How my daughter stopped "lip-sucking".

Before I became a mum I always thought children with habits like thumb sucking, lip sucking, and co. were just spoilt kids but now I know better.

Kids pick up such habits for several reasons like to moisten their dry lips, to relieve themselves of some form of mental stress or the other. There are also some psychological theories that back up the fact that its a fundamental part of child development and it's not a problem.
Whatever the reason, it's quite embarrassing when your toddler is all dressed up for an outing with you and pulls up his/her clothing in public to fondle with his belly button while seriously sucking on his/her lower lip. Oh dear!
Toddlers get so addicted to this habit that they do it even in their sleep (mine did it like her life depended on it).

I felt this way a couple of times and I couldn't take it anymore!
Child development or not, this habit had to stop!
I did a lot of research and was discouraged as most articles took me back the fact that it's an integral part of child development and kids would outgrow it.
I wasn't going to leave it to chance or wait for her to outgrow it! What if she does it till she is a teenager?!
I tried several other methods.

Plaster on the lip? She just closed her eyes and peeled it off once! jeez! now she likes to play with adhesive tapes because she thinks peeling it off is cool.
Bitter leaf? She sucked the lip like bitter was the new definition of sweet.
Spanking? I initially thought spanking would work but she was too cute to be spanked too often so obviously that couldn't work.
Talking to her? After several attempts, it became a song...Here is a typical dialogue
Me: Stacey is it good to suck?
Stacey: Noooo
Me: So stop sucking.
Stacey: She smiles and says "Okay"...then she releases the lip and takes it back in a few seconds later.
Funny picture? Hubby found a funny picture that seemed to work because it made her
Me: Stacey do you want to look like uncle?
Stacey: Nooo Mummy Uncle is not
Me: If you don't want to look like uncle stop sucking.
Stacey: Okay....she's back at it a few seconds later. 
Forceful Removal? This seemed like it was going to work but then I realized that once she sees me coming close she would hide her face or cover her mouth with her hands (like I couldn't see her).

After several thoughts back and forth I found a way out!
First, I decided to pray about it...after all 1 John 5:14 says "Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us." 
Secondly, I noticed that the two actions were largely dependent on each other that is she couldn't suck her lip without playing with her belly button and vice versa. That was it!
This meant that if I prevent one action it affects the other so I had to come up with a way to prevent one.

You wouldn't believe what I did.
I shopped for swimsuits and started by making that her nightie/pajamas. It was my duty to wake her up to pee in the middle of the night anyway so I had to sacrifice the extra minutes to get her out of the swimsuit and back on again (losing the extra minutes of sleep wasn't a big deal)
She would struggle with it in the middle of the night and sometimes even cry but I wasn't moved. I had to be consistent to get results.
Slowly but surely it got better! She started to sleep well but then we still had to deal with it during the day.
I resulted to the same method, swimsuits and shorts became her playsuits during the day so she couldn't access the belly button.
This became our "lifestyle", I was super consistent and in about 2 months we were almost there.
Another month passed and I stopped wearing the swimsuits because she had started to use the toilet on her own (with supervision though).

Now I can confidently say we are 98% there!! yay!!! 

Consistency is key! Whatever method you choose to help your toddler get over a bad habit, please be consistent with it or your toddler will get confused and it might get worse.

Dear Mums, please share your experiences in the comment section below and follow Ladiesphere on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Thank you 😘


  1. Nice ỌdΓΊn. I'm curious, my daughter sucks her lower lip and instead of the belly button, she uses her hair. I tried to make her flat plaits that won't have lengths, but she finds a way to pull some out. What can I do? Wear her swim hats? That's just a joke..... πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

    1. Thank you Aronke....Swim am sure we can come up with a creative way to help her stop. Could be sticking to hairstyles that keep the hair completely out of reach.....the picture might also

  2. Awwwww... Stacey is blessed with a Super Mum!!! Nice one sis πŸ‘Œ

    1. Hahahahaha!!!!! I remember all the struggles to stop this lip-sucking! Kudos Sisto! Madam consistency! I am right behind you!

  3. Lovely write up!i can totally relate. Consistency like you mentioned is paramount in everything. Not only habits we want to stop.

  4. Hello Mamas,
    I have a lower lip sucking 14 month old and I've tried all the ideas above to stop it. I'm flicking his lower lip now but I can't really be consistent with that as I feel sorry for him when he cries so much. His sucking is not dependent on any other action. I've searched the internet over and over, which is why I stumbled on this post. Please, help!


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