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Weaning – Thumb Sucking July 28, 2006

Posted by Zara's Mama in development, language, Zara.

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.


1. blurblur - July 28, 2006

Awww…Zara is such a sensible girl! She’s full of determination huh..i’m sure very soon, she’ll be able to get her hands on the new finger painting set! Way to go, Zara! 🙂

She look so adorable in the last pic…feel like kissing her..hehe..;)

2. Egghead - July 28, 2006

I like her sucking her thumb!! slowly wean yeah? 😛

3. mom2ashley - July 28, 2006

oh congrats!
ashley doesn’t like to hold onto anything else except my hair when she sucks her thumb…

4. ryeli - July 28, 2006

wow, she’s such a good girl! and u’re doing a good job trying to get her off sucking her thumb…will come back to this blog when i need to wean rye li off her thumb! see, i still believe that reasoning is the best way to go. hopefully, i’ll be patient enough when that time comes. 😉

5. ~Love.Joy.Life~ - July 28, 2006

Such a sweet girl~
And, i like the way you communicate with you gil 🙂

6. geetha - July 28, 2006

LOL! Shake hands with the other hand.. clever 🙂
She’s getting there.. good.
I cannot reason things out with lil’ President.. too young to understand *sigh*

7. IMMomsDaughter - July 28, 2006

Awww…..so sweet the pix of her sleeping. My heart goes out to her for trying so hard, knowing she cannot suck but want to do it at the same time. If I hear my girl sobbing like that, I sure give in 😦

8. Jesslyn - July 28, 2006

congratulations to u & zara….

today I MUST ask wien to stop suck lor! i will show her zara’s pic too!

9. khongfamily - July 28, 2006

Congrats! You are very good at teaching your kid.

10. kwloong - July 28, 2006

Yahooo…Zara did it! *clap clap*


11. Zara's Mama - July 28, 2006

Yeah, we were surprised she could help herself wean off without us using any other ‘technique’.

Looks cute hor? I let her do at her own pace ler.

You should show us a shot of how she looks doing that. 😛

See you soon yeah.. 😛

Thanks. : )

Didn’t know she was able to ‘think’ that way.
If reasoning doesn’t work, then I guess we’ll have to use ‘physical method’. Hope one day he’ll understand that and you don’t have to use the physical method.

I almost gave in as well, but the wound on her thumb was getting really bad, as though the thumb was going to fall off.. So have to refrain from giving in.

Good luck to Wien. Tell us the progress.

Khong Family,
*blush* thanks.

All her effort.
*clap clap*

12. shoppingmum - July 29, 2006

Congratulations!!! You make it sound so easy. My boy still sucks even if it’s bleeding, sigh!

13. 1+2mum - July 29, 2006

Congratulation to you and Zara!!!Good gal!!! Luckily all my kids didnt have this habit, if not sure make me big head liao. My twins wean off their pacifier went they just 9 months old. My son dun like pacifire so no need wean off. If i saw they put their finger into their mouth i will get it off, so they dun have this habit since they so young.

14. Vien - July 29, 2006

She’s smart to use the art of negotiation..hehe. Kids love positive reinforcement and you’re doing a darn good job on it! 🙂

15. Gene Lim - July 29, 2006

coolie gal! so young know how to bargain liao huh..ekekkekee 😉

16. sesame - July 29, 2006

Her answers show she’s very clever for her age. Know how to say to offer the other hand for handshake. And even know how to negotiate and keep to promises! I’m impressed.

17. angelineweess - July 29, 2006

She looks sooooooo cute when sucking her thumb,she reminds me of myself when i was young, sucking thumb,but i was not clever enough to weaning myself off i had to be told over and over again!! My parents have to use the old trick of putting “Minyak Kapak” on the thumb and also wrap the thumb up etc..hahaha.
GO ZARA!! She’s soooo cute.. 😉

18. earthember - July 29, 2006

Your method of educating is working. It’s wonderful that she’s obeying too. Keep it up! We definitely don’t want a cute baby with a broken thumb. 😦

19. Zara's Mama - July 29, 2006

Actually it’s not so easy.. because there were a lot of crying, negotiation, motivations, bluffing involved. 😦
If you use the minyak angin or bandage method, should be able to wean off in a week’s time.

