The Comforting Thumb

My daughter is four and a half years old, and sucks her thumb at night. She started the habit when she was one year old and she would do it the whole day, especially when she was bored. When she was three I got this nail polish that is used for people who bite their nails and it worked…she stopped sucking her thumb!!! But…in the last 6-8 months she sucks her thumb in the middle of the night and I have stopped sleeping. She still sleeps with me and my husband. I find it strange that she has no clue that she is doing it…Every time I tell her “You are sucking your thumb, stop it!” she replies “Mommy, I am not!” What can I do, please HELP!!! At 5 to 7 a.m. I find myself popping her thumb out of her mouth and I don’t sleep!!! Her teeth are really bad, and I have read that up to the age of 4 the child should stop sucking their thumb otherwise it will deform their teeth! I don’t know what else to do. I also want to make her start sleeping in her own room but I am afraid to do so because I won’t be around her to take her thumb out of her mouth!When my daughter was about the same age she did the same thing, and I believed what you believe. So I took her to the dentist so that he could have a little talk with her about what harm thumb-sucking could do to her teeth. And guess what? He said that it did no harm at all and it was fine to let her go on thumb-sucking. So I did. Thumb-sucking is a natural comforting behaviour of children and it apparently doesn’t deform the teeth. So you can allow yourself to sleep and allow her to suck; it’s okay. If you question this, talk to your own dentist.

Perhaps you could suggest to your daughter that when she turns five she will be old enough to sleep in her own room, and she may even be old enough to stop sucking her thumb all on her own. Buy her a night light so she won’t be in the dark when she sleeps.

Then give her a bedtime snack, brush her teeth, read her a story, let her begin to sleep on her own, and don’t worry about the thumb.

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