thread: weaning off the thumb

  1. #1
    Resident Samsquanch

    Jan 2005
    Down by the ocean

    weaning off the thumb

    Angus loves to suck his thumb.
    We want to get him to stop as his thumbnail looks a bit gammy.

    Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Custardtart Guest

    you could try painting his thumbnail with lemon juice or No-bite from the chemist, but it has to be reapplied regularly.


  3. #3
    kerry Guest

    I can't offer much advice but maybe some perspective from your son's point of view.....

    I sucked my thumb until I was 9. I stopped because I got an orthodontic plate and there was no room left in my mouth for my thumb. (thumb sucking didn't lead to this or the braces I had, they were beacuse of a genetic ovrebite)

    My parents, and extended family tried many things to stop me from No-bite (which I just sucked off and developed mouth ulcers from and it used to burn my my fingers too), to rewards for not sucking, smacks, tying my hands up at bed time and public humiliation and belittling. All this did was make me feel like I was bad and ashamed, strange and different.

    I could never understand why it was such an issue. I didn't know why I sucked my thumb. It was just what I did when I was comfortable and relaxed. It was what I did when I watchd tv. What I did when I read. It felt nice to do. If I was worried or stressed I would suck because it wsa something I associated with feeling safe and comfortable.

    When I am sick or very emotional I will sometimes wake up of a morning with my thumb in my mouth, I'm nearly 30. My SO has even complained that nights when I have gone to bed after an arguement I will suck in my sleep.

    I have a 4 pen a week habit. I chew at least 4 pens to death a week at work. I will chew the hairbrush, remote control or whatever happens to be in my hand while I am watching telly or reading and don't even realise I am doing it.

    My sister was also a sucker, however she stopped at about 4. It was gradual. From about 2.5 she only sucked at night and before she started school she had stopped completely. There is an 11 year gap. My parents handled her sucking differently.... They ignored it. They did not make an issue of it. They never made her feel bad for doing it. If her thumb looked sore they treated it and explained that it was sore because of the sucking but the cream would make it better. She does not chew pens, or bite her nails.

    I would suggest not making it an issue. If you are concerned for his nail try treating it with a non-toxic cream or paint. When you treat it just explain to your DS why you are treating it in a matter of fact way; "your thumb is sore, sometimes that happens when you suck it". Don't tell him its a bad thing or say he has to stop.

    I don't know if this has been helpful. But please don't worry, your DS will out grow it in time. Hope his little nail is ok.

  4. #4
    BellyBelly Member

    Apr 2003
    Western Australia


    Thanks so much for your perspective on thumb sucking.

    My daughter is 3.5 years old and still sucks her thumb when sleeping, relaxing etc just like you described.

    My IL's are already onto the "orthodontic" side of the argument which I disagree with totally - with parents that both have had orthodontic treatment, I think she has little choice in the genetic sense but to have dental problems.

    I just wanted to say thank you for giving your perspective. It has made me feel like less of a bad mother for letting her do it!!

    Best wishes to you

  5. #5
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    May 2004

    I have read somewhere that most kids wean themselves at about 6yo.
    My BIL was a thumb sucker and aparently he still does it when he has too much to drink.
    Violet has started to be a thumb sucker so I try not to let her have it, I use the dummy instead... I think I have nearly beaten it, she just chews on it now.

    I think the reason I don't want her to suck her thumb is because I know how hard these habit s are to break. I used to rock myself to sleep and did it for many years... and I was very embarrased about it. So I think in the long run it will be easier to take the dummy off her than try to get her not to suck her thumb.

    Sorry that didn't help much, just wanted to add my little bit 8-[


  6. #6
    BellyBelly Member

    Apr 2003
    Western Australia

    Believe it or not, my mil started off telling me never to give my daughter a dummy - to let her suck her thumb!!

    Now she is telling me to stop her sucking her thumb!!


    Can't win!!!

  7. #7
    Life Member

    May 2003
    Beautiful Adelaide!

    I was a thumb sucker too..........from about 6 weeks old till I went to camp when I was about 10. (I just stopped by myself). As soon as I gave up the thump I started biting my nails. I also became a smoker at around 15. I also have "pen chewing" issues! When I stopped biting my nails at about age 25, my smoking really increased.

    I still do suck my thumb in my sleep in times of extreme stress/emotion, subconsiously.

    Maybe some poeple just need that sucking thing? Maybe some people never lose the sucking reflex we are born with?

    Sorry Sammi.........probably not help with Angus at all, but thought I'd share.........

  8. #8
    BellyBelly Member

    Feb 2005
    out and about

    I persisted with giving the twins dummys ( more for my sanity than anything else) Rianna sucks her thumb, I read a book when she was very young, as I was concerned about the issue of "taking it off her" the twins gave me their dummies in trade for "big girls beds" at 3, but I had been stict with dummies only being for bed, I had a container in their room that if they felt the need for a "comfort" suck they could lie on the bed when they had one, then when they got up, they had to put it back. I found this sooo easy, and now with Riana I too worry about the whole "issue"

    Anyway back to this book I read, it said that sucking actually produces a hormone that comforts, therefore why most babies do it in some form or other, and they actually recommended leaving the habit alone until at least 4, when the child is more cerebal than emotional IYKWIM.
    They said that "positive" parenting was the only way to stop it, by as already mentioned, not belittling , rewarding, berating, but just gentle reminders,. as apparently it is a totally unconcious habit

    I have already tried this with Rianna, and she only sucks if sick or wanting to go to sleep, and once asleep, if it doesnt fall out ( which is the norm) I pull it out, Other than that I make a joke of it, and if she's sucking when not going to sleep we all laugh and say " what are you doing with that thumb in your mouth you cheeky faggot" and she usually laughs and takes it out!! Chris also says to her " let me taste that, it must be good,"and he has a suck of her thumb, again she laughs and takes it out and forgets about it. These are just gentle suggestions Im trying to just "modify" her habit rather than prevent it for the moment, coz I think it will make it easier when she is old enough to stop completely.

    Anyway She's not even 2 yet, so I might be just talking utter rubbish, but this is my opinion, from one mum sucker to another!!!! Good luck ( and if you have success let me know)