How to stop thumb sucking?

Thumb sucking can be a hard habit to break. How have you successfully stopped your child from sucking her thumb?

34  Answers

12 23

My son was an avid thumb-sucker and we took him to the dentist when he turned 5 and the dentist recommended Mavala-stop. We ordered it online. It's a nail polish and really for nail biters but works for thumb suckers, too. After 2 days my son was completely cured and has never sucked his thumb again. Of course, he was ready by then and understood that if he didn't stop he would have buck teeth when his permanent teeth start to come in.

5
16 24

I was a thumb sucker until I was 12 (only at night). My parents tried the nail stuff, tabasco sauce, band-aids, etc. Nothing worked until I decided I didn't want to be a teenager sucking my thumb. It took a week our two of having problems getting to sleep, but I finally did it. I've heard of people since who thumb-sucked through college and until marriage. I think no matter what age the person has to be ready.

4
5 0

Thumb/finger sucking is ok till it is not developed as an habit. In case it turns out to be habit....getting rid of it is essential for tooth structurals..i recommend using thumbguard..which i used in my daughter's case..cotton stuff great to use & comfort wear. can find this at olx or quikr India

28 26

Our 5 yr old son, Pryce, sucked his first & second fingers, with his palm facing up which was causing his upper front teeth to be pushed forward & his lower jaw to be pushed back, so our dentist recommended we place a temporary Palatal Crib or Thumb Crib ( http://www.drhomon.com/site/bra/bra_thu.html ) that attaches to his back upper teeth, kind of like a retainer, to stop him from being able to suck his fingers. It makes it so he can't make the suction, so he can't suck on his fingers. However, it does not interfere in his ability to eat at all... it does affect his speech a tad but it will be corrected as soon as the appliance is taken off.
It's been wonderful! He's had it on for a couple of months & we haven't seen him even attempt to suck on his fingers. He will be having it removed next month.
It's does cost a couple hundred dollars because our insurance doesn't cover it, but it was well worth the expense!!
Good luck!

Shauna Nilsson ~ Mum of 9
Layton, Utah

3
1 8

My daughter had one of these placed in her mouth and it was fantastic. She never even attempted to suck her fingers ( she sucked hers in exactly the same way your son does, first and second finger with palm facing outward). She had it in for 5 months and once it was removed her sneaky little fingers found their way back ionto her mouth and she is still sucking. I feel like I have lost the battle now plus she has High Functioning Autism and doesn't give a hoot if she had bucked teeth. I really hope it works for you Shauna, the success of these is great but I guess we where the unlucky ones.

17 16

I was a thumb sucker until I was 16, and my parents tried EVERYTHING….EVERYTHING to get me to stop! The polish, bribery, (like getting a new Barbie) threats (like something would be taken away if I didn’t stop) and on and on. When I got braces at 14 I told the orthodontist and my parents that I had stopped; I lied. It wasn’t easy, but I could suck my thumb even wearing nightly head gear. It wasn’t until I got my braces off at 16 and wore a retainer that I stopped.

Looking back, I think the reason I sucked my thumb was for comfort. I had two older brothers (5 & 7 years older) that like to tease me. Also an older brother who got into trouble a lot, even with the Law. My parents divorced when I was 16, so I know leading up to that there was stress in the home. I think I wanted to stop, but sucking my thumb was the release I needed to escape the negative environment going on around me. Something to think about when an older child sucks his/her thumb.

Ps – It only took a day to suck the polish off, and then the thumb was comforting again. The nasty taste was worth the comfort. (ha)

3
1 7

This was very similar to my personal experience. I didn't stop until I was a teenager. It was very comforting and soothing for me. My parents tried everything they could think of, short of tying my hand behind my back! LOL. My daughter, 6 yrs old, has sucked her thumb since infancy, never took to a pacifier, which wouldve been so much easier to remove. I want her to stop due to any chance she could do damage to her teeth, but I also am fearful of removing that comfort and security from her.

