Pacifier or thumb?

[deleted account] ( 101 moms have responded )

Are you someone that detests the sight of an infant or toddler with a pacifier? Are the exceptions to be made? Would you prefer your child suck their thumb vs. using a pacifier?

What's been your experience......where do you stand?

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Isobel - posted on 05/29/2011

9,849

0

286

I find it interesting that some would demand acceptance of breastfeeding an 8 year old but say a 5 year old with a pacifier is unacceptable.

Minnie - posted on 05/29/2011

7,076

9

788

I can't even answer this. I don't have a preference either way.

Boobie.

[deleted account]

Me also, which is why I don't have a problem with Roxanne still using her pacifier. I think as long as people take precautions, use responsibly etc. then there's nothing wrong with waiting for her to part ways with it.

She's not allowed to walk around with it, or talk with it in her mouth, I've limited it to bedtime or when she's sick, since about 12 months, we brush before bed etc. Only when aren't mindful of those types of things does it become harmful.

Practice responsibly folks! :)))

[deleted account]

"It isn't a problem unless your child is doing it when their adult teeth come in - if it's done as an infant/toddler, there is no harm."

Do you mind me asking where you got your information because I am of the understanding that it's quite the opposite. The care of baby teeth and gums, tooth alignment, jaw development etc. is a significant predecessor in determining the outcome of adult teeth etc.

One of the reasons I started this thread is because I don't think a lot of people understand that. There's a myth that it doesn't matter until they get their adult teeth. Bull honky!

Sarah - posted on 06/01/2011

5,465

31

344

The thing is, if it's not using the dummy or thumb for too long, it's something else, like using the pushchair too long, or a bottle, or giving them too much juice, or any other "hot topic".

My youngest may have been weaned off the dummy at an early age, but that doesn't mean that I'm a perfect parent or anything. For everything you do "right", there's 10 other things you do "wrong".

I'm against thumb sucking because of my own personal experiences, which is why I made damn sure my 2 didn't get hooked on either thumb or dummy. For other people, it may not be the same "big issue". :)

101 Comments

View replies by

Melissa - posted on 06/03/2011

441

41

31

I never wanted my son using a pacifie, but much to my dismay the nurses at the hospital kept giving him one when he was born. It stuck, so I went with it. I never let him use it much, really only if we were in the car and he was super fussy, and sometimes to go to sleep if he was gassy. Around 7 months he got bored of it and just gave it up. I'd much prefer a pacifier to a thumb. 1 - there's orthodontic approved pacifiers that are less likely to have any impact on growing teeth, and 2 - you can take away a pacifier. you can't take away a thumb!

Teresa - posted on 06/01/2011

29

0

1

Pacifier definately cause you can take it away but you can't remove fingers lol

Merry - posted on 06/01/2011

9,274

169

263

Yeah Eric only sucks it if he's tired, bored, or watching tv :) and on all the websites they mentioned a difference between strong suckers and casual suckers, Eric is for sure casual, it's just more the act he likes, he's not really sucking hard. I'm sure he will be fine. What I really don't like is seeing kids 2+ running around at the park, zoo, etc with pacifiers! I mean I understand in the car, at bedtime, etc but when your kid is actively playing at a fun place do they really need the pacifier? All on his own Eric wouldn't suck his thumb while playing, he prefers both hands to play! That's one positive to the thumb.

[deleted account]

You can take away a boob.....you can take away a paci, but you just cannot take away a thumb. What ifs aren't cool with me.

:)

Merry - posted on 06/01/2011

9,274

169

263

Sorry Sarah, I was NOT implying you were lacking something :) call it new mommy brain fart, but I was thinking about my husbands friend who sucks his thumb at 25 years, he was raised pretty badly, his parents were the type who just let the tv raise him etc, so I think in HIS case he sucked his thumb cuz no one gave him proper attention.
I don't think you got offended, but just in case, I wasn't meaning you!
And I figure I'd give Eric til about 4-5 years with both thumb and boob and then we would work on weaning both if he ahsnt doe it himself. So I wouldn't let it continue too long to hurt his teeth, but I really think he will quit on his own before I'd need to step in....

Jenn - posted on 06/01/2011

2,683

36

96

Yes, you're right, that it probably would be harder to get the child to stop, and then it could be a problem because they could be doing it at an older age. So it makes total sense that her dentist would prefer a pacifier.

