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Advice needed to wean 10 month old daughter off her thumb

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / January 25, 2007 7:31 AM PST

Hi folks,

My 10-month-old daughter's calloused thumb (she's a thumb sucker)--is becoming more and more raw from her gnawing on it because of her teething. For you seasoned parents out there, what advice can you give me to wean her off the thumb or prevent her raw finger from getting any worse? I have been given advice ranging from applying something bad tasting on the thumb (like Tabasco) to putting a sock over her hand so she can't suck on it.

If you have some good recommendations or experiences to share with me, I would love to hear them. Any parent-to-parent advice is appreciated.

Thanks in advance!
-Lee

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Yuck
by webnician / January 25, 2007 5:13 PM PST

There are various brands of foul-tasting, non-toxic "ointment" made just for this purpose. You just apply it, let it dry, and let it work. It worked for my kiddo'. He's 16 now and doesn't seem to have too many disorders because of it.

There are also some home-made concoctions that do the job, as I barely recall.

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thumb sucking
by kelly- bell / January 26, 2007 4:21 AM PST
In reply to: Yuck

Hi
Years ago my son was a very bad thumb sucker and had his thumb very red and sore I put some rawleighs salve on it to try to get fix the sore up and the taste was so bad he never sucked his thumb again
Juls1

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aloe
by Queenofdachickens / January 26, 2007 10:39 AM PST
In reply to: thumb sucking

well i'm not a parent but when i went thru a really bad nail biting period when i was younger my parents bought aloe (like the plant) and cut some off and rubbed the icky clear sap on my fingers so that i wouldn't bite my nails..........i haven't bitten them since, lol and i can't stand the smell of aloe either lol but it worked and i'm sure in this case it would work too.

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giving help
by Amedusen / January 25, 2007 5:23 PM PST

wrap it ith a big bandage and change it every 4 hours.Ahmed

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also treat the symptoms
by spinella / January 25, 2007 5:44 PM PST

Hmmm... technical help, what operating system does she have? model number?

anyway, one of my favorite remedies was putting liquid tylenol or equiv directly on the sore gums.

If your daughter is chewing because it hurts, treating the hurt may make it a lot easier to address the habit.

Of course, you still have to address the habit. But then, if it's not due to pain, but rather self-comforting, more personal attention may be just the ticket--also giving you the opportunity to provide just-in-time options like a clean cloth diaper to cuddle (and go in between thumb and mouth, active play that involves said arm or hand, and a present, nurturing caregiver that both observes in more detail the behavior and reduces the need for self-stimulation or self-comfort.

Have fun!

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thumb sucking
by Jinkxc / January 25, 2007 6:01 PM PST

Every time I saw our son with his thumb in his mouth, I would gently take it out. I didn't scold, put yucky tasting stuff on his thumb; I would just not make an issue out of it. BTW, my son was almost 6 before I started dealing with his thumb sucking. I also noticed he sucked his thumb when he was tired or sleepy. Now my sister when we put tabasco sauce on hers she got use to the taste and later she started biting her nails really bad. I would just let nature take it's course.

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Thumb sucking
by garthe / January 25, 2007 6:36 PM PST

Hello Lee,

Your daugther must not have a "fooler", give her one and she will be fine!

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Thumb sucking
by AtomicLemon / January 25, 2007 6:37 PM PST

My daughter is almost eight years old. She found her thumb at 6 months and, at times, will still put it in her mouth (usually at bedtime or when she is bored). My sister was a thumbsucker and, when she found out my daughter was too, she begged me not to attempt all the awful methods my parents did to her. Eventually, peer pressure puts an end to bad habits. The hardest part for me was just getting over the fact that she put a germ-ridden, dirty thumb in her mouth. But, I will say, that she is very healthy and hardly ever sick!

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Stop worrying about this!
by Irishkate / January 25, 2007 6:41 PM PST

As a thumbsucker myself, and have a grandaughter thumbsucker. The Dr's all said not to worry about it. It is comforting to her, and not a big deal. She will probably need braces whether she sucks her thumb or not.

There will be plenty of bigger problems that you should save yourself for later on. Get some sleep Dad.

Irishkate, Ohio

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I meant "former thumbsucker"
by Irishkate / January 25, 2007 6:44 PM PST

For all of you laughing, thinking about this thumbsucking grandmother, I meant that I was a FORMER thumbsucker. I broke myself of the habit several years ago. Take care

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Try this.
by banjax / January 25, 2007 6:52 PM PST

We took the approach with our children that it was better to give them a dummy, perhaps you call it something else in the States, as you can throw that away when they get too old for it. Throwing thumbs away probably isn't the best idea! We've seen many parents who allowed their children to suck their thumbs as toddlers only to see them still at it in their teens. Welcome to the roller coaster of parenthood.

