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Thumb sucking at 5.5 years old. Any thoughts?

(21 Posts)
Asleeponasunbeam Wed 11-Feb-15 20:07:47

DD has been an avid thumb sucker from the womb. As she's grown older, I've discouraged it when out - for safety reasons really (tripping, not concentrating on traffic etc). She doesn't do it when she's busy, says it helps her calm down and relax, says it makes her happy.

She's just started to be upset by one of her teachers telling her to stop - he tells her it's unhygienic (he's right!) and spreads germs. She says that other staff don't mention it and her friends don't mind.

I don't know how much, or how strongly, to discourage. She's a very sensitive child and obviously finds it comforting - it's a LOT better than her habit at 3 of having her other hand down her knickers at all times. Her teeth don't seem affected...yet.

She always sucks her thumb to fall asleep but it comes out once she's asleep.

Any thoughts or experiences? Thanks.

slithytove Wed 11-Feb-15 20:10:11

I did until I was 13 so personally I don't see a problem with it.
Don't really get the germ thing.
My teeth are fine too but I know anecdotal evidence doesnt mean much.

Asleeponasunbeam Wed 11-Feb-15 20:12:49

Thanks slithytove. Did you have to make an effort to stop at 13 or did it just happen? My mum sucked hers into her twenties, apparently.

Theselittlelightsofmine Wed 11-Feb-15 20:14:29

I was in my 20's and only stopped as my nails grew longer and dug into the roof of my mouth.

MrsBungle Wed 11-Feb-15 20:18:43

I sucked mine until I was around 10. I seemed to just grow out of it - eventually! My teeth are straight. It's a very hard habit to break.

Asleeponasunbeam Wed 11-Feb-15 20:20:28

I don't really know if I want to try to make her break it. She was quite upset about the teacher and also quite firm about why she wants to/ needs to suck it.

MrsBungle Wed 11-Feb-15 20:24:09

I remember my mum once "painting" my thumb with that stop n grow nail stuff. It didn't work, I sucked through the horrible taste til it went away! grin your dd is still young I'd leave it for now personally.

balancingfigure Wed 11-Feb-15 20:24:22

My dd stopped around that age but I felt, and she agreed, that it wasn't 'grown up' to do it at school. She was happy for us to remind her to stop during the day.

She continued in the car when tired and when going to sleep and I probably would have left that but her new teeth were being effected so in the end we used some nail biting stuff at night. Again she wanted to stop but couldn't help what she did in her sleep!

mrsminiverscharlady Wed 11-Feb-15 20:26:57

My friend's Oxbridge-lecturer sucks his thumb. No, he's not a child prodigy, he's in his 40s. Fairly pointless anecdote, sorry grin

Asleeponasunbeam Wed 11-Feb-15 20:28:30

I like the anecdotes, thanks. I've never been bothered by it really. I'm a bit stumped by this teacher thing though.

fairgame Wed 11-Feb-15 20:30:43

I stopped at 11 when i started secondary school. I stopped without even realising tbh. I think there was so much going on that there were plenty of distractions. It messed my 2 top front teeth up though and i had to have a brace in my teens to straighten them up.
You can get a device now call thumb guard which is supposed to help kids stop sucking but it looks a bit brutal.

themummyonthebus Wed 11-Feb-15 20:44:47

I sucked mine until I was 15. I didn't do it at school ever, I don't think, but would whenever I was sitting quietly at home or in the car. I did need braces and I also hooked my index finger over my nose so my nose was squewiff until my late 20s

I think I just realised how ridiculous it was one day and just stopped. I would leave her for now but maybe encourage her to keep it for home and private times. I do remember finding it enormously comforting so I definitely wouldn't be trying anything too radical to get her to stop.

slithytove Thu 12-Feb-15 11:52:10

Apparently from early weaning.

tumbletumble Thu 12-Feb-15 11:54:52

My DD is 7 and still sucks hers. I was around her age when I gave up because the dentist told me it was affecting my teeth. But her dentist has already told her that, and it hasn't worked! Like you, I feel mean trying to make her stop when it's such a comfort to her.

slithytove Thu 12-Feb-15 12:25:47

Whoops a post disappeared there. I stopped of my own accord but I have an oral fixation apparently from early weaning, so I was a thumb sucker, nail biter, smoker etc.

All stopped now.

whyareallthegoodnicknamestaken Thu 12-Feb-15 22:26:50

My younger sister sucked her thumb from birth and literally never had it out of her mouth until she was probably about 10. She has perfect teeth and did eventually grow out of it (although I have caught her with her thumb in her mouth while asleep and she's in her 20's grin)

MissWimpyDimple Thu 12-Feb-15 22:35:25

Mine did avidly, but then gave up almost overnight on turning 8! grin

MoreCrackThanHarlem Thu 12-Feb-15 22:40:01

My dd is 14 and still sucks her thumb. Only ever in private!
Her teeth are fine.
She never did it at school though. She twiddled the bottom of her hair for comfort instead.
I don't see it as a problem but I would discourage her from doing it at school for social reasons, other children can be unkind.

Berrie Thu 12-Feb-15 22:55:45

Been sucking my thumb a lot this week. Am 43 .worried a lot about teeth as a child due to dire warnings but they are finegrin
Am also a teacher and the only personal habit I sometimes comment on (reluctantly) is persistent and uninhibited nose picking and then only in a nice way as in perhaps you'd like to get a tissue Tommy?

Asleeponasunbeam Fri 13-Feb-15 06:22:51

Thanks. I'm happier just leaving it, especially after these stories.

She did say last night that she'd 'practised' not sucking it at schiol yesterday and thought she did quite well, so if she wants to stop I'm sure she will.

LittleLionMansMummy Fri 13-Feb-15 08:49:18

I was in my 20s when i gave up and still have a crafty suck when alone and very tired

I have the best teeth in my family and have never needed braces.

Ds is a label sucker. He's 4. He has his teddies (a selection with disgusting looking labels) when he's watching TV or going to sleep. He doesn't have them when out and about and won't be taking them to school when he starts. But i realise it's more difficult with a thumb that's always readily available! I think she'll gradually choose to only suck it at home with no intervention.

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