What are the pros/cons to giving a pacifier? I hadn’t planned on introducing it, but my unknowing sister gave us a pack of them and in a night of desperation during the first month, we let him have it. He is now 16 weeks old and uses it some, but isn’t terribly attached to it. They do give it to him at daycare pretty often (he is there part-time) and DH gives it to him a good bit. But I myself almost never give it to him. (Maybe hat’s cuase I can pop a boob in his mouth if he’s fusy?) It hasn’t caused any issues with breastfeeding and it hasn’t gotten to the point where we NEED it, so I hadn’t really worried about it.
Now that he’s a bit older and more coordinated, he’s been sucking on his hands a lot and occasionally his thumb. So now I’m wondering…do I let the hand/thumb sucking continue and let the paci fall by the wayside? Or do I encourage the paci in an attempt to keep him from being a thumb-sucker? It is even in my hands or is it entirely up to him?
My mom swears that a paci is better cause you can eventually throw it away. My sister had a paci til she was about 3, but the last year she mostly just carried it around. My mom said all she had to do to get rid of it was to stop finding it for my sister when it was lost. Eventually they were all lost ;-) My brother sucked his fingers til he was 7-8 and my mom said nothing she tried to do to get him to give it up had any effect. He was in braces for about 10 years, whereas my sister and I only had them 3-4 years, but I don’t know if the extended finger-sucking had anything to do with it. Anyhow, my mom is very pro-paci because of her experiences.
I’m still kind of leaning towards the thumb. I hate seeing a 3-4 year old (or even a 2 year old) with a paci in their mouth ALL.the.time. I don’t ever want to be in that turn-the-car-around-we-forgot-the-paci situation. I also hate when we are out and DS is fussing and someone says “does he have a paci?” and I say “yes, but he’s not that into it” and then I offer it to DS and he takes it with enthusiasm like he’s one of those can’t-live-without-my-paci kids…which he isn’t.
Any thoughts on paci vs. thumb?
My opinion is a lot like what your mom described. To sum up: You can take a paci away relatively easily by losing it, cutting the tip off or mailing them. You cannot lose, cut or mail a thumb. Also, IMHO, its the parents who allow a three year old to have a paci constantly and allow the kid to be dependent upon it. With my now nearly 5 yo DD, we allowed her to have a paci just about whenever she wanted until 18mos. After that, it was only in bed or in a situation where she was really upset (booboos, leaving the grandparents house etc). Then at a month shy of age 3, we had a few talks about how she wasn't a baby anymore and wouldn't it be nice to mail all her paci to the babies. So when she was comfortable with it after a few convos, we dropped the pacis in a big envelope and dropped the envelope in the mailbox outside the post office (and probably confused the heck out of a few postal workers!!). Never had a problem about it. I've heard of a lot of clever ways to wean paci use over the years but I've never heard a good solution to wean thumb sucking.
As far as teeth, thumb sucking becomes an issue once permanent teeth come in. It can cause misalignment problems.
Babies/toddlers have a need to suck. IMO, I'd rather my kids use a paci that I can easily wean them off of as they get older as opposed to trying to take away something that is on their own hand, kwim?
We are a paci (soother or sue sue in our house) family. Dd1 had hers from basically birth until 2.5 but after the age of 2 she only used it for naps/bed for a few mins to fall asleep then it fell out and she was fine. The soother fairy came and got her soothers for a new baby. The only time you see toddlers/preschoolers out and about with thier soothers is when a parent allows it. If there are no rules for the soother and places they are/aren't allowed to have or use it then of course the child will have it as much as they can!(this is true for older babies...say over 1 year) Same with children who have a bottle instead of nursing, and are allowed to carry it around and suck it all day if they want. The bottle isn't bad and the sucking isn't bad but they don't NEED the bottle toted around all day ya know? The difference is that the parents of children with soothers can take the soother away and only allow it out at certain times. If your child is a thumb/finger sucker there is no way you can control when they do that. I have known many thumb sucking children who hate sucking thier thumbs and will hide behind menus in resturants to do it, under desks at school etc...they are addicted basically and want to stop but can't and they are teased horribly for it.