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Advice needed to wean 10 month old daughter off her thumb
by johnnysocko / January 25, 2007 7:06 PM PST

Well what my mom did too my little brother wuz but hot sauce on his finger he stop about a week. He got madd cuzz he had hot fingers and hot mouth.

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To stop thumb sucking...
by raflaker / January 25, 2007 7:08 PM PST

Many years ago we broke our daughter from doing what you are having problems with currently and the solution was easy. Just put something foul tasting on her thumb and she will quickly learn that it does not taste very good anymore. Either Bitter Apples or Pepper/clove flavors seem to work best. Good luck!

Robert A Flaker

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Relax, papa
by mo7881 / January 25, 2007 7:18 PM PST

Lee, thumb-sucking at ten months is not a major issue. I have three sons, now aged 27, 18 and 14. All sucked their thumbs and all eventually stopped - of their own volition and long before attaining their current ages!

I was lucky in that my brother was also our paediatrician. When I approached him with this, overwrought with guilt at having produced a (gasp!) thumb-sucker, he sat me down and, as only a brother can, said "Megs, get hold of yourself. When the rest of his mates on the football team start to poke fun, he'll probably stop."

He was right, of course:)

xxMegs

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It is normal, but here some advices
by plokia / January 26, 2007 10:38 PM PST
In reply to: Relax, papa

Hi,
if she's teething, I'd use (in my practice, I'm not a parent but a Paediatrician) Xylocaine viscous; just a drop in your finger and massage the gum for about 10 seconds. Three times a day, before meals. It works better than Tylenol and soothes very fast.
Also you could provide her with a rubber chewing toy, the ones full of gel that you can put in the fridge; give it to her to chew once cold. It's calming too.

About the red and raw thumb: a mitten? Sounds silly, but I've seen it work! LOL. Otherwise, a band aid, but PLEASE be careful is very well glued, we don't want her to choke on it !!!
You can also apply small amounts of any ointment for burns before bandaging. Very little, remember kids absorbe more the chemicals, specially through skin sores. But it'll restore her skin nice and fast.

OK, my English isn't good, sorry! But let us know how it went in the next bulletin. Wink

Cheers!

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Thumb Sucking
by cfirth / January 28, 2007 2:49 AM PST
In reply to: Relax, papa

Most kids suck their thumb to be able to hlep/rub the sore gums during teething. The best advice I was given when my son had this problem was to give him forzen mini bagels. The bagels are small enough that a baby can hold them themselves and be able to naw on them. By freezing them they give a cool down to the sore gums - while not really numbing them all the way. Because of there texture, the baby will be able to hold onto them for quite a while and they break down in their mouth so the baby won't choke. I found this was a great substitute for the thumb and yet not something else you will have to ween them off of later!

Hope this helps!

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For thum suckers
by T MAN351 / January 25, 2007 7:47 PM PST

We use to slightly paste some bitter thing on thumb,like little bitt lamon juice.Ejaz

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Thumb sucking is the symptom, but not the problem
by Catgic / January 25, 2007 8:06 PM PST

Besides suckling being a natural motor activity for babies, your daughter has a need to suck because it is comforting to her or because she is hungry or both. Since I am confident that mom and dad Koo are keeping her well and properly fed, that leaves comfort.

Let her suck, encourage her to suck, because it makes her feel good and comforted. Between her suckling drive and teething gum problems, she just is using whatever is handy --- her thumb --- to feel mo? betta.

Kittens will suck ?handy? thread balls and lint on blankets because they have no handy thumbs like we human primates do. You no doubt have observed this suckling behavior. Well, the CATG DNA codes of human babies have been tweaked to make them hairless kittens with thumbs.

Since your daughter is a unique person on to herself, you and your wife need to develop a personalized, customized solution tailored specifically to Mr. & Mrs. Koo?s Baby Girl --- HER. Do not listen to ?sure solutions? offered by relatives, friends or CNETizens. Gather data, yes, but do your own Baby Koo-Centric Analysis and determine and a craft a solution just for her.

She has a need to suck so fulfill it with a pacifier, teething ring or whatever is needed to get the job done, and in the process wean her off her now sore, raw and calloused and always handy thumb.

In your quest to find a KOO "SOLUTION" to the BABY KOO "PROBLEM," ignore the ?foul-tasting, non-toxic ? Tabasco type? recommendations in favor of the ?alternate suckling --- it feels good? solutions that will work to get her to trade-in her thumb for your yet to be determined Baby Koo Solution.

Fear not you will get there. and she will be gumming, sucking and gnawing away on something else besides her thumb until you can wean her on to pork chops. JP Cool

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Thumb-sucking
by Iyermr / January 25, 2007 9:08 PM PST

Hello,

Children can be weaned from thumb-sucking by having some non-toxic bitter edible material applied on the thumb. In India we traditionally use the bitter neem-extract (or neem oil) which also has many medicinal and disinfectant properties.

Dr.M.R.Iyer
(grand parent)

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Thumb sucking cure.
by GeeWilakers / January 25, 2007 8:11 PM PST

Make sure you keep the thumbs covered with something except when eating.

