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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Kelsie is excited to be a new Corpus Christi transplant. A born and bred Hoosier, Kelsie is finally realizing her lifelong dream of becoming a mermaid, or at least a beach bum, on the coast. Kelsie and her husband, Josh, have been married for five years and have two children. She is loving life as a new stay at home mom and is always looking for engaging and budget-friendly ways to play. In her free time, Kelsie can be found reading a good book or waltzing down the aisles of the dollar store looking for her next kids' DIY inspiration. Kelsie is a natural extrovert and lover of people and is making it her personal mission to "Raise Kind Humans". She knows the lyrics of far too many Disney songs and has been known to break into song and dance at random times.


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