We did not want to break her out of it suddenly or forcefully. Children suck thumb for a reason – it is their self-soothing mechanism. It is said that some babies start thumb sucking while in their mom’s womb itself. It gives them as much (and sometimes even more!) comfort than being soothed by their mom. When we go for a quick-fix (like suddenly applying highly bitter medicine on the thumb), we are being very insensitive to the baby’s needs. We did not want to traumatize my daughter while trying to get her away from her biggest comfort…we just wanted her to be secure enough not to need that comfort. So we decided to try and enlist her cooperation in this endeavor.
Step 3: Thumb-sucker repellent – We felt she was now emotionally ready for some heavy duty measures. We started applying ‘Femite’, a bitter tasting liquid, onto her fingers. We told her this was also a medicine. Since Sam loves the whole idea of ‘medicine’ she was very agreeable to it. When she forgot and occasionally tried to suck on her thumb, she was reminded of what she was doing because of the bitterness. All through this stage, we maintained that the bad taste was because of her thumb sucking and not because of the medicine. If we had applied this bitter liquid to a child who is a full-time addict, we would be causing her a lot of trauma. But by keeping this heavy measure for the last, we had already ensured that she had lost the addiction. All she needed was a reminder system to keep her on track. We only had to do this for about 5-6 days. Within that time she outgrew the habit completely.
Does your little one suck her thumb? How did you manage to get her out of that habit? I would love to know your tips. Please do mention them in the comments section. Thanks.