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Curing A Thumb-Sucker

5 great tips for helping your little one end their thumb-sucking habit. Moms and author Ari Brown, M.D. weigh in.
Views: 2

It’s cute when baby’s little, but when your toddler has a thumb permanently glued to her mouth, all you can envision are sky-high orthodontist bills. Help her kick the habit with these tips.

Limit thumb time. Ari Brown, M.D., co-author of Toddler 411 and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommends only allowing thumb-sucking in your child’s room. That way, she’ll have to excuse herself from whatever she’s doing at the moment to get her fix. "This will limit the number of hours the thumb is in her mouth," explains Dr. Brown, "and force your child to find other strategies to soothe herself."

Pretty up her thumb. "I painted my 2-year-old’s nails whatever color she wanted and put a cute little decal on her thumb to get her to quit sucking," says Michele Bender, a mom of two in New York City. "It helped!"

Find an alternate. Give your child a sensory object to soothe herself. For example, says Dr. Brown, "let your child pick out a piece of soft fabric and tuck a swatch of it in her pocket or pin it to the inside of her shirt. When she needs a fix in a public place, she can secretly rub on the fabric. This doesn’t fulfill the oral stimulation, but it does help with the tactile-sensory stimulation that kids find soothing."

Take matters into your own hands. "When my little girl would put her thumb into her mouth at bedtime, I would take my finger and rub her thumb instead," says Vicki Stern-Browne, a mom of two in Atlanta, Georgia. "It took a month, but it worked."

Treat her with kid gloves. "My kids never sucked their thumbs, but I did," recalls Robyn Levine, a mom of two in Montclair, New Jersey. "My grandmother made me wear a white cotton glove to sleep for a week—and I finally stopped!"

An article from the HUGGIES® Brand

  • Rated 0 out of 5 by 2reviewers.
    Rated 0 out of 5 by I think it is terriable how parents have to struggle with this. I struggle with it for 2 years. Then a friend told me about kidshandaid.com a boom habit was done. I recommend this to everyone that I seee with a child thumb sucking. It is amazing that the immediate and lasting results your child will be able to maintain with Handaid. It is a miracle product, I would would recommend it to anyone trying to stop their child's thumbsucking habit. November 15, 2014
    Rated 0 out of 5 by My oldest son who's now 16 was my only thum sucker but he sucked his thumb even before birth we caught it on ultrasound, and it was the cutest thing the moment he was born he had his thumb in mouth and other hand holding his ear. We tried everything to stop him from age 2-4 old wives tales Like taping thumb, sour items, and even a OTC product that we painted on his nail. Nothing worked, finally a pediatric dentist told me not do anymore. That he would be in school soon let's see what effect his peers have on him. Sure enough it was wonderful shortly after he stopped on his own and the big callus he had on the top of his tiny thumb was healing. Today he's 16 and has on occasions slept with his hand at his ear but no thumb sucking. December 20, 2011
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