Hey, lucky you huh?

Yes, I was surprised she knows how to ‘negotiate’ at this age. And yes, they really love to be praised.

Some of the things she says and do really amazes me. I don’t know if she’s smart or she learns it from TV or it’s just our ‘conditioning’.

Yeah, I really like to see her sucking her thumb. So you mum had to use the minyak angin approach huh? Spicy?

I thought she would just do it for a few days and was surprised she actually try as hard as we do. Haha.

20. Sue - July 29, 2006

Well done! Most kids like to be praised when they’ve done well, that’s the method I like to use with Ivan too. And it works!

21. See Fei - July 29, 2006

there are enough tips here to write a 36-strategem book on parenting…

22. Samm - July 29, 2006

“Praise”…. a term so lacking in the chinese child upbringing culture. Almost a no-no….. sked “jarn-wai-sai” (spoil).

But kids need praise and encouragement to excel in their learning process. I dont skimp on praises whenever Gordon does things correctly.

Pile on those praises…. yessss. Thumbs up to lil Zara

23. 13th Panda - July 29, 2006

hi there,

ur little zara a very pandai girl la..

Knows how 2 negotiate kok..


24. jazzmint - July 30, 2006

wow so nice…it’s really good that she understands alot of things, makes things easier to manage for u. We’re still trying to psycho Faythe on her pacifier, but so far we didn’t wanna overdo it till probably she’s 2yr old and understands more.

Bravo to Zara

25. Cocka Doodle - July 30, 2006

Its more hygienic to let them suck a teat rather than their thumbs if kids have the urge to suck something.
Don’t worry, you can’t be doting on them forever. Little girls will grow up to be big girls …and
big girls will want to suck other things. Muahahahaha!!!!

26. 荦怡 - July 30, 2006

Good job Zara! soon you will get your new paint!
Your mmy Teach u so well that your such a sensible girl……so understanding…
much learn from Zara’s mom.


27. Hui Sia - July 30, 2006

Sweet before bedtime seems not good lol!

Last time Jo sucked until we brought him to paed for binded his thumb up as his thumb has pus came out after a bad sucking.

28. Simple American - July 31, 2006

Well done ZM. I was lucky with both of my kids. Neither were attached to their thumbs.

Sleeping angle is so cute.

29. Sabrina - July 31, 2006

Zara is such a good girl. Keith never pick up the habit of sucking thumb nor pacifier. I guess he prefers the original one (my breast)hehe…Only once in a while he will try to suck his finger. He’ll stop when I tell him to do so.

30. WMD: Wife, Mother, Daughter - July 31, 2006

Very positive and encouraging approach in getting her to wean off sucking thumb. Perhaps I should try that on my other son. He does not suck thumb but love to put his index finger into the mouth and the next thing is this loud “wekk” sound. Yeah…so syiok putting in the finger until want to vomit.

31. Helen - July 31, 2006

You’re definitely good with kids! 🙂 You’re right, patience and common sense work best. Call me prejudice, I seriously believe girls are whole much more easier to care for than boys… lol

Even when they grow up!

32. mumsgather - July 31, 2006

Tough huh? And you’ll miss those cute moments but luckily you’ve got them all recorded in these lovely photos. Lucky for me I don’t have to wean my kids off any pacifiers, thumbs or bottles accept me. 😛

33. Contented Mum - July 31, 2006

So good huh, no need all the physical method, just reason with her and she comply! What a good girl Zara is!

34. Contented Mum - July 31, 2006

So good huh, no need all the physical method, just reason with her and she comply! What a good girl Zara is!

35. Kittycat - July 31, 2006

Hi! Congrats to you and Zara for weaning off the thumb-sucking. Both of you deserve praise coz it’s tough (esp since she’s such a smart girl). Glad to see it’s a happy success for both Mum and her.Will remember this when I need to wean my Lucas off the pacifier later…

36. matrianklw - July 31, 2006

Hi, Zara’s mum! I just dicovered your blog and I had a great time reading all your posts about the super cute Zara! It really moves me that nowadays, parents can even set up a blog to track the progress of their children! Last time, it was just black and white photos that told the stories. I wonder what she’s gonna say when she grows up and have her whole childhood recorded in a blog! I know I’d jump! Well, nice to see such a loving mum! I’ll visit often to read all those really cute posts and pictures!!


