habit earlier, say at age 4.

If your child's thumb becomes red and chapped from sucking, you can try applying a moisturizing ointment, cream, or lotion while he's sleeping. (If you apply it while he's awake, it may just end up in his mouth.).

Let it go. Nagging or punishing your child won't help, because he doesn't usually realize when he's sucking away. Besides, pressuring him to stop may intensify his desire to do it even more. And techniques such as putting an elastic bandage on his thumb will seem like unjust punishment, especially since he indulges in the habit for comfort and security. Try to wait it out. Children usually give up thumb-sucking when they've found other ways to calm and comfort themselves, says pediatrician Suzanne Dixon. For example, while a toddler who's hungry may suck his thumb, an older child (age 3 or 4) might simply open the refrigerator and look for something to eat or ask his parents for a snack instead.

Preempt the thumb-sucking with other activities. If you can identify times and places when your child is particularly likely to suck his thumb — while watching television, for example — you might try giving him a substitute, such as a rubber ball to bounce or puppets to play with. If he tends to suck his thumb when he's tired, work more naps into his schedule. Or if he turns to it when he's frustrated, help him put his feelings into words. The key is to notice when and where sucking occurs, and divert his attention by offering an alternative.

by on Aug. 19, 2011 at 1:32 PM
Paci kids here.......good luck!
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by on Aug. 19, 2011 at 1:37 PM

here's a bump. My son never did that so I don't know

by on Aug. 19, 2011 at 1:44 PM
Mine didn't start sucking her thumb until she was THREE!!! I was appalled! My dentist and doctor were at a loss as to why the heck she started at THREE!!!!!
Needless to say, she will be seven tomorrow. She STILL sucks her thumb, we have tried go to your room, only at bedtime, rewards, punishment. We have tried it all, except the thumbs guards. Which I am getting awfully close to getting, but I would need two since she sucks both thumbs.
Everyone says she will eventually stop. I don't hold out much hope, an it drives me INSANE!!
And peer pressure means nothing to her either.
She very well be that kid who gets married sucking her thumb.
We are seriously talking to the dentist about putting spikes on the inside of her top teeth (they don't Hurt, just make it impossible to suck her thumb).
So, I wish you luck!
It is a very hard battle.
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