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How to Handle Thumb Sucking

It’s been awhile since my last When Parenting Gets Tough post so I thought I would come back with a BANG!  Thumb Sucking.

Thumb Sucking

Yep, parenting is tough.  I’ll admit, when I was pregnant, I knew being a Mom was going to be hard, but I never really realized how hard. 

Sure, it’s completely rewarding and obviously the good outweighs the bad or people wouldn’t have more than 1 child, right? But it’s hard

This post isn’t going to be a woe is me type. No, I just want to share one inner struggle that I’m dealing with and simply hope that someone has some insight, has dealt with the same issue before, or can lead me to what I really feel I should do. 

Heck, that’s why I write. Sometimes when I just let my brain do the talking, my fingers do the typing – my real feelings spill out on the screen.

Go ahead “Oooh” and “Ahhh”. I agree, she’s totally adorable and the thumb sucking only makes her cuter

Moreaya didn’t suck her thumb right from birth. We tried every kind of pacifier for this little lady that we could get our hands on. 

When I was breastfeeding, she simply wanted to breastfeed all of the time. We gave Sophia a pacifier, so we were totally on board with giving Moreaya one as well… except she had other plans.

Baby Pacifier

She would suck on most of them, but just pop them right out. So, we thought, ok. She won’t take one, that’s totally fine. 

But then it happened one morning as we were sitting on the couch. I’m not exactly sure how old she was, probably around 2 months old when I got this image with my iPhone…

Sucking Thumb

Seriously, is there anything cuter? She finally found something that soothed her… her own thumb! It was so cute those first few days, she always sucked her left thumb just like that, with her fingers all in her face. 

Sisters

It didn’t take her long to realize she could hold her fingers differently and still get that cute, little, beloved thumb in her mouth. Even at that young of age, she rarely sucked her thumb unless she was really sleepy or hungry.

Sucking Thumb in Bed

She still pretty much just sucks her thumb when she’s hungry, sleepy, or just needs comfort. 

The Thumb Sucking Dilemma

Taking away the pacifier was so easy for me with Sophia. I just took it away a few weeks after she turned 1 and she was fine. She whined a bit extra a few nights, but never really seemed to miss it.

I can’t take away my child’s thumb and I honestly sometimes don’t feel like I have the right to tell her not to suck on her own thumb. It’s her thumb.

But we are getting to a point, at 16 months old, even though from everything I read it shouldn’t hurt their teeth until around 2, that we’re noticing mouth issues. Her upper teeth seem to be starting to push outwards and the gum around one of her front teeth seems to recede in the back.

I’m really at a crossroads. 

I know I don’t want to have a little girl who is sucking her thumb at 5, even 4 years old. Not that there is anything wrong with that – it is our personal choice as Moreaya’s parents that that’s what we want for her. 

I also know that I don’t want a child with orthodontic issues that we can help curb now. But, I know I have to make a decision and stick to it either way. 

Consistency is always the key. But when do I dive into that? How do I do it? 

I know this isn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things. It’s simply a daily problem that parents face, but often times it’s easier to hear that someone else is dealing or has dealt with the same thing.

Did you or Do you have a Thumb Sucker? What was your way of dealing with it as the child got older?

April

Sunday 7th of September 2014

My son (now 22) was sucking his thumb on his sonogram. I felt the same way about- it was his thumb and was attached to his person so I couldn't throw it away. When he was 6 we had a thumb guard put in his mouth costing a little over $300. When he was 14 he did have braces. I had horrible teeth and did not suck my thumb so I cannot say how much that contributed to crooked teeth or not. The interesting thing was that when the orthodontist made the the x-rays when he was 14 his palate was shaped very much like an up-side-down V and the doctor said he had never seen a thinner palate without there being a cleft palate. My son also had a very hard time as an infant having enough suction to breastfeed. That leads me to question, did his thumb-sucking cause a thinner palate and subsequent suction problems or did he suck his thumb because there was problems with his palate that the thumb soothed? It wasn't until he had braces that I made the connection and started wondering. I think we did the right thing when he was little, and you are right, it doesn't get much cuter than a baby sucking their thumb.

Moreaya is My Blanket Girl.

Wednesday 10th of July 2013

[...] the tags.  That's also why she loves her "baby" so much.  As you can tell, thumb sucking is still going full force and so is the tag obsession.  But, what's attached to those tags is quite nice too!  [...]

I Am a Crappy Green Blogger

Monday 3rd of June 2013

[...] to write a ton of "this is the way I feel, not necessarily right or wrong" such as on my Thumb Sucking post.  I was so afraid that I would offend someone who has a 5 year old that sucks their [...]

Betty

Friday 10th of May 2013

Hi Lindsey;

Just watch this carefully though, my son use to suck his thumb only at night, then it started with the day time naps too; then it was when he watched television; then it moved to while in the car seat...it just kept getting worse. 

Bribing never helped us...we finally found these gloves that he used called Spidy & everytime he put them on he was excited about being a superhero & before long he wanted to wear them all the time. 

Good luck and keep an eye out..oh, the gloves were called glovey huggey and they have their own site or on amazon/ebay; again good luck

Julie Ghrist

Wednesday 8th of May 2013

We have a thumb sucker. He is almost 3. At christmas time he was doing so good and had almost stopped sucking and then in February the baby was born and he went back to sucking his thumb all day long it seems like. We are constantly telling him to stop but it starts to drain us and we feel like we spend all day telling him "stop sucking your thumb" :( I am at a loss at this point and have just given up trying to get him to stop. I don't even know what to do. My doc says it doesn't matter till he starts getting permanent teeth but i don't know if the dentist would agree...