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28 4

My son has sucked his thumb since he was just a couple months old. It was a life saver when he started that because it helped him self sooth, but after he turned 2 I felt like enough was enough. So we bought special band aides and put it on his thumb and he reall liked it and didn't like the feel of it in his mouth. We kept a band aide on it day and night for about 6 weeks and it seemed to work but about 2 weeks after we stoped putting band aides on it he started again. So then we made a rule: you can only suck your thumb in bed. So during the day if he started then he was reminded of the rule and had to either go to bed or stop. It took a couple weeks to really get him to follow it but he is now 3 1/2 and only sucks his thumb occasionally in bed at night. Whatever method you choose just make sure you really follow through every second of the day, they had months or years to form the habit so it will take time to stop it. Good luck!

2
1 9

My 6-yr-old daughter still sucks her thumb. I tried a sticker chart, but she values her thumb over any rewards. I also tried telling her she would have to wear braces. Her cousin and our family friend's daughter has them, so my daughter thinks they're cool! Her cousin sucked his thumb until he was 12. Once he was ready, he wore socks over both hands to break the habit. I may have to resort to that, but I need to wait until she is ready to give it up.

1
7 9

Gloves at night! We tried EVERYTHING and finally thought to do this at night and it took about a Week to stop it! She stopped a little before her 6th bday.

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32 9

My son sucked his fingers until he was 8. My other son and daughter, now 6 and 3, still do. The way I achieved my oldest to stop, was a combination of bribery and Thum medicine. I promised him this really big Lego set he wanted if he stopped. He then explained to me that he couldn't stop, it was such a hard-to-break habit. I then suggested we try this nasty-tasting cure as a "reminder" to help him remember not to do it. Once he agreed to that, it took about a week of me applying the solution to his nails, and he was completely done!

1
3 0

I know it sounds odd, but if your child has a callous from sucking his thumb so much, tell him it is a thorn that's growing out of his thumb, and that it will continue to get bigger the more he sucks it. Act really scared about the idea, too. I haven't tried it on my two-year-old yet, since he does it only at nighttime, but my friend said it worked for her and her nieces as well.

1
4 1

Why would you lie to your child? Sets a bad example if you want to teach honesty.

64 20

I agree with the nail polish remover (got me to stop sucking my thumb!) Luckly my daughter hasn't started sucking her thumb yet but I will do every single trick to stop her!

1
10 21

No...but I would love to hear how others broke their child of this habit!

1
0 0

My child was 4. I tried all a bunch of products, t-guard(crap daughter took off right away), thumb buster(total junk). We tried the nail polish, daughter just licked it off. The only thing that actually worked was KIDSHANDAID.COM It took 3 weeks of wearing it full time then 1 week night time only and she was done. It is an amazing product and would recommend it to any other parent that is trying to stop their child's habit. It is amazing.

0
0 0

My daughter was still a serious thumb sucker at age 6. Her habit was curbed straight away with the use of a cotton mitten from Bedtime Buddy Mittens. It was a fun tiger design which she enjoyed wearing. The best thing was that she could wear it through the night, which is predominantly when she sucked her thumb. She wore it for about three weeks after which time she had completely stopped sucking her thumb. There is quite a few designs to choose from at www.bedtimebuddymittens.com.au.

0
5 0

Thumb/finger sucking is ok till it is not developed as an habit.

In case it turns out to be habit....getting rid of it is essential for tooth structurals..i recommend using thumbguard..which i used in my daughter's case..cotton stuff great to use & comfort wear. can find this at olx or quikr India

0
0 0

We found an amazing product called Thumbsie. Our daughter gave up after just 3 weeks, we never thought it would work but she actually seemed quite proud to wear it. She had an owl, panda and a butterfly one but they seemed lots to choose from www.thumbsie.co.uk.

0
521 10

Our orthodontist has special brackets they put in the kids mouth to make it impossible to suck their thumb. I would only use this option if it was an older child and extreme, because I'm sure it's expensive.

0
1

Put tape on their thumb!

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4 14

i sucked my thumb till i was 11 my parents tried allsorts from mustard to nail polish they had no affect. I stopped on my own in the end just decided i didnt want to anymore i say wait till the child is ready they'll stop on thier own in thier own time

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0 24

My girl is 4 years old and has been sucking her thumb since in my womb! We saw during a scan. She does so when she is hungry or tired and to soothe herself to sleep. I do not try to break her habit as I believe she will stop when she is ready. I have introduced her a bolster to hug. She has her arms and legs wrapped around the bolster and head snuggled and off to dreamland with hardly any thumb sucking.

