The End of Thumb-sucking Didn’t Suck


Before my daughter was born, I bought all of the pacifiers and swore that I would do whatever I could to make her a “paci baby” instead of a “thumb-sucking baby”. My reason? You can take away a paci, but you can’t take away a thumb. So, it’s only fitting that after 6 weeks of nearly inconsolable crying, she “found” her thumb. 3 years later, she could still be found with her thumb in her mouth any time she was tired, sad, or just bored. After noticing some movement in her teeth, I consulted with her dentist, who confirmed an overbite due to thumbsucking. Her dentist also suggested we give bitter nail polish a try to kick her habit, but told me not to stress if we were unsuccessful.



I prepped for night 1 for almost a week because lets be honest, I was more scared than my daughter. I didn’t want to “pull the band-aid off” and I didn’t want her to feel betrayed, but I knew we needed to make an attempt to stop.

Approaching The End, I was very honest with her. but I also made it fun (read: I bribed her with everything I had). I told her that we were going to use “yucky nail polish” that would make her thumb taste bad and explained that we were going to try to stop sucking her thumb because we wanted her teeth to stay healthy and strong. We picked out a nail polish at home and we painted each other’s nails, adding yucky nail polish at the end. And, for good measure, I bribed even more. I told her that we could go to Target to buy a new stuffed toy, nail polish, and cake pop if she did well with the yucky polish.

I’d better knock on wood here, but I haven’t seen her thumb-sucking since NIGHT ONE. Every week or so, we paint her nails with a new, fun, nail polish and top it off with her “yucky polish” and every night, she snuggles her new stuffed toy in lieu of thumbsucking. She will occasionally ask for her yucky polish. For a few nights, she even reminded me (and possibly herself) “mom, I’m a big kid now. So I’m not going to suck my thumb.” Insert mom tears.

I had dreaded The End since she popped her thumb in her mouth at 6 weeks old and I was pleasantly surprised at how well she handled it!  No tears and no hard battles, but a little bit of bribery (look, nobody is perfect, okay?)

What are your best tips for giving up thumb-sucking or pacifiers?

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  1. Kel’s
    I remember not being able to take someone’s thumb away. I have tried in every way that I can possibly think of to apologize for the things I said when I was in such a dark part of my life. Losing my wife of almost twenty-six years, then losing you before I had said those cruel things to you. I can never take those things back, if I could I would. So, I’m just trying yet the only other medium I have found, in hopes that you will read this. If you were wanting me to hurt just like you were when I said so many cruel things, trust me when I say I have hurt and mourned, not just once but each and every day. Just like you relive the pain of losing my first grand child. I relive the pain of losing my only daughter, my princess, my world. As well as never meeting my second or third grandchildren, hearing of their biths third hand via Facebook. Seeing someone else taughting themselves as “Po-Paw” for the grandchild I didn’t even know was born at the time. I’m not making excuses, just trying to explain how the circumstances might have caused even a sane man do do things he would regret. I’ve tried to let go inorder to help ease the pain but it will please you to know that it never eases, if anything it only grows stringer each day. I just want you to know that I love you and hope you all the happiness, peace and love that your heart can hold. If the babies ever wonder, they can rest assured that all though I will never hold them and tell them, I love them with all of my heart, just like I love you. May you and your family be continually be blessed with peace and love your hearts desire.

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