December 2010 Moms

If you had / have a thumb sucker

So I think Charlie will be a thumb sucker. He is constantly trying to suck on his fists and really resists a pacifier. I can occasionally get him to take one but most of the time he refuses and has even gagged from me trying. (We have tried several different brands - he's not a fan).

Anyway, last night, he found his thumb and he was SOOOO happy. I really think it would be nice for him to have a self soothing ability, but at the same time I would prefer a pacifier because at least we could eventually get rid of it. But I'm also not that worried about it if he does suck his thumb.  

However, DH's family is SUPER anti-thumb sucking. They seriously act like it's the equivalent of giving him a rag of whisky to suck on or something. I guess one of their cousins sucked his thumb till he was like 8 years old so to them it's more of a shameful / embarrassing habit.

If you had / have a thumb sucker, did you encounter this judgement too? Did you have any issues with weaning LO off of their thumb?

FWIW, it's not like I'm an expert on weaning from a binky either. Reese still uses a binky to fall asleep at night, but once it falls out of her mouth after about 10 minutes she doesn't put it back in, so I haven't pushed her to stop using it. Her Pedi said it's fine till age 3 so we aren't worrying about it right now.  

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Re: If you had / have a thumb sucker

  • John and Nicholas both refused the pacifier before they were 3months.  John was the only one that started sucking his thumb instead.  It didn't bother me in the least- and yes my sister acted like it was the devil... But I told her to stuff it since there were MANY things that she did with her kids that I disagreed with and are still letting her kids do that I find wrong.  We didn't discourage him- but sometime when they were 18 -20 months I noticed that he was no longer sucking his thumb.  So he weaned himself- I am convinced it is because we never made it a big deal.
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  • A never sucked his thumb and didn't really take to a pacifier so we stopped trying around 6 months with him. J we tried to wean from the pacifier around 6 months since he only used it sporadically to sleep and wigged when he couldn't put it back in well he found his thumb during that time. So he now uses both a pacifier and thumb. Some people have just commented on it as a new behavior and oh how cute but my pedi wigged out and said I needed to break the habit. H was super stressed when he started sucking his thumb and would pull it out all the time but it was a losing battle. I came and asked here and many of the moms said their kids kinda just gave it up around 2ish years old. Sooo..... I just ignore negative comments and since he's happy with his thumb I just make more of an effort to keep his hands clean since he's crawling and into everything now and if I remember the pacifier then I keep it on his shirt leash too.

    Oh and any comments from people regarding braces etc I just tell them that both H and I needed braces while growing up and neither of us were thumb suckers so it's genetic too and we'll just keep good dental insurance for the boys.
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  • Charlie has been a thumb sucker since about 4 months old and Ginny started sucking her thumb a few weeks ago. I know I'm in the minority with this opinion, but I don't see a problem with it.

    When kids begin to play and crawl, thumb suckers need to take their thumb out of their mouth to do so while paci kids can keep it in. Charlie eventually went from sucking it all the time to only sucking his thumb when he is sick/hurt/scared/tired....basically a comfort thing. Who am I to take that from him? Even adults have habits that comfort them. Sure, there may come to a time when we need to discuss it with him, but he is still little and won't mess up his teeth until he starts losing baby teeth.

    And if DH's family let someone suck their thumb until they were 8 without any kind of intervention, that's their problem. Not yours! :-)

    That being said, if it comforts him, let him go for it. 

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  • lrn327lrn327
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    I sucked my thumb until I was 6 and didn't need braces so he's not doomed for them or anything, ha ha!  C sucked his thumb a bit for a couple months but just quite on his own.  We weaned from the paci at 7 months and it was nbd.  I wouldn't worry about, it might not be long term anyway.  (And if it is, it's not the worst thing.)
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  • image OhSewCrafty:

    Charlie has been a thumb sucker since about 4 months old and Ginny started sucking her thumb a few weeks ago. I know I'm in the minority with this opinion, but I don't see a problem with it.