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Lanolin
by gokstate73 / January 25, 2007 9:14 PM PST

TMI alert - I will be discussing nipples.
I just had a baby 8 weeks ago. To ease discomfort from breastfeeding they recommend using pure lanolin on my nipples. It does not have to be removed prior to feeding. I would assume that this could at least help her thumb heal.

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Don't fight it, direct it.
by tjweiland / January 25, 2007 9:29 PM PST

Don't try to break a 10-month old of chewing on something.
That's just beating your head against a wall.
Go buy her a good pacifier.
Not one of those cheap yellowy ones, but a thick clear plastic one with ribs on the nipple.
(The ribs feel good on their gums.)
Then she'll have much less interest in abusing her own fingers.
Also, it's much easier to break a toddler of sucking on a pacifier than sucking their thumb, once they're done teething.
Obviously, you can't confiscate/put away their thumbs.
The one's we use are ****.
They sell them at Target.

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Don't worry about it.
by dadofmykids / January 25, 2007 9:43 PM PST

At ten months old, there isn't much you can do to stop her from sucking her thumb, other than handing her something interesting to hold onto. She'll most likely stop the habit on her own.

Keep this in mind: if it becomes painful, she won't do it.

My advise is don't worry about it for now. By all means, don't say anything to her about it. If it bothers you, just distract her with something more interesting when you notice her doing it.

Andy, Father of eight.

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thumb sucking
by nova6977 / January 25, 2007 10:05 PM PST
In reply to: Don't worry about it.

Cornhuskers ointment will help with the cracking on her thumb. My girl's (2)seemed to suck on their thumbs close to bed time to help we would place a sock over the apporiate hand (we called it the thumb sock) it was just part of getting ready for bed get your jamies on and don't forget the thumb sock. As far as putting substances on the thumb during waking hours not so sucessiful as it is an unconcissous thing you just need to be consistent (not mean) bring it to their attention tell her to take her thumb out of her mouth. Be prepaired you will have to say this at least 10k times. welcome to the joys of parenthood.

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forget about the sucking, treat the thumb
by paxboy22 / January 25, 2007 9:54 PM PST

my daughter sucked her thumb up until she was about 6. As she socialzed more with other kids, she lost interest in her thumb either because of peer-pressure (the other kids weren't all doing it) or she was just disctracted from it. Let your daughter use her thumb. What we found effective to treat the blistering was some lip balm (Blistex and Carmex worked best). We put a light coat on the thumb, especially around dinner time when she would be distracted with other things and the thumb could stay dry for some period of time (to allow the balm to work some).
As others have posted before, let her use the thumb, she will eventually grow out of it.

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Try a little tabasco sause...
by karlat / January 25, 2007 9:59 PM PST

While my daughter was sleeping we would put some tobasco sause on her thumb. It is important that they not know you are doing it, otherwise the will learn that they can wash it off of. To them it seems that their thumb just doesn't taste good any more, and they quit! Good Luck!

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I love it
by infinity2115 / January 26, 2007 2:54 AM PST

Love this forum and community of wonderful people.
Thank you Karlat for making this place have a human face! WinkHappy

Re thumb issues: Pressure form parents in young age is less hassle then teens teasing.

I would go ahead and helped her to get rid of this habit sooner then later. Especially feel bad about her hurting thumb. I wonder how strong is the addiction if pain doesn't stop it.
I guess taste and comfort are more important to your daughter now.

I was chewing on pens and pencils when I was about 10-12 y.o. Got rid of that by covering all my pens and pencils with something tasting really bad. It helped.

Best wishes
I

_______________________________
"All the changes are only in the perceivers." - Baruch Ashlag, 'Shamati, Igrot' http://www.kabbalah.info

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Instant Cure For Thumb-sucking
by jkelley063 / January 25, 2007 10:04 PM PST

Tabasco Sauce. I used it on two of my three daughters who sucked their thumbs. It worked in one day!

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Thumb sucking ....
by Catzpawz / January 25, 2007 10:07 PM PST

I have a daughter that is also a thumb sucker....when she was a baby it was cute...now that she is 3 SHE is still cute but the thumb sucking is causing her to have teeth related problems. When she was 1 year old and went for her first dental check up she had a perfect bite...now she is developing an overbite due to the thumb sucking.

Everyone has given me lots of advice on how to get her stop...but I have found that just putting a barrier between her and her thumb is better than anything else out there, and it is so simple. I just put a large sock over her hand and pull it all the way up to her shoulder before putting her PJ's on. She does not like the feel of the sock in her mouth and therefore does not suck her thumb at night.

She also has her "hand sock" as she calls it at daycare so that she can use it at naptime there. So far we are having great success with this method, and we do not have to worry about chemicals and the like.

I'm sure if you start this early enough then your daughter will grow out of it a lot quicker.

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