The Thumb-Sucking Dilemma and How Our Oldest Finally Stopped

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stopping thumb sucking

Meet Peyton.

She’s 7, and the firstborn of two firstborns. Enough said.

When Peyton was a baby, she loved her pacifier. But she would lose it over and over and over again at night, waking up each time in a panic, until her Mommy was so tired from getting up to pop it back it that she could hardly see straight.

One night, her Mommy decided to take away the paci and let her cry it out (a decision, by the way, that she has regretted ever since).

But Peyton, she was not deterred, and she discovered a new trick after just a couple of days.

A thumb-sucking habit was born.

Trying to Break the Habit

Fast forward a few years and Peyton was addicted to her thumb. At bedtime. In the car. While watching TV. When upset.

Her Mommy and Daddy had tried everything — icky-tasting nail polish, rewards, reminding (aka nagging). Even a dental appliance.

Peyton had always been strong-willed, and thumb-sucking was not a habit she wanted to give up.

A couple years ago, Mommy’s friend mentioned that her mom had actually pinned socks to her sleeves to keep her from sucking her thumb.

Peyton agreed to try that, but within a few days, the pressure was too much, and the sock ritual was met with tears. So Mommy and Daddy gave up. Again.

stopping thumb sucking

Finding a Solution

At a recent dentist appointment, the dentist told Peyton and her Daddy — again — that the habit had to stop or she was risking jaw surgery in her future.

Peyton came home ready to try again.

The bright colored knee-high sock was found¬† — and turned inside out because the inside is “itchy”(neurosis runs high in this household!) — a reward was promised, and they were off.

Three weeks later, and the habit has disappeared.

The sock is still a constant bedtime companion — it’s become a comfort of its own — but Peyton hasn’t needed a single reminder not to suck her thumb since she made the decision to quit.

She just needed to be ready.

Now Mommy just needs to figure out what to do about the two-year-old who has just started sucking her thumb as a toddler!

Do you have any thumb suckers? I’d love to hear other ideas for breaking the habit!