Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thumb Sucking... hoo boy

I literally sucked on pacifiers until I was 6 years old (and then suffered through a lifetime of orthodontia), so I just kind of always assumed that any child of mine would be hooked on pacifiers.  But not Olivia.  Olivia is a thumb sucker through and through.  No special blankies.  No beloved stuffed animals.  Just her thumb.

When this all started (back when she was about a month old...ish?) I was a little worried about it, but, really, what're you gonna do?  "Oh, my one month old finally found a way to soothe herself... I think I'll sabotage it."  Yeah right.  So we didn't really do anything about it and we've just kind of hoped she'd grow out of it on her own.  I figured it might take a few years, but I figured it wasn't really a big deal.

Until this morning.  Olivia's been teething (again) and we're pretty sure she has 4 teeth coming in at once right now.  Poor kid.  So I think it was sort of due to all that, but this morning I noticed something on her thumb and realized it was little bite mark scabs.  Eeek!  My poor girl!  Thumb sucking is one thing, but hurting herself is something entirely different.  At least, to me it is.

So I called and chatted with the nurse at the pediatrician's office.  The  moment I mentioned thumb sucking she chuckled.  And, I have to admit, so did I.  I felt pretty ridiculous even calling, but I wanted some advice.  This very kind-hearted nurse suggested putting some Neosporin on the little bite marks and wrapping it up in a band-aid... and then putting socks over her arms so she can't pull the band-aid off.  We chatted a little more, chuckled a little more, and then she wished me luck and added, "It'll be hard any time, but it's easier to break her of it now than when she's 2 1/2."  TRUE.

So I let Olivia finish playing with her little friend that was over and eat lunch in peace and then, a few minutes ago, just before I laid her down for her nap, I put three band-aids around her owie finger (one to cover the wound, one to hold the first one on, and another one to hold the second on on since she was flailing around and I accidentally bent the second one in half and made it stick to itself).  Then, keeping her un-bandaged hand away from the band-aids, I promptly slipped a pair of thick tights on--one leg covering each arm with the spot for her bum going across her chest.  Then I topped it off by putting on her zip-up sweatshirt so she couldn't take any of it off.  Whew.  By the end of all this she was CRAN-KEY!  We read a book together to calm her down, said a little prayer to ask Heavenly Father to help her, and I laid her down to sleep.

She SCREAMED for at least ten minutes, but I think she's finally fallen asleep.

Anyone else have any experience with this?


Polly @ Pieces by Polly said...

Sorry, no experience. Katie's the only one who even took a pacifier and she broke herself of it after about 4 months. The tights/sweatshirt combo sounds like a winner to me since she can't take it off. I've also heard people put something that tastes yucky on the kid's thumb. Good luck!

alee said...

Yikes. I have not had any experience with this (yet) but I am so against thumb-sucking. I mean, I figure it isn't good for your teeth either but at least you can take a pacifier away...taking a thumb away is harder/impossible. I remember having a friend who wouldn't realize it but would suck her finger when she fell asleep at sleepovers in middle school- talk about embarrassing.

So anywho, good luck. I am sure with my luck our boy will be an avid thumb sucker, but I plan to break him of it asap if that happens so let me know if you find any tricks!

Beth said...

All I can can is better now then later. I sucked my thumb for a LONG time, my whole family (6 kids) did, and I assumed my kids would too (since neither of them could do the pacifiers) but both mine stopped themselves around 11 months. Now, my brother, who's in his 30's still sucks his thumb at night. So yeah, better now then later. And the tights and shirt idea! Genius!

Kathy Haynie said...

Hang in there. :) Olivia's a smart little girl, and she'll figure out how to wean soon.

pmom said...

I guess I am the odd one out, but I have 2 girls that suck(ed) their thumbs. It is so nice for them to be able to self soothe.
My dentist said not to worry about it until they get older and when we went to my ODD's dentist appointment when she was just a little over 4, they said it was time to start working on her not sucking her thumb. She had wanted a pillow pet for a long time, so we got her one with the stipulation that she used that to get to sleep other than her thumb. She stopped cold turkey! This was a child who sucked her thumb every time she went to sleep for almost 4 years.
My YDD is 20 months and has been sucking her thumb since she was 6 months. I will worry about getting her to stop when she is older.

Marae said...

my mom paid me $10 to quit sucking my thumb (i was seven). after lots of tries, that's what finally worked.

good luck!

Dorothy said...

Sam sucked his middle two fingers. When he was four he stopped "cold turkey" because I told him that kids who go to school don't do that anymore. Plus I promised him a toy truck. He had such wonderful self-control. When he was tempted, he sat on his hands, and when I peeked at him when he was asleep, he had tucked his hands under the pillow. All by himself he earned that toy truck in about a month, and there were no tears involved or nagging from me. :) It is definitely easier when the kid is involved with the decision and understands the need.

**nicke... said...

how did it go???