How Baby B Stopped Sucking Her Thumb

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Categories Parenting

My Baby B started sucking her thumb when she was about four months old, about the time she voluntarily gave up her pacifier.  I would pull her thumb out of her mouth from time to time, but I didn’t worry too much about it.  By her first birthday, she was only sucking her thumb while she slept, but she was very passionate about it.

Around the girls’ third birthday, we started talking with B about her thumb.  I knew she’d need to break the habit at some point, but I wasn’t quite sure how to go about it.  I’d seen pictures of braces people put on their children’s thumbs, and I knew of the foul-tasting nail polish, but I was hoping we wouldn’t have to go either of those routes.

We decided not to push things with B.  We occasionally would compare her healthy left thumb to her gnarled right thumb, and encourage her – in a light-hearted way — to give her poor thumb a rest.

Over time B agreed she wanted to quit, and she tried really, really hard.  She would go to bed with her hand under her pillow, or wrapped inside her blanket.  “I’m not going to use my thumb tonight!” she’d vow…but when I would check on her after she’d gone to sleep, she’d be sucking her thumb.

I knew B’s thumb sucking habit was one she couldn’t control once she was deep in sleep.  On a whim, I asked B one night if she’d like to wear a sock on her hand to remind her not to suck her thumb.  She was giddy with excitement, and she was so proud to go to bed sporting a bright purple sock.

I had read one time that it takes 21 days to break a habit, so in my mind, I thought I’d encourage her to wear her sock for a month.  A month later, B hadn’t sucked her thumb once.  Like with potty-training, once she was ready, the process was quite simple.

But…B became very attached to her sock.  She only wore it for sleeping, but before each nap and nighttime, it was like she was being reunited with a long, lost friend.  The girls have never had a lovey, but B’s affection for her sock was pretty close.

This June marked one year of B’s sock habit.  Occasionally I’d ask her if she wanted to retire her sock, and she would always say, “NO!  I LOVE my sock!!!

A week or so ago, though, out of the blue, B told me she wanted to sleep without her sock.  She gave it a hug and a kiss and left it on my nightstand for safekeeping.

Over the next few days, she would shower her sock with affection before and after bed.  She even pretended to host a birthday party for her sock one day.

Those affections were pretty short-lived, though.  The sock is still hanging out on my nightstand (not necessarily because B wants it there, but – truthfully – because I haven’t tidied up in a week).  B hasn’t mentioned it, though.

It’s time I move B’s sock from my nightstand into her baby book.  It served us well!

MandyE is mom to 4 ½-year old fraternal twin girls, A and B, who between them have four pristine thumbs.  She writes about their adventures at Twin Trials and Triumphs.

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MandyE

MandyE is the mother of 4 ½-year old fraternal twin girls, Baby A and Baby B. (And yes, their names actually start with the letters A and B!) She worked in the marketing field for nine years before her girls were born, but these days she’s relishing the opportunity to be a SAHM, which she plans to continue until the girls start kindergarten. MandyE has been blogging at Twin Trials and Triumphs since her girls were a year old. Between her blog and her local Mothers of Multiples group, she considers the multiples community a huge part of her support system.

3 thoughts on “How Baby B Stopped Sucking Her Thumb”

  1. “Like with potty-training, once she was ready, the process was quite simple.” <- SO true about potty training Such a sweet story. I keep thinking that my J will eventually be ready to give up her beloved Blankie, but 7+ years in, Blankie’s still firmly ensconced in her heart and bed.

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