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Stop the (Thumb Sucking) Madness!

Thumbs up, dude!

It’s a battle I’ve chosen to stay neutral on for the past five years, but as my son nears first grade, I know it’s time to help Wito stop sucking his thumb. My husband has been ready for quite some time, but I’ve been dragging my feet due to some not-so-convincing-to-my-husband reasons. (He’s still MAH BABY! It soothes him! He only does it at night or while relaxing!)

We actually tried (semi-successfully) to rid Wito of this habit over a year ago. Our dentist neighbor, who obviously knows thumb sucking is detrimental in regards to teeth formation, gave us a bottle of that bitter formula that you paint on the nails. We tried it, and although the first few nights were hard (lots of waking up in the middle of the night yelling, presumably because he had sleepily stuck his thumb in his mouth, only to taste some horrific flavor), he kicked it. We were kind of shocked, actually, because this was the kid who had his thumb in his mouth ALL THE TIME.

However, as months passed, he slowly started sucking again, and worst of all, he would continue to suck with the nail polish on. “It doesn’t taste THAT bad, mommy! I kind of like it.” Um, NO THANK YOU. I surely didn’t want him sucking on that polish for prolonged periods of time, so we just went into a holding pattern.

Since kindergarten started last fall, Wito never sucks his thumb at school or in public, but sucks while sleeping, relaxing in the car or watching television. I have a nagging suspicion that the longer we wait, the harder it will be, so I broke down and bought this hokey thumb glove, thinking it was probably a waste of my money. Well, fast forward five days and the kid hasn’t sucked his thumb at all. (We only require him to wear the glove at home or while sleeping.) He fought back the first day, saying it was “not fun” or that the tab was itchy, but now has no problem wearing it. Now, Wito is old enough to understand that keeping it on is a household rule, so I’m not sure how this type of glove would work for a toddler, who could rip it off fairly easily (it fastens by a velcro tab), but we’re really proud of Wito’s recent leap into the land of non-thumb suckage.

We’ll see how things go over the course of the next month, but I’m hopeful that Wito has kicked the habit for good. What about you? Do you have a thumb sucker? Are you actively trying to break the habit (and how?) or do you feel like your child will give it up when the time’s right?

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