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July 13, 2012

Aww but they look so cute...
Picture Source
Of my 4 children 3 have sucked their thumb or finger. Battling my first daughter and her binky woes I've since thought the finger a great idea. PT would lose her binky making an impromptu run to the store inevitable. It was a stress to keep up with and keep clean. The same couldn't be said for a finger. PJ was a finger sucker from the get go. Apparently she was sucking her finger during delivery causing quite the cramp in space to enter this world. My midwife, after delivery, said her elbow was in the way and that's why it took forever to push her out. PJ just turned 6 and I can chuckle now but at the time trying to push out a 10lb baby was no laughing matter. thumb sucking

We did break her of her finger habit with hot sauce, that thumb stuff that tastes horrible, and offering chewies in it's place. It was a struggle and because it was so hard on the both of us I haven't broken my boys yet.

After my first daughters you'd think I'd be an expert as to what works best, one was ATTACHED to a binky and the other ATTACHED to her finger. As a mother of 3 and then 4 there was no way I was going to try to keep up with multiple binkies so I voted finger. It'd be a few years before I found out how wrong I was.

Now those boys are 3yrs and 20months old and the fingers have to go!! These are boys I'm talking about. Boys play in dirt or whatever they can get their hands on. My 3yo is now fully potty trained and it grosses me out every time he is finished pottying he comes out sucking his thumb. So today, I finally decided I'm going to do something about this. I also discovered a potential fungus growth on PC's face causing white circles. They look like a pigment disorder so we'll rule the fungus out over the next few weeks. But still the thumbs are out and have to go. So what do I do? I tried the hot sauce on the oldest excerpt he loves spicy food. The yucky stuff doesn't work on him.

I did what all good mothers do, 
and googled it!

I found that some experts say you shouldn't even worry about it until age 4-5 and that most kids stop at this time. I think these kids start going to school and notice everyone doesn't suck their thumb and they don't want to be different. As a homeschooler with more than one thumb sucker that theory is really going to work. I can see teeth movement in their mouths and really don't want to do braces later in life if we can help it now. From my search I found a few pretty creative solutions that I never thought of.

Tape, Socks, or Bandages

Now we've actually done this with PJ. Her fingers got a yeasty looking infection between them and couldn't heal with her pointer in her mouth all the time. So for a week or so she had a sock Velcro'd onto her wrist. She is the persistent type and sucked through the sock anyways but it did heal up.

We already have a few Spiderman bandages so I'll go this route first and see how they hold up. With younger one's I would think about this being a potential chocking hazard as they may not stop sucking until the bandage is off.


Mory was a father of three daughters who were all serious thumb suckers. After years of thumb sucking which resulted in thumb sores and potential teeth damage, his daughters expressed a desire to quit. After trying Tabasco, socks over their hand, even bribery. He came up with the idea of the Thumbusters! Smart Man :)

Thumbusters is a glove-like device made from Lycra that covers the thumb and is attached by a Velcro band around the wrist. I would have never thought of this but it's ingenious really. And it seems to help many. It's recommended for ages 4-12.

Thumb Guards

These are similar to the previous device and some are crocheted. I can do that now :) I could sew up some as well I'll just need to mess around with pattern designs to see what fits the best.

As we prepare for baby #5 I'm fully Thumbs Down. I don't see a need for little dirty hands to be in a baby's mouth all the time. I know it brings them comfort and if non of these habit breaking techniques work then we'll deal with it until age 5 I guess. I really could have encouraged binky's more if I'd known what I know now. Wish me luck :)

The opinions posted here are my own.  I was not reimbursed for this post but wanted to spread the word about a unique product and idea.

Add your 2 cents...

Have you raised a thumb sucker?
Did they drop the habit on their own or did they need help?

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