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Weaning from Security Blanket/Thumb Sucking - sorry long post

(8 Posts)
Jools78 Thu 02-Dec-10 21:16:37

My Daughter (3 and a half) has had a security blanket (Mimi) since she was 1 and started at nursery for half a day a week - the staff asked me to provide a transitional object, and since then it has gone with her pretty much everywhere. She has also always been a thumb sucker, pretty much since birth. When she was 3 hours old, she was sucking her fist like mad.

It seems that the two have become connected, that she sucks her thumb when she has Mimi. I took her to the dentist last week, specifically asked her about her front two teeth which are 'over- jetting' ie the top two teeth as sticking out. Asked the dentist on a scale of 1-10 what the scale of her overjet was, she said 4 or 5 and that at 9 it starts to become a real problem.

I have since had a couple of conversations with DD about stopping thumb sucking. I've never done reward charts before, and have just successfully used a tiny one to help her to stop coming into our room at night (she was doing so 4 times a night just to be tucked up again, and with a DS who was also waking twice, I was exhausted...) Anyway, when I suggested a reward chart for stopping sucking thumb, she said if I did that then she would be nasty to her brother. So quickly stopped that tack.

She mostly sucks in the car, when she's falling asleep, when she's tired, or watching a DVD, listening to a story or at night when she's falling asleep and sometimes in sleep. I approximate about 30 mins-1 hour a day. It's by no means all the time.

I think the key to this may be to begin to restrict taking Mimi out and about, or her use at home. So, for example, not taking her to nursery or pre-school (she starts big school Sept 2011, and I wouldn't want her to take the blanket there, because she's get lost instantly!) so I need to wean her off it for pre-school/nursery anyway soon.

My instinct is to back off totally on the thumb sucking front, and not draw any attention to it. (She understands at a very basic level that it's bad for her teeth, and I'm concerned she's going to get a complex about them). Instead, to focus on leaving Mimi at home for nursery and pre-school and see how that goes.

Do any of you have any pearls of wisdom on broaching this one? Thanks in advance.

Jools78 Thu 02-Dec-10 21:38:49

Anyone out there?

ppeatfruit Fri 03-Dec-10 13:47:36

IME best to ignore both things unless she could be encouraged to push her thumb IN her mouth rather than PULL.

ppeatfruit Fri 03-Dec-10 13:50:45

If it's any consolation our DD1 sucked her thumb from 3months till 7 yrs. she has beautiful straight teeth with no probs.

Teleaddict Fri 03-Dec-10 13:58:25

As a 34 year old who still occasionally sucks her thumb - I'm afraid I don't have any tips! If it helps I don't remember my parents ever making a big deal of it when I was growing up but then it has never affected my teeth.

DancingThroughLife Fri 03-Dec-10 14:00:18

I can't offer any big advice from an adult's perspective, but I suppose my Mum could have written this post when I was little.

I think Mum started thumb and Flump training when I was 5 or 6. She tried everything to get me to stop sucking my thumb and none of it worked I'm afraid. If she's determined to suck her thumb I think she will no matter what. I had braces from the age of 7, and even they didn't stop me. I still suck my thumb now when I'm falling asleep.

I can totally understand your issue with Mimi. Go with your instinct and try leaving her at home - make Mimi a home comfort.

I'll check with my Mum to see what she did with me and pop back with her advice.

Good luck!

Mamaski Tue 07-Dec-10 16:57:51

The reason it is hard to stop thumb sucking with all the negative tools like bitter polish is because thumb sucking is such a comforting thing to a child and they will not want to give it up when you put bitter polish (which has chemicals in it) or shameful thumb guards on. Try the positive approach…there is a fun thing for children called “Thumbuddy To Love” and it comes with a thumb puppet/story book with special tips on how to use it. Teaches kids in a fun and positive way to let go of something so comforting. Worked for my kids. Here is the info: You can get it on Amazon or thumbuddytolove dot com.
The sooner the better because prolonged thumb sucking can lead to buck teeth.

Mamaski Tue 07-Dec-10 16:58:56

Thumbuddy To Love comes with a reward chart too...

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