Do you have a thumb-sucking toddler, too?

In my 20th week ultrasound picture, I saw it: A thumb in my child’s mouth. It was cute then. It was, as my OB said, something that most babies do when discovering parts of their body in utero. When she was born, she didn’t suck her thumb, but by three months, she did. “It’s just her way of self-soothing,” said her pediatrician. “It’s natural and she’ll be done with it within a few months.

A few months came and went and my toddler was still sucking her thumb. I wasn’t worried, however, because I believed as my pediatrician told me that she would stop when she was ready. And because I thought my daughter and I were on the same page, I thought we’d be done by the time she was six months, or maybe 12 months, or… I’m not really sure. I just knew that our whole “thing” with her thumb would end soon.

But then six months came and went. And twelve months came and went. Then eighteen months came and went. Then twenty-four months came and went. And…she was still sucking her thumb. By two, she had practically all of her baby teeth, so I began to have some concerns about the effects of her thumb on her beautiful smile. And my concerns were validated at her first dentist appointment that came at twenty-six month.

“You’ve got to get her to stop,” said our dentist. She then proceeded to talk about jaw lines and some 40-year-old thumb-sucking patient that she once had who can no longer chew cheese. I was panicked, but calm when I asked, “But how?” To this she suggested hot sauce, tape, anything that could make her want to stop the habit. And if we don’t stop, she said in so many words, we would have a 40-year thumb sucker on our hands who would be unable to chew cheese.

If nothing else, I want my baby to grow up to chew cheese, so we must do something, right? So we need her to stop, but all the dentists’ suggested methods haven’t worked. Now, along with craving hot sauce, she likes to get taped thumbs for her “boo boos.”

So, what now?

Do you have a thumb-sucking toddler? Have you staged an “intervention” or do you plan to wait it out?