As an infant my daughter cried all the time. I know babies cry, but with Mai it was nonstop. There was not much that would soothe her. She refused a pacifier, didn’t like her swing or take to her bouncy seat. Then one day she found that magic digit on her hand. JACKPOT! Let the self-soothing begin. The thumb in the mouth was an instant sign that she was tired, frustrated or did not feel well. My husband and I were both relieved when she found her thumb. As soon as she started to get cranky the thumb popped right in the mouth. It was magical.
Lately, I have been getting a little concerned about the continued thumb sucking. Mai has eczema. It is the worst on her hands and especially on her thumb. It is cracked and red and the skin on and around the area feels like leather. I slather her thumb in lanolin and also a mixture of oil and honey whenever I get a chance. I worry about her getting an infection. It looks so painful and she scratches at it all the time.
It is also worries me that she will have a problem weaning off of it. I know that it is not uncommon for a 2 year old to still suck her thumb, but as a girl that sucked her thumb far into elementary school, I am worried about my daughter following in my footsteps.
As a child, my mother tried everything to try to get me to stop. She wrapped my fingers and put bitters on my thumb. I tore off the bandages and would spit and wipe the bitters off or sometimes I would lick the bitters off and continue on as usual. Even the other kids in school teasing me did not stop me. I wanted to stop, but could not. I sometimes didn’t even realize I was doing it. It was so natural, it was like breathing.
So, how do I keep this from happening to my little girl?
They say to offer them something else to help comfort them such as an animal or blanket. She has a security blanket already and also stuffed animals that she cannot be without.
They say to distract her with another activity when she is doing something that typically is accompanied with her having to put her thumb in her mouth, but we are constantly doing things. She sucks her thumb the most at bed time or when we are reading, but I am not willing to give up books because it is something that triggers her habit.
Do I wait this out? Will my daughter’s eczema ridden thumb fall off? Should I worry about her teeth? My teeth turned out alright. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Please, mamas weigh in.
The word thumb was used 12 times in this post. Thumb! Make it 13.