How do you stop finger sucking?

[deleted account] ( 4 moms have responded )

My daughter is now 3 years old and still sucks her fore and middle finger on her left hand. She has sucked her fingers since she was in the womb. When she was a baby we tried to wrap her so she couldn't, but she still managed to wriggle her hand out and start sucking. We tried to get her to take a dummy instead (because at least you can take that away), but it didn't work. After a while we gave up and decided to try again when she was a bit older. So far we have been unsuccessful. At the moment our approach is if she sucks them during the day we will put tobasco sauce on them, which deterrs her for a while. I want her weaned from her fingers completely before she turns 4.
So I'm just wondering if there's anyone out there who has been through this and successfully weaned their child from finger/thumb sucking and what worked for them.

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[deleted account]

My daughter sucked the same two fingers when she was little. This all stopped with an accident. As she was climbing up the stairs she slipped and bit her tougne. She had a cut in her tounge. She could not suck anything after that (too painful). She stopped using bottles and stopped sucking her fingers. She was about 1 yr old so it sort of worked out, but what a weird way. My son also sucks his thumb. He is 7 1/2 and still does at night. A way that can help is when you see her sucking in the daytime, just keep saying, yuck, fingers out or hands down or what ever you find works. Just mentioning it everytime will help stop the habit. I'm still stuck at what to do for my son at night. When I check on him, I'll take it out for him, and I talk to him about it, but it is something that helps him relax and go to sleep. One day he'll stop.....I'm sure.

[deleted account]

I have read somewhere that if they are still doing it after age 4 then they are likely to carry on doing it and be harder to break the habit. Not only that but after about the age of 4 it can start to affect the shape of the mouth and affect the growth of new teeth as they come through. As she has been doing it since before she was even born I know it is a habit very ingrained in her and I've noticed that unless her hands are busy or she is talking, she is starting to suck her fingers even more. I know children who have sucked their thumbs up to about 10-12 years and I really don't want that to be the case with my daughter. We do say "fingers out" when she pops them in during the day, but unless we put tobasco sauce on them, she'll absent mindedly pop them straight back in again just seconds later. I might just have to keep putting tobasco on all day and hope that helps her break the habit.

Annie - posted on 02/24/2010

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My son will be 4 in May and has sucked his thumb since he was old enough to know it was there. I was so glad because I thought "yay, at least his thumb is attached to him and we don't have to worry about him losing it like we would a binky!" But now I'm kind of eating my words. It is attached and there's no real way to get rid of it. We've broken him of sucking it during the day by simply asking him not to suck his thumb during the day whenever we see him doing it, telling him that it's okay just for when he's trying to go to sleep but big boys don't suck their thumbs. But then again he's such an easy-going, willing-to-please kid when I compare him to friends' and neighbors' kids and even his older sister-- I don't know if that would have worked for the more high-spirited ones.
I was about 5 when I stopped and that was only because I really wanted to wear fingernail polish but my dad said I couldn't as long as I sucked my thumb. That ended it for me right there! I think I'm okay with my son using his thumb to get to sleep for now a) because he so freakin cute, and b) because he only does it for the 15 of 20 minutes it takes him to fall asleep and then he sprawls out and forgets the thumb. I'm sure his dentist wouldn't agree, but I don't think that short span of time once a day will hurt. Now if he's 10 and still doing it we may have a problem, but I think I'll give him til age 5 to totally quit.

Tara - posted on 02/24/2010

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I don't know of any way to wean them except to let them outgrow it or to let them think you really don't care if they do or don't (that's how I weaned my daughter off the soother and the bottle - I just told her that she could have it if she wanted but big girls didn't use those things).



I sucked my thumb until I was around 4 and just stopped doing it, so did my sister. My mom sucked her thumb until around the same age (4-5). I have a friend whose brother sucked his thumb until he was around 3 and then just stopped, so I guess it depends on the child.

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