Babies need to suck, some more then others and they will get that need met somehow. There is nothing wrong with a soother and I really find the whole mentality of them being bad and wrong as a bit bizarre and sadistic. Babies need to suck, some more then others what is so bad about them having soothers? The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding until 3 which is sucking so why should these "babies" also be allowed a soother to suck when breastfeeding isn't needed but the base need of sucking to soothe is needed.
just my rambling thoughts here...if he likes the soother its doing no harm in my opinion.
I second your mother's recommendation that you stick with the paci. My DH was a thumb sucker, and he admits that it was an incredibly hard habit to break. He also got sick a lot as a kid, which he relates to always puting his thumb in his mouth. MIL wishes that she had started DH on a paci because the thumb sucking was such a serious problem. Most babies have a need to suck, so we started DD on a paci. Whenever she put her fingers in her mouth, we would give her the paci instead. It seems to have worked. DD is almost 11 months and does not suck on her fingers. She will take the paci when we give it to her, but she is not obsessed or addicted to it. Right now, she gets it at various times throughout the day, particularly when she is fussy. Her teeth are coming in, and they are bothering her. The paci seems to soothe her. At some point, I'll limit the paci to just nap time and bed time, but I'm glad that she prefers the paci over her fingers (she never puts her fingers in her mouth to suck on).
Haha, I could have written this part myself! I would prefer if my DD would accept the pacifier, but just like your DS she seems to be more interested in sucking on her fist right now.
We use a paci. DD is almost 10 months old and we limit its use now to naps and bedtime. She hasn't needed it for car rides for months although I keep one in the diaper bag just in case.
DD has a pacifier and uses it all the time. However now she spits it out and is taking her thumb. I was in the mindset that I rather break the pacifier habit over a thumb. At first she could take it or leave it. Then out of no where she just became attached to it. She had a high suck need but never wanted to use me as a pacifier after a certain point. She was always getting mad to when she would get milk and didn't want milk. So the pacifier works out well.
But do what you feel is best. And even if you encourage a pacifier it may not mean your LO won't be a thumb sucker either. So you may end up having to break two habits..lol
I think it depends on the baby. We never gave DD a pacifier and she sucked her fingers/thumb once in awhile for maybe a month when she was around 2 months old and then seemed to lose interest. She's never sucked it since and is now 14 1/2 months old.
We've never owned a paci with any of our five children and not one of them sucks their thumb even though they may have done so at one point or another when they figured out how to do it.
I have 3 kids: #1 = paci, #2 = nothin' but mama, #3 = thumbsucker. We did NOTHING different with the three of them. With all, we offered a paci pretty early since we had no BF issues. DD1 took to it from the get-go; DD2 was never really interested; and DS pretty much rejected it and sucked on his hands instead. He found his thumb officially at 3 months and has never looked back. As far as I can tell, if the kid is going to be a thumbsucker, they're going to be a thumbsucker whether you offer the paci or not. My DH's family are all thumbsuckers, and I tend to think it's an inherited trait!
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I prefer a thumb sucker honestly. Thumb sucking has less of an effect on the teeth, I don't have to worry about what kind of plastic my LO is sucking on, I don't have to find it, pack it, buy it, whatever. He has it when he needs it.
I would have to go with the thumb. I did my research on pacifiers before hand because I wanted only all natural rubber in his mouth, no chemicals. But, he made the choice himself. He was sucking on his fingers from day one. And I love my little thumb sucker! At ten months he only does it when he's hungary or tired. But, it beats the rubber pacifier for all natural...no worries!
I am a married, working, first-time mother to Max who entered this world on May Day 2010.
My liberal arts education led me to natural parenting.