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Mothering › Groups › August 2011 Birth Club › Discussions › Thumb sucking vs. pacifiers

Thumb sucking vs. pacifiers

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I don't really like pacifiers and we never gave DS1 a pacifier. He seldom needed soothing that I couldn't provide, save a couple early car rides.It's nice not to have to take the pacifier away from him or ween him from it. Gabriel is BIG into his thumb and people keep telling me that it will be bad when his teeth start coming in, etc. I'm thinking it won't be any worse than a pacifier. Besides, it's not like I can take his thumb away from him. ;-) I figure he'll quit sucking his thumb eventually, just like he'll someday want to sleep in his own bed and he'll wean from the breast naturally.


Any thoughts?

post #2 of 9

My boys won't  take paci's at all.  Alexander has found his thumb and will suck on it from time to time.  I agree, they'll stop eventually.  I'm not really worried about it.

post #3 of 9

I think thumb sucking is fine. It's their thumb. I'd certainly chose that over a pacifier.

In a parenting book I have, Magda Gerber says that the difference between a pacifier and thumb sucking is power - with a pacifier, the parent is control of it. With a thumb, the child is. Personally, I vote that he choses.

We do have pacifiers, and he does like them sometimes. I always just offer, though, rubbing his lips. If he pulls it to his mouth, cool! If not, okay. And if he pushes it out I just offer again to see if he actually still wants it. His the boss on that one. Mostly it's for cars when I can't offer a boob or pick him up. Extremely rare that I even remember they exist these days now that he can suck his thumb and play with toys. :)


If people fret at me about it, I just tell them that if he needs comfort, he needs comfort. Why on earth would I take that away from him?



post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

I secretly think the thumb sucking is cute. My gut says I'd prefer his thumb over a pacifier, but people have been giving me a hard time about it. You're absolutely right, Becky, it's his thumb. Thanks for the perspective, ladies. :-)


post #5 of 9

I dont' worry about the finger sucking at all.  Most kids outgrow it in their own time. 


We use the paci a lot, admittedly, but again, not worried.  If we have trouble weaning him off it in the future we'll deal with it then.


Becky, i really like that control/power stuff.  That makes so much sense.

post #6 of 9

We use a paci and I really struggled with giving one to Ada but she REALLY, REALLY wanted to suck and I had REALLY, REALLY sore nipples and needed a break.  As she's gotten a little older, she wants the paci less...she only wants it when she's tired.  If I have ever given it to her and she didn't want it, she simply spits it out and then I've gotten the message.


I was a thumb sucker and one of my brothers was a thumb sucker.  The problem wtih the thumb is that you can't take it away.  I sucked my thumb until I was way too old, and even as a 15 year old sometimes I would wake up and be sucking my thumb in my sleep!  I have a little overbite but it's been enough to cause jaw misalignment so my jaw pops (could have been corrected with braces).  My little brother also sucked his thumb way too long and has braces now (he's 11), his identical twin brother (who didn't suck his thumb), doesn't have braces.


If Ada sucked her thumb I couldn't and wouldn't have the heart to take it away from her and substitute with the paci or whatever.  SUCH a hard decision.  I absolutely hated that Ada needed anything else besides me because I wished I could soothe her without anything else...but it is what it is.


I also think thumb sucking is cute, if he wants his thumb I'd let him have it, cross the dental/weaning bridge when you get to it.--my 2 centssmile.gif

post #7 of 9
they'll outgrow it eventually....(right?) lol, dd2 is almost 4 and still going strong. But hers was a SERIOUS attachment. Dd3 sucks fingers, and isn't that attached at 2. We tried pacis very hard with all kiddos and none would take them at all. Reed has his thumb, but is exploring other combos at the moment. lol
post #8 of 9

DS1 is a binky boy. As you all know after numerous breastfeeding issues he self weaned to a bottle at 3 months, and so got his comfort from his binky thereafter. (Could not get him to latch even as a comfort measure.) He never even considered using his fingers at any point, and still won't at 18 months. I'd love to get rid of the stupid binky, but he is cutting molars & eye teeth right now, so I don't see the binky going away until after he has finished teething.


DS2 is the opposite. Loves him some bewb whenever he can get it. Always spits out the binky after two sucks, and will happily chew on his fingers or thumb to self comfort when he can't have Mama. I really like that I don't have to remember to take a binky with us for DS2 when we go out, as its a disaster if we forgot DS1's binky and he needs a nap.


Before I became a Mama I said I'd never use a pacifier. I HATE them. DS1 however had other ideas, and it was and is the only thing that calms him down to go to sleep when he gets overtired (well that and his sleepy bear blankie.)


I think that its a personal thing not only for the parents but also with the child too. Either way they will some day outgrow their need for them.


As for the dental thing DH was the pacifier child and he needed the corrective work for an overbite. I was the thumb sucker and never had anything done to my teeth, and I was at least 5 before I stopped using my thumb to go to sleep.

post #9 of 9

Sara Beth only took a paci for a few months and pretty much stopped taking it on her own.  She also went through a little spell when she was about 10 mos old where she would suck her two or three middle fingers.  She quit that on her own as well.  I don't think it's too much to worry about.  Ada is a paci baby but I try only to give it to her when she's upset or tired.  If she doesn't want it she'll spit it out. 


Although, I would prefer they get attached to a paci rather than a thumb.  I was a thumb sucker and that is a terrible habit to break if they carry past infancy or toddlerhood.  I would look forward to the moment my mom would pick me up from school and I could hold my blankie and suck my thumb!  It messed up my teeth horribley!!!  At least with a paci you could take it away for their own good.  I would not want my child to have to go through all the being made fun of and horrible teeth trouble that I did.  I'd rather them have a few crying spells wanting their paci than have to go through years of trying to correct the problem later, ya know.  Just my two cents......

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