Stopping A Thumb-Sucker From Sucking His Thumb

Oliver has never used a dummy. We had some at the ready in case he wanted to use them, but he’d always spit it out. Instead of using a dummy, he likes to suck his thumb. Yes, he’s a thumb-sucker. I guess a positive of using a dummy is that you can just take it away after a while, but not with a thumb. How do you take away a thumb from your child?

Oliver the thumb-sucker!

We recently had a visit from the local Health Adviser and they made a passing comment about Oliver sucking his thumb. ‘If Oliver carries on sucking his thumb his top teeth will be pulled forward and his bottom teeth will be pushed back’. I had nothing against the comment what so ever as it wasn’t said maliciously. It’s a true statement after all! It just got me thinking on how do I try and stop a 1 year old from sucking his thumb.

‘Try casually pulling his thumb out of his mouth without making it a big deal.’

This is what the health adviser recommended for me to do. I kind of think this is easier said than done. Oliver let’s me take his thumb out of his mouth, but then he’ll just pop it back in every single time. He also falls asleep whilst sucking his thumb. I do sometimes go in to his room when he’s fast asleep and slowly take his thumb it out of his mouth, but I’ll go back in after a couple of hours and, BAM, it’s back in his mouth. Let’s be real, I can’t stand by his cot all night to take his thumb out of his mouth and then wait for him to pop it back in. I can at least do my best by taking his thumb out as much as I can.

Oliver In His Buggy

I’ve been told to buy a liquid that you paint onto the babies nails which tastes disgusting, so it encourages them to not suck their thumb. I know this as I used to bite my nails and I wore it to stop me! But is Oliver a bit too young to wear this? I’ve got a bit of research to do on this one.

This topic got me thinking a bit. I quite honestly have no idea how to stop a thumb-sucker from sucking his thumb. Is Oliver too young to try and stop him? He’s only 1 year old. He’s still at the age where he needs a bit of comfort which he’ll find by sucking on his thumb. Will it affect his teeth at such a young age? Since the health adviser visited I’ve been thinking about Oliver and his thumb sucking a lot. I don’t know whether to leave it for the time being and try again when he’s older, or to start it now so he get’s the idea early.

Is 1 year old too early to start stopping thumb-sucking?

What do you think? Is 1 year old too early, or would it be best to start now so he get’s the idea? The past few days I’ve been taking his thumb out when the opportunity has been there, but I honestly don’t know whether it’s doing anything. As I said, he just pops it back in when he get’s the chance.

For the time being I think I’ll continue to take his thumb out of his mouth when I can, but I’m not going to go out of my way to make sure it’s never in there. He still finds comfort in sucking his thumb. He’s only one. I think he still needs it. Maybe I’ll try properly when he’s a bit older?

What do you think? Have you had any experience in a thumb-sucker? I’d appreciate any tips you have!

Sarah

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  • I sucked my thumb till I was about 7 and my brother sucked his two fingers for the same amount of time and our teeth turned out ok! 🙈 Got no experience of thumb sucking babies but have of dummy sucking nieces and I v much feel the pain of trying to coax them off it (she just finds a new one lying about and takes that)

    • See that’s what I thought! My Dad sucked his thumb when he was younger too and he’s had no problems apparently. Think it’s just because the health adviser made the comment it’s got me paranoid! Tbh most things a health adviser says make you paranoid!!

  • I think, in general, a lot of early habits that cause great concern we grow out of. Not every child is the same developmentally (though I mostly know this from a linguistic perspective, so not an expert), but often it evens out.

    • I hope this is the case! I originally didn’t think anything of it, but since the health adviser mentioned it I started to get quite paranoid about it!

  • we never had a long term thumb sucker, all mine sort of graduated from thumb to dummy which is another issue in itself haha

  • This is very interesting, I wonder when is a good time now, or is there even a good time. I hope you get some useful suggestions.

  • I still suck my thumb from time to time and I’m 35! This is the reason I gave my children dummies, I hated the thought of them pre-kids but they have a place. My dentist said as long as the dummy is gone by 5 then there should be no lasting damage so I assume the same is true of thumb…..

  • Like you said Sarah I sucked my thumb until about 11 years of age, it was the embarrassment of sucking my thumb and being at senior school that made me stop. It didn’t affect my teeth at all, I think boys stop by themselves when they are ready.

  • My daughter still occasionally sucks her thumb… she’s 17!! I tried everything but nothing would stop her. Hence my son had a dummy so I could take it away at 2! By the way, my daughter has the most beautiful teeth! Great post. Go with the flow I say.

  • I don’t have children, and neither me or my younger sister sucked our thumbs! I’d say you’re doing the right thing, though!