0
0 1

Every baby is different and some remedies would work in certain cases, but not all. I would recommend every mom to think hard about the reasons why a baby who sucks a lot, especially during the day, still requires so much instinctive comfort - and to find alternative ways to provide it. Some babies are stressed by not seeing enough of their parents, relationships with siblings, attending school, etc. My baby is 5 and starting sucking last year, after we took her pacifier away (which by the way had been agreed with her in advance...). Her dad and I separated last year, and I know now that it was too much to ask of her at that time. She is now almost off the thumb, but it required and enormous investment of time and energy to comfort her through the past year. My recent strategy has been to keep her well entertained (= distracted), be very alert to the fact that she sucks a lot when she is tired (so I'd try not to have her exhausted by daily activities), always offer an alternative to the thumb (a cuddle, a hug, a song or a story) but never make her feel guilty or ashamed when she did suck.
Good luck to everyone with their chosen way!

0
1 21

My five year old son was an avid thumb sucker since about one year of age. He eventually went from all day to bed time only, but I could tell his teeth were shifting outward. I started taking him to our family dentist at approx. four years old just to sit in the chair and get familiar. After his fifth birthday, he allowed the staff to count his teeth and by the next visit to clean them. During each visit the Doctor made its very clear that he needed to stop sucking his thumb and what the consequences would be if he continued. With my constant reminders at home, he was free of his habit within a few short weeks/months. I am so proud of him and I remind him how proud the dental staff will be the next time I take him in with me this fall. :-) Good luck! I understand the frustration, but consistency is key. You can do IT!!

0
4 0

my daughter had the pacifier at 1st, we took that away when she was 2 and she went right to her thumb. She was getting blisters on her thumb and we have tried to get her to stop. Now she only does it at night. She just turned 4. She likes nail polish so I told her she can't have nail polish if she is going to suck her thumb and that works a little. We just keep telling her to stop if she starts sucking it during the day. She will stop, or even catch herself and stop. But she still sucks it at night. :(

0
4 16

When my son was almost 2 I put a band aid on his thumb, he sucked it a couple of time but didn't like it, and thanks god neither the other thumb. In one day he stopped the sucking.

0
1 13

My little girl was born sucking her thumb and this is what she did up until she was 5 years old, she just stopped herself, I never passed any remarks about her doing this as I thought it was quite cute, and when I realised she didn't do it anymore I was was quite sad, but now I'm very happy. She is 6 years old now and she has totally forgotten about sucking her thumb.

0
623 5

I just saw something at the pharmacy the other day called "thumbs away", it's a spray which I guess works like the nail polish thing. I haven't tried it yet, and don't really think it will work for my son who sucks his thumb so much that I am pretty sure he'll just deal with the bad taste because it won't take long for him to realise that he'll soon suck it all off anyway and it will be back to normal. He sucks it so badly that his left thumb is twice as fat as his right thumb, because the skin is all swelled up and wrinkled, and all white like having been in the bath for too long but much worse. And it's all cracked too, deep cracks that look very painful but still not enough for him to give it up. He sucks his left thumb and tugs on his right ear with the other hand. He used to only do it when he was really tired but now he does it most of the time. He is 16 months.

0
41 8

My son is 3.5 and sucks his thumb when he is tired. We are not to concerned about it, neither is our dentist. Dentist said thumb is WAY better then a paci when it comes to teeth but he would need to stop by 5. So right now as long as it is when he needs comfort and is tired we are ok. But I like some of the ideas...

0
2 1

I disagree with your dentists opinion, at least you can remove the pacifier- you can't just throw away your fingers or thumb! I recommend trying to cease habit asap as the damage of thumb/finger sucking can occur well before age 5. Their bone/palate is so much softer when younger and changes shape easily- I have seen many overjets (buck teeth appearance) and open bites (where front teeth do not even touch) in 2-3 year olds who have this habit. If they continue to TS after this age and the bone has already remodeled to accommodate the shape of thumb, when they do get their permanent teeth they will most likely erupt in the same pattern, have the same bite and issue and most likely need orthodontic treatment when older.

