Weaning – Thumb Sucking

July 28, 2006 at 1:12 pm

I’m not sure if we will successfully wean Zara from thumb sucking entirely, but we’re making good progress since 2 weeks ago.

I didn’t want to force her to quit that habit initially, because :
~ I find her very cute sucking her thumb (esp when holding on to Mr Blue)
~ It’s a good way for her to comfort herself esp when she wakes up middle of the night from a bad dream

Then, she was hurting her thumb more and more with all the vigorous sucking, until 2 weeks ago there was actually a 0.5cm cut, which was bleeding a bit. She occasionally complained, “thumb pain pain”. So we thought, maybe it’s time she should stop.

We didn’t plaster her thumb, nor put bitter ointment on her thumb. We just ‘psycho’ her. We told her
~ she’s jie-jie now, it’s not nice to be sucking her thumb
~ to compare her left (which she doesn’t suck) with her right thumb, left one is so smooth and ‘nice’, and the right one is not nice and so rough
~ she’s hurting her thumb because she’s feeling the pain now, and if she continue sucking, her thumb may get broken and I’ll have to shelve her thumb in the cupboard like I did with one of the broken figurine we have in our house (to this, she wailed and cried. Bad mummy!).

We even told her if she shook hands with people, people will say, “oh, such a nice girl, how come your thumb not nice one?”. To which she replied, “Zara shake hand with this hand then (reaching her left hand out)”.

During nap time, and bed time, when she asked for her linen cloth, the breast pad or Mr Blue (all are her comfort objects which are her ‘companions’ during thumb sucking sessions), we reminded her, “Don’t suck thumb yeah. Thumb thumb after broken and pain pain yeah.” She would then said, “Zara hug hug only. No suck suck thumb.”

The first 2 days were tougher, esp during nap time, she would cry, knowing she cannot suck her thumb (but we didn’t refrain her physically, just told her she shouldn’t suck), she even asked me to ‘go upstairs’ (she naps downstairs) and didn’t want me to be next to her. The first time ever she rejected me, because I was the culprit who wanted her to quit.

The next 2 days, she still cried, but she would ask me to sing to her and pat pat her. She would sob, and then eventually drift off to sleep.

Then the following days, she got a bit cunning. She would ‘negotiate’ with us. “Zara eat sweet first.” or “Kakak give Zara choklat”, and then Zara no suck suck thumb.” And she did keep to her promise, after the sweet and chocolate, she would not fuss and go to sleep without the thumb.

In the night, it’s easier, because she’s with me during bed time. I’ll just remind her she shouldn’t suck her thumb, and that she’s promised us. I would hug her while she smells and twists the piece of linen, until she falls asleep.

We gave her lots of praises and encouragement. Praising her that she’s such a big girl, and a good girl, that she listens to us and not suck her thumb. Telling her her thumb is getting nicer and smoother (which is the truth) and no more painful. She would then ask all of us to kiss her thumb and then smile gleefully.

I notice she still sucks her thumb in the middle of the night, unconsciously. However, she used to suck on it for long period of time, but now it was just a few sucks here, and there, and she would pull out her thumb after that. Or when I pull it out, she would not place it back in her mouth like she used to (previously it was like a tug-of-war between the 2 of us).

We told her we would get her a present if she totally stop sucking her thumb. We asked her if she wanted a bicycle as she’s always admiring the bigger kids around our neighborhood riding one. She said, “Zara don’t want bicycle. Zara want paint paint only.” So that’s the deal, when she’s totally weaned off, we’ll bring out the new finger painting set I got Daddy to buy her from Changi Airport recently.

And here she is, finally able to fall asleep without sucking the thumb.

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