thumb sucking?

April - posted on 02/18/2009 ( 6 moms have responded )

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my 17 month old sucks her thumb at night. the thumb is now red, wrinkled, cracked and peeling. what can I do to stop it, and what should I do to heal her thumb? will it stay like that?

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Kelley-Anne - posted on 02/18/2009

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Is it a behavior associated with a blanket or stuffed animal that the child only has at night? Both my kids sucked their thumbs despite me trying to stop it early- used soothers etc. Finally I had to take my son's favorite blankie away as he would wrap his hand up in the blankie and then put his thumb in his mouth. I tried smelly cream, nail biting nail polish, and even putting dirty socks on his hands at night. I know sounds drastic, well he was sucking so hard he was altering the shape of his jaw. Even an anti- thumbsucking device glued in by the dentist didn't stop it entirely until the blankie went away. My daughter quit with the smelly sock trick. She was absolutely livid that I was taking his blankie away - she was 6 he was 3, so she said if you take his blankie then you have to take mine away too. She couldn't sleep without it(we once had to have it sent to us by greyhound when she forgot it at home when we went on vacation) So I had a couple of rough nights as I had to take both blankets away. LOL

So see if it is tied up with other things which could be why it is so hard for you to get her to stop.

April - posted on 02/18/2009

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thanks, she ONLY does it at night, I was wondering if I should try mittens, but I think the lanolin stuff will be good, since I imagine it probably tastes like it smells--thanks everyone

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You could try using some of the Lanolin cream that is used during  breastfeeding to treat cracked/chapped nipples. I know it sounds odd, but it works and it wont hurt your baby if she gets it in her mouth since it is made to be used with breastfeeding. It should help that thumb heal. Not sure what to do to stop the thumbsucking except to gently redirect her during the day when you see her with it in her mouth. Perhaps give her something else for comfort such as a small teddy bear or even her sippy cup with diluted juice, water or milk each time you see her with the thumb in the mouth.

Brooke - posted on 02/18/2009

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My son is 7, he sucked his thumb untill the age of 4. His thumb still looks like that, it does get better though. There are some mornings I go to wake him up and it is in his mouth. He gets very mad when I tell him cause he is a tough little 7 year old now. Its habit. I think just rubbing some good lotion or vasaline on it will help.

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