37. LaundryAmah - August 1, 2006

Oh gosh, my daughter (14 months) sucks her thumb whenever she holds her comfort bolster (only when holding on to the little piggy hanging on the bolster). I do agree that the thumb sucking is good especially when she wakes up in the middle of the night,,it kinda help comforts her back to sleep. I want to wean her off maybe by 2years?? Wish me all the best!

38. chanelwong - August 1, 2006

At last you managed to get rid of the habit…Bravo…Zara big girl already

39. Ricket - August 1, 2006

At least you got the patience to talk to her. I used the bitter oiment on my elder daughter, although she stopped sucking the thumb, but she started to suck the pillow corner.

40. domestic rat - August 1, 2006

This is all too familiar. My sis was a perpetual thumb sucker. Somehow she just grew out of it, just like she grew out of her smelly bolster.

41. Zara's Mama - August 2, 2006

I guess most people like to be praised, even adults. 😛

See Fei,
Haha.. you think so?

Yeah, our time, where got praising, only caning. 😦

13th panda,
Starting young. Hope this ‘skill’ won’t give mummy headache in future.

Hey, I heard psychoing a kid to wean off pacifier is easier, like tell them the pacifier is lost, or ask her to exchange for a toy in the shop etc.
Good luck to you. 🙂

Yes, big girls like to suck on lollies, but bad boys always think otherwise.

荦怡 mummy,
Thank you. My mummy also always say I’m a good girl, although sometimes a bit yai-yai (Cantonese : naughty).

Hui Sia,
It’s before nap time.. I know it’s not good too, but we try to get her to drink some water to rinse her mouth before she naps.
Aiyo, Jo sucked so hard huh? Poor thing. Now weaned off already?

Simple American,
That’s easy for you!
How’s your cruise?

That’s good huh? I don’t know how come some kids are not hooked on any of these habit.
I offered the breast to Zara too when she was younger, still, some how, in the middle of the night, she preferred her thumb.

Your son is just playing with the index finger right? It’s not like he’s hooked?
Sometimes Zara choked herself too, with her thumb sucking..
They are so cute, don’t know how to ‘control’ 😛

Hey, I believe it as well, girls are more sensible and ‘kuai’ (that’s why I’m a wee bit worried now what if I’m pregnant with a boy!). The whole parenting approach that I used on Zara may have to change. *bite fingers*

Haha.. good luck with you helping your boy to wean off you. 😛
Contented mum,
Yeah, I was glad really that she accepted our approach. 😛

Thank you.
Baby Lucas is so cute.

Thanks.. I hope she gets to read this blog one day as well, and appreciate the things we did. 🙂

All the best to you. Your girl is such a cutie! Hope she’ll be easy to wean off.

Yes.. but she’s still sucking her thumb when she’s in deep sleep though.. so I won’t say we’re 100% successful yet, but getting there.

Oh my.. changed to suck the pillow corner? Luckily Zara didn’t, she just keep smelling and sniffing her comfort objects.

Domestic Rat,
Hmm.. when did your sis eventually weaned off thumb sucking? I was worried Zara would still be sucking her thumb when she’s school going.

42. Mother Superior - August 2, 2006

That’s pretty good effort, ZMM. I couldn’t wean Grace off till the year she turned SIX! Whew, it was one long task. And yes, her thumb had a boil and may cuts before. She’s good now.

43. Flowsnow - August 6, 2006

I couldn’t resist adding on this topic as I am one mother who objects on `thumb sucking’. Simply because I was a `tumb sucker’ who never got rid of the bad habit till very very very very old (too embarassed to tell you the age! You will flip). I was so old that I even `tied’ my own little cloth bandage on both thumbs to prevent my addiction to the thumb. As you can see even my thumbs as like `extra long and slim’ because of the sucking event which shaped it to be that! So the soothing to bed for both my kids were `zlich’ and I just tolerated their whining through the night. Zara, all hats up to you for your excellent job to `psycho’ her. Amazing she has the ability to do it herself at this age! She is one obedient gal!

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