[deleted account]

Touché again!

Fair enough, BUT we still come back to the problem of how to get rid of the thumb? If a child is sucking their thumb or a pacifier past a year, I think it's safe to say that they're addicted. It's habitual at that point and I still think it COULD be detrimental. I suppose it's my own experience with my brother who sucked his thumb til he was almost 10 and had horrible buck teeth and other problems as a result, despite my parents best efforts to get him to stop.

Roxanne's pediatric dentist prefers a pacifier to thumb sucking.

Ok, I'm rambling so I'ma shut up and go have a shower. :)

Sarah - posted on 06/01/2011

5,465

31

344

I just had a look on some sites on the net, and the common concensus does seem to be that so long as the thumb sucking stops before 4 or 5yrs, there won't be any lasting damage.
I would have thought the same as you though Dana M!

The other nasty thing about thimb sucking, is that the skin on the thumb often becomes calloused and broken and very sore.

I still say dummies are the best bet! :)

Dana - posted on 06/01/2011

11,264

35

495

I've always come from the school of thought that, it's easier to take away a binky/pacifier/dummy than to take away a thumb! :)

I got lucky, my son decided he didn't want one around 5 months old.

Jenn - posted on 06/01/2011

2,683

36

96

Don't worry - my kids are not perfect - just come for a visit some time and you'll see the tantrums, not listening, colouring on the wall with crayon, putting 6 rolls of toilet paper in the toilet............. LMAO!!!

I do NOT believe that sucking your thumb causes damage to the teeth the way so many people think. It isn't a problem unless your child is doing it when their adult teeth come in - if it's done as an infant/toddler, there is no harm. My kids just weren't into it I guess.

[deleted account]

Jenn, must be lucky to have perfect children, free from security issues and dependencies.

Bahahaha, I'm joking. BUT, you ARE lucky. Roxanne never sucked her thumb or used a pacifier UNTIL she stopped breastfeeding and stuck her thumb in her mouth. I made a decision to get a pacifier, something I wasn't thrilled about, but I'm happy with my decision.

Jenn - posted on 06/01/2011

2,683

36

96

OK - replying without reading responses first. I do not like pacifiers. I don't prefer either. None of my kids suck their thumb or used a pacifier.

[deleted account]

LMFAO! Yes, can see how a straight jacket is conducive to a toddler. MUCH better than a pacifier. ;)

Sarah - posted on 06/01/2011

5,465

31

344

I think is was more that fact that I moved in with my now husband when I was 21 and I felt stupid sucking my thumb!!
I also had a stuffed elephant that I sniffed while sucking my thumb that I kept until I was 21 (I still have the ear now hidden away!)

Seriously though, my Mum was quite the attachment parent, so I certainly wasn't lacking comfort. lol !
Maybe I just have an oral fixation ;)

[deleted account]

"How do you actually stop an infant sucking their thumb though?"

Stick a paci in their mouth?!?!

Laura, you don't see how thumb sucking causes so much damage? Who cares if it's instinctive for some? Doesn't mean it doesn't or won't cause harm. Thumb sucking often causes the front teeth (and often many others subsequently) to misalign and stick out.

Merry - posted on 06/01/2011

9,274

169

263

I'm counting on the belief that Eric will wean from thumb and breast on his own.....we will see how it goes. I think maybe when kids continue thumb sucking for years that they were lacking some sort of need.....idk I don't see how thumb sucking causes so much damage since it's obviously an instinctive trait, you'd think humans were designed to be able to suck their thumbs right!

Stifler's - posted on 06/01/2011

15,141

154

604

How do you actually stop an infant sucking their thumb though? I mean my sister sucked her fingers and when she was bout 3 they were like this is getting stupid and put anti- suck stuff from the doctor and all this to try to get her to stop but I think that is just a bit cruel to little babies.

Sarah - posted on 06/01/2011

5,465

31

344

@Maggie
You say they won't still do it in college, but I didn't stop until I was 21 and someone else I know still sucks their thumb and they are 36!

[deleted account]

As my Grandmother always says, the kid won't take the bink to college with them, nor, will they play soccer with their fingers shoved in their mouths. Whichever you prefer, we're all paying an orthodontia bill these days. If you research it, you may find the possibility that finger sucking is hereditary? Everyone I know that has a finger sucker said either they or the other parent did too. Maybe just a coincidence.