48 7

I sucked my thumb all the time until I was 5. I was told if I sucked my thumb at school that I would be teased, and that worked during the day. I sucked my thumb at night until I was 11, when I told myself that if I didn't stop soon I'd still be sucking my thumb when I got married and my husband would laugh at me! HAHA. Mum tried the nasty-tasting nail paint, but I only had to forget a few times for it to stop tasting so bad anyway. I had a callous that got infected and I had to be on anitbiotics once, and I still have a scar from it. But my teeth are fine! So I dunno. My little man, (23 months) is a thumb sucker, but right now I'm more concerned trying to keep pants on him!

0
48 7

I have heard of a woman who was 36 and still sucked her thumb. She did try to stop, but was so restless trying to sleep that her husband told her to give up and just suck her thumb!

4 8

When I was little, my parents put a bitter type of nailpolish on my thumb, called StopzIt.. That was the only thing that worked. I still remember the horrible bitter taste!

0
8 5

My son is 2 1/2 and has sucked his thumb since I could remember. I have tried band-aids, medical tape but he figured out how to get them off and I didn't put them on at night because I was scared he would choke on it. I have even made him thumb covers with an arm sleeve which only worked for a few days before he figured how to get those off too. I've heard about the polish but I also heard it gives a bad taste to everything he touches? At this point I'm ready to try anything because it's starting to affect his smile.

0
50 24

I tried a couple of different nail biting polishes to get miss 3 to stop, I've been persisting since before she turned 3 (June) and with the latest one I haven't seen her put her thumb in her mouth in a few weeks....

0
1 9

What brand did you use that seems to be working?

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36 33

I am gonna try the polish. My Daughter is 2 and has sucked her thumb since 3 mths. I noticed yesterday she has an open spot at the base of her thumb from her teeth. REALLY need to get this under control! One woman I spoke with told me she taped a magazine around her older childs (around 4 i think) arm at the elbow when she went to bed so she couldn't bend to put her thumb in her mouth. This sounded kind of cruel to me, but I assumed they were desperate. Apparently it worked, but I am not willing to try it with my little one.

0
32 9

I would not do anything to my kids that might create trauma, and worsen the habit! It's a comfort mechanism, and maybe if you try the polish, offer her a reward at the same time so she has a little positive motivation, too!

9 11

we have tried everything with our 7.5 year old daughter. from the nail polish to having her wear a sock on her hand at night. she just took it off, so then we taped it on, so she started sucking her other thumb, so we put 2 socks on her and now she's sucking her thumb during the day time. (while in car or watching tv which she didn't do before). the dentist showed her what it will do to her teeth and we even took her to an orthodontist to start monitoring to see if that would scare her. didn't help. what do i try when i've tried everything else?

0
10 13

Try clinical hypnosis... Safe and effective at that age!

91 0

I actually have a similar question. My daughter is almost 17 months - she sucks on the corner of her blanket - its disgusting - there is about 6-8 inches balled in her mouth, soaked through on the blanket - it gets filthy and smells - how do you stop that?

0
3 0

It sounds like the best option is to just take the blanket as you would a paci. Explain that it could make her sick and hurt her teeth, and that she's too big to do that anymore. My parents told me that a neighbor's mother dog had given birth to puppies that were really cold and needed a warm blankie to keep them from getting sick. They insisted that only my blanket was warm enough, and I gave it up without a fight. Granted, I was four, so you will probably have more of a fight at this age. However, after about 3-5 days she will move on.

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2 0

both my daughters (6yrs and 1yrs) have the habbit tried the nail polisher but it didn't work , I tried lots of things indeed and none worked I'm desperate for a solution.

0
32 9

My 6 year old still sucks his fingers, and we've begun a discussion about it, but I can tell he's not quite ready to give it up. I really think that the polish only works if the child is a willing participant in quitting the habit.

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1 14

Oh please give ideas. My daughter is only 15 months and sucks her thumb all night and a large part of the day. It really soothes her if she is upset so I don't know when and what i I should try to do to stop her.

0
32 9

I wouldn't try to stop her just yet. She's still a baby.

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