Mom of a thumb sucker: My son’s journey to breaking his habit of thumb sucking

When I was pregnant with my first, I remember the second ultrasound very clearly, as there he was within my womb sucking that barely formed thumb. Well out he came, found his thumb pretty quickly and seven years later we were faced with a habit that has been hard to break.

Yay, he found his thumb! Geez this is going to be a tough habit to break!

When he was a baby, he had absolutely no interest in a pacifier, neither of my boys did and my youngest is also going 2 years strong with his beloved thumb. I’ll be honest, so many fellow mom friends used to be so worried about their kids finding their thumbs, but I on the other hand almost wanted them to find it. I wasn’t thinking 4, 5, 6 or 7 years out. I was thinking about one thing and one thing only, SLEEP. I wanted these boys to sleep through the night and them learning how to self soothe early on, well it was a life savior. No going in in the middle of the night and popping that paci back in. Once they found their thumbs they became the most amazing sleepers at night, even more so with my oldest. He was the happiest baby ever, really, he never cried, and he was amazing at self-soothing when he was little. And a little baby sucking on their thumb in my opinion is so much cuter than a pacifier. Fast forward several years later and it becomes not so cute, not something that you can just throw in the trash and something that seems near impossible to break the habit of.

Letting your kids lead the way

I have always been a firm believer, that my son would quit when he was ready. I myself sucked my finger well into elementary school and I remember making the decision one day that I was ready and once I set my mind to it that was it. My ex used to get so mad at my son, threaten him with time outs if he didn’t take his thumb out. I used to get so angry at him. He was 3 or 4 and he was not emotionally ready, nor capable of figuring out how to do that on his own. For the past year and a half, I along with the dentist have given him gentle encouragement about trying to stop the habit. I’ve had many talks with him about it, asking him if its something he wants to stop doing but just can’t, or if he still wants to do it. I’ve told him for quite some time that I’m here to help him when he’s ready. That ultimately, he has to be the one to decide its time, but when he does if he decides he wants some help with it, I’m here for him.

I was shocked when out of the blue last weekend he came up to me and said mom, “I want to stop sucking my thumb, can you help me?” I told him that there were a couple of different aids out there to help him but that I wouldn’t invest in one unless he was actually willing to use it. I think by putting it in his hands, letting him know this was his decision to make, made all the difference. This wasn’t something I was forcing him to do, this was his journey to make, and he knew I loved him and was here to help him in any way he needed. He didn’t have the pressure on him of mommy being disappointed or angry with him. I reminded him that he can do anything he sets his mind to and if he’s deciding now is the time to quit, I have no doubt that he can do it and I believe in him. I showed him two options I found on Amazon. One was like nail polish and makes your thumb taste horrible, and the other was a contraption that goes over your thumb making it impossible to put in your mouth. He asked me to purchase the yucky nail polish. For the next two days he kept asking me when it was going to arrive.

Thumb sucking solution

Sunday morning, a little package arrived. It just happened to be the day before Halloween and a day we had two Halloween festivities to go to. I asked him if he was sure he wanted to put it on and he said as long as it was invisible that yes, he wanted to do it. Well, I painted a coat on his thumb nail, and we hopped into the car to our first festivity. The car and the couch are always the places he tends to suck his thumb. We hadn’t even made it out of the driveway when he was gagging and started crying. It hadn’t even been 10 minutes and his little brain forced by habit had put his thumb in his mouth. This stuff is gross, I felt so bad for him. I asked him if he wanted me to take it off and he said no, just begged me to go get him some seltzer to take the taste away. The rest of the day he didn’t once go to suck his thumb. It wasn’t until the middle of the night when we had another incident. He woke up crying and gagging and completely upset. In his sleep he had put his thumb in his mouth. My heart hurt for him and yet was so proud of my baby doing such big boy things.

It took two days for the nail polish to wash off completely in the tub and when I asked him if he wanted me to reapply it, he said, “Nope, I think I have this. My brain doesn’t need it anymore.” I can’t believe it, but it’s been 5 days without him sucking his thumb. I keep catching myself checking on him when he’s watching TV or looking back at him in the car. I keep telling him how proud of him I am and that most of all he should be so proud of himself.

So, if you’re a fellow mom to a thumb sucker like me and your little one is ready to take the big step, I highly recommend this stuff! Mavala nail polish treatment


3 thoughts on “Mom of a thumb sucker: My son’s journey to breaking his habit of thumb sucking

  1. So how is it going now? Any more thumb sucking? My habit was biting my nails and my mom tried that nail polish on me. Unfortunately, my brain didn’t get the message and I still bite my nails, lol. When it gets really bad, I put a little of the dog’s “no bite” spray on my fingers. That is the worst stuff I’ve ever tasted! It only works when I have it on though lol.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s