    When kids begin to play and crawl, thumb suckers need to take their thumb out of their mouth to do so while paci kids can keep it in. Charlie eventually went from sucking it all the time to only sucking his thumb when he is sick/hurt/scared/tired....basically a comfort thing. Who am I to take that from him? Even adults have habits that comfort them. Sure, there may come to a time when we need to discuss it with him, but he is still little and won't mess up his teeth until he starts losing baby teeth.

    And if DH's family let someone suck their thumb until they were 8 without any kind of intervention, that's their problem. Not yours! :-)

    That being said, if it comforts him, let him go for it. 

    Lurking in here, since I don't have a thumb-sucker, but I have to say, I thoroughly agree with all of this. My kid hated the paci after 3 months, but never went to thumb-sucking... but if she had, I'd be okay with it. Cross that bridge when you need to, and tell your H's family to butt out (or better yet, have him do it). 

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  • DS never took to the paci and has always been a thumb sucker.  It used to be only when he was tired, but over time, it's become almost non-stop.  I had always heard that it wasn't something to be concerned about until his permanent teeth came in, but at our first visit to the dentist, he pointed out that DS is already beginning to develop a 50% overbite.  That is not good.   The dentist recommended one of the anti-thumb sucking polishes and I just ordered it from Amazon.   I'm going to give it a try, but I hope it doesn't wig him out.   I'm hoping that it will take just a few days for him to adjust, but who knows?

    The dentist also told me that a lot of kids stop sucking their thumbs when they get to school because it becomes a social stigma.  I really don't want to wait another 3.5 years until he gets to kindergarten...who knows what shape his mouth will be in then!  And it makes me a little sad to think that it will take kids making fun of him to encourage him stop.  So, I really hope this polish works.

     
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  • O is a thumb sucker as well.  He sucks his thumb whenever he is sleepy or sitting still.  No friend or family member has mentioned anything negative about it.  some people say its cute.

    Like strunella, I thought we had a while before worrying about it but i can tell his teeth are changing some in the front.  Our dentist told us to try to cut it out completely during non-sleep times.  So, basically I try to keep his hands busy whenever I see him sucking.

    I honestly cant see him stopping at night unless we put a thumb guard on.  I try not to worry about it, but sometimes i do.   I think one of the reasons I still let D have a paci is because I'm worried that if I take it away he will start sucking his thumb.

  • DS1 is a thumb-sucker and we have never really worried about it or cared. It was great when we ditched the paci at 4 months and he went to thumb-sucking instead. So MOTN wake-ups due to the paci falling out and him not being able to find it - the thumb is always right there!

    As soon as he started crawling/playing more/walking he really dropped to only sucking it at naps/bedtime since during awake time his hands were needed to do much  more fun things than suck on his thumb.

    At 2 years old we took him to his first dentist appt and they mentioned they could tell he was a thumb sucker since it was changing his bite a bit. But they said just to gently work on it and said most kids stop between 3-4 years old.

    About 2 weeks ago DH was getting DS up for the morning and he was still in bed sucking his thumb. He told him to hold up his two hands and look at his thumbs and he pointed out how one was all bumpy and yucky (it is kinda calloused and was wet/pruney from being in his mouth). And he just said that happens because you put your thumb in your mouth and he should try not to do it anymore. I overheard the whole thing - it was very gently and said very calmly.

    Then that night when I was putting him to bed he stuck him thumb in his mouth and I just said, "Remember what daddy said this morning about how putting your thumb in your mouth can make it yucky?. And he took his thumb out and just cuddled his lovey/blanket closer to his face and went to sleep. He didn't suck it at all for about a week. Then we were on vacation this past 5 days and he started back up again a bit during the end of naps/night. But was falling asleep initially without doing it (we bedshared during vacation, so I noticed it).

    So we'll see how it goes from here now that we are back home.

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