Our dear Sadie started sucking her thumb as an infant. I must say, it was really a joyous occasion when she did. We weren't thinking about years down the road when her front teeth might become misaligned or that there was always the chance she'd still be sucking her thumb at age 17. We were thinking about how lovely it was that she could soothe herself to sleep. And, soothe herself to sleep she did- when I laid her down for naps, at nighttime and in the middle of the night when she woke up but wasn't really hungry yet.
That thumb has served her well. She used it when she cuddled, was scared or sad or tired. It was also sometimes a problem. Like when we tried to take her picture, sometimes that thumb did not wish to come out. Or, when we wanted her to say hello to someone, or say thank you. Or, when she was playing with baby sister, Miriam. Miriam wanted to see her face, not her hand covering up half of it.
We then noticed some, let's say, protrusion of her two front teeth. And, we were concerned that with it being cold and flu season, popping your thumb in your mouth in the middle of Target may not be the best idea. And then there was the whole issue of her almost being four and our worries that the older she got, the harder it may be for her to stop.
We needed to take action.
We talked with her about it, explaining that we didn't want her teeth to get crooked or her to get sick, and she agreed to let us help her stop sucking her thumb. Although, she did then say, "But, I suck my thumb at night, right?" Dear Sadie. We also told her that if she was able to stop for a couple weeks, we would buy her some pink nail polish. Pink is her favorite color. She has never owned nail polish before (and has only worn it two times).
This summer we had the pleasure of having my cousin and her family in town for a couple days. They have a sweet little girl Sadie's age who also sucked her thumb until this past year using Mavala Stop. My cousin has a master's degree in nursing and her husband is an emergency room doctor. If they used it and felt it was safe, so would we.
It took Sadie two days to stop. There were no tears. There were many curled-up and grimacing faces as Sadie unconsciously popped that thumb in from time to time and got a taste of the nasty stuff. It is nasty. I didn't try it, but Jamey did. Bitter and lingering. It's been three weeks and we still apply the polish every couple days, just to make sure there's no relapse. A couple days ago, Sadie was tired and hungry and fussy. She said to me, "I really wish I could suck my thumb." I told her I understood and praised her once again for being such a big girl. Her face beamed. She LOVES being told we are proud of her and I'm not sure she really understands the meaning of the word.
She loves her pink fingernails, though.
A word of warning...It was really helpful for me to read some of the countless customer reviews on Amazon.com. Some parents suggested only painting the tip of the nails because the polish is so potent. That's what we did and it worked fine. The other thing I noted from those reviews is that if your child has a weak gag reflex, the taste may make them vomit. Thankfully, my children do not, so I knew this wouldn't be an issue for Sadie and it wasn't. You could always try just a speck of the polish if that was a concern.
Also of note, Mavala Stop did not ask me to write this review. We just thought it worked so well, we wanted to spread the word.