How to wean my 2 year old off his thumb?

Elfrieda - posted on 07/08/2012 ( 3 moms have responded )




So my son would never take a soother and never sucked his thumb until he got his molars at a year old. Somehow chewing on his fingers for teething turned into thumb sucking, and he's been doing it ever since to help him fall asleep. He also fell in love with his blanket and a specific pillowcase at this time, and needs these to fall asleep, too. He curls the edges of the blanket and pillowcase around his fingers, pops in his thumb, and goes to sleep.

Because he never does it during the day, it's only for naps and bedtime, I haven't thought too much about it. But now he's 2.5 years old, and I'm starting to wonder when he'll stop, or if I should help him stop. I did mention it to him a few mornings ago while he was wiping off his thumb before I got him out of the crib. I told him that it was all wet, and if he didn't put it in his mouth, it wouldn't be wet and wrinkly like that.

Should I do something else, or do you think that gentle suggestion is enough for right now? He did seem to remember, because the next morning he commented "Thumb wet." and wiped it off vigourously.

So far we haven't mentioned it at all, aside from that one time. I talk about lying down on his pillow, but never encourage him to put his thumb in his mouth. I never discourage it either, I just want him to relax and go to sleep!

Edited to add:

I always thought that thumbsucking was a nervous behaviour, like carrying around a blankie, but he doesn't seem nervous. He's sociable and doesn't carry his blanket or pillowcase around with him. (well, he does if he happens to see it if I'm doing laundry or packing for an overnight trip, but he never asks for it.)


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Elfrieda - posted on 07/09/2012




Well I definitely don't want him to end up like your cousin, but surely that's an extreme case!

Thanks for your suggestion, but I think I won't do anything as drastic as putting foul chemicals on his fingers until the situation is more severe, like if he's 4 and still sucking his thumb.

Michelle - posted on 07/09/2012




It's not nervous behaviour, it's soothing and relaxing for him.

My cousin (who is 20) still sucks his fingers because he was allowed to do it as a child. The only time he doesn't is when band aids are wrapped around them. He has horrible buck front teeth and has worn down the enamel on them as well.

Maybe look into some of the over the counter stuff to stop nailbiters. It would be best to stop it now rather than trying to stop it when he's in school.

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