Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Our Finger Sucking Journey

Our Finger Sucking Journey

To start our journey of finger sucking I am going to start from the very beginning.  When our oldest daughter was born my husband decided NO binkies were allowed.  I didn't question this decision he has a son and I figured he knew something I didn't.   At 4 months old on the very same day I pierced my daughters ears she started sucking her 2 middle fingers.  At the time this was cute, adorable even.  This habit was her way of soothing herself. 

As with any kids or at least from my experience I didn't think too much of her habit.  At the age of 4 I started worrying that she was a little old to still have this terrible habit.  I asked her pediatrician about the habit.  Her pediatrician didn't seem to think it was a problem and kept telling me that because it was her fingers and not her thumb there wouldn't be any damage to her mouth.  She also told me that when she started school she would stop on her own.  As she started attending school the finger sucking did not stop, we worried about her getting teased or criticized.  I personally was criticized by other mom's because I have allowed it to continue.  If only it was that easy!  Those of you reading this I am sure know what I am talking about.

She is 7 now, our goal for this year was to get her to stop by her 8th birthday.  This winter was when the straw broke the camels back.  It has been a bad winter with lots of colds, flu's and allergies.  We had the same flu circle our house for about 4 weeks.  That is when I put my foot down.  I don't know if this is what really happened but it seemed like she was sharing this flu around because of the bacteria she was spreading from her fingers. 

We have tried ever trick we could find such as  making her wear a glove, fingernail polish, rewarding her, reminding her that her hand is in her mouth, putting a splint on her finger. We tried taping her 2 fingers together. We even tried getting frustrated with her. I was on the verge of asking a doctor to put a cast on her hand.

Everyone of these methods was a Big Failure
Being at the end of my rope with how to help I asked a different pediatrician (he recommended the Nasty polish) and I also got on the Internet to search any other options we hadn't tried. The NASTY fingernail polish (mivala) was the only thing we haven't tried. I started reading the reviews and was getting the feeling in your stomach of nervousness to use this. I was feeling like it was abuse. To me it was like putting her hand in poop. With that uneasy feeling I got creative and wondered if putting fake fingernails on her hands would work. I went to a salon and they said they wouldn't put acrylic fingernails on her they said she was too young. Dang it another idea gone. Then I thought what about the fingernails you put on yourself. I took her to the store and let her pick out the style of nails she wanted.  I figured if I made it look fun they we might be successful. She had so much fun picking out her nails and then spending the time to put them on. We went home and put the nails on. 

**Note**  The first nails we bought were press on nails.  We bought the nail glue as well but let me tell you from trial and error.  Don't put nail glue over the top of the press on nail glue.  If you can only find small enough nails in press on use alcohol to get the glue off first.   I did however find petite nails at Target these work perfectly for my daughter they were even short so they looked like real nails.  

As an update we put the fake nails on March 20, 2011 and here it is March 30, 2011 and she has not sucked her fingers since I put them on.

I will be honest the first night was the most difficult and heartbreaking.  She went into anxiety and kept asking me how am I going to get to sleep.  Night was always the worst for her finger sucking.  I suggested for her to rub her ear since that was also a smoother with her fingers.  I also asked if she could think of anything else that would help.  For a last resort we had a baby doll's binkie, she put this in her mouth but I think it was more of a joke.  The next morning I praised her she had successfully made it the first night. 

On a better note; I asked her at about 5 days in what she was doing at night to help her sleep.  She answered with the sweetest voice, "I prayed for help to be able to sleep."  She melted my heart.  I will continue to keep everyone updated on our success as we journey Amber a mom-stuff mom

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