Jill - posted on 05/31/2011

5

0

0

I think either pacifier and thumb sucking is fine up until about age 3 or before. Children have a natural urge to suck whether it be a thumb, finger or paci. It comforts and soothes them but at a certain age, children need to learn how to give up thier thumb or pacifier in a gentle and positive way. It does not have to be traumatic as some parentst think. Google Thumbuddy To Love or get it on Amazon... They make a great product for toddlers to help wean from thumb sucking and pacifier sucking in a most gently way that is actually fun for kids because it is all about growing up and it is a great tool for parents.

Tiffany - posted on 05/31/2011

435

41

10

Originally I had planned on not giving my daughter her binky, but she started sucking her thumb and so I gave her one. She is going to be 19 months now and we're having a hard time taking it. She uses it when sleeping at night and napping, and we bring it in the car just in case. We have stopped giving it to her throughout the day and have been letting her cry a bit if she wakes up for it at night. I look at it this way...you can take a binky away, you can't take the thumb away! My nephew is 7 and still sucks his thumb when upset. My hope is to have her off the binky before she is 2.

Michelle - posted on 05/31/2011

30

14

2

Depends how old we're talking.... however, my cousin walked around with a blankie sucking her thumb until she was like 6.... and it didn't seem odd to me but maybe because she's family....... some older kids look silly with a bink, but if they still ened it for comfort then they do. Luckily I successfully rid my daughter of the bink at 3 years old.

I just had a little boy 3 months ago and we weren't going to let him have the bink.... after much conversation about it between my husband and I, we decided to go ahead with the bink, it's much easier to break the bink habbit (i.e. throw it away) then it is to break the thumb habbit (i.e.... um... wrap it in duct tape? lmao how would you break if if they don't want to?)

The first person who commented on this post mentioned something about her and her husband recently splitting up.... whether she's 5 or not, I'd let her have it, but maybe just when she's playinig in her room, if she wants to come out to the livingroom or you're going to the store, it should stay at home and hold down the fort for you guys. I'm sorry to hear about yoru break up and wish you the best with everything!!

Merry - posted on 05/31/2011

9,274

169

263

I prefer neither, boob I'd hope would be sufficient, but I'd choose thumb over pacifier.
I like it as natural as possible so I'd rather them use a thumb then pacifier.
Yes I know you can't take away the thumb but I personally feel like if my kid needs to suck something I'm not going to stop them!

Jenny - posted on 05/31/2011

4,426

16

129

Honestly though, I have not given it much thought. I knew I didn't like pacis and my kids worked with me and that was that.

Jenny - posted on 05/31/2011

4,426

16

129

I wasn't a thumb sucker either. My teeth are messed because my Mom never pushed dental care. It's a direct result of lack of brushing and too much Kool-Aid as a child. I never saw a dentist until I was 14 because of cavities.

So keep on those kids' teeth people!

[deleted account]

I find that interesting. You mentioned having problems with your teeth in another thread (I hope it's ok that I mentioned it here?!), so I'm surprised that you would favor thumb sucking IF you had to choose one, knowing how thumb sucking can harm tooth and jaw development.

Jenny - posted on 05/31/2011

4,426

16

129

No Dana, I would not have introduced one. I just saw it as another habit to break. And natural is better, I'd rather they suck on skin than plastic of some sort. They would gum on their little fists as babes but other than that weren't big on sucking on things thankfully.

Sarah - posted on 05/31/2011

5,465

31

344

Definitely without doubt a dummy (pacifier) rather than the thumb!

I sucked my thumb until I was 21 (yes, that's 21 years!!!) I had to have braces and a head brace to wear at night and it was AWFUL!!!!!!!!! I can't even begin to explain how much I hated it.

My eldest never really took to a dummy or tried to suck her thumb. My youngest though started sucking her thumb when she was about a week old. I went out and bought a dummy which she LOVED! I took it away at night at about 5 months, I was tired of her waking all night just because the dummy had fallen out! Then she had it a bit in the day and at nap times. Then I made it only for nap times.......and then at about a year (ish) we stopped using it altogether. I was very aware that it could turn into a big habit, so I was adamant not to let it.

In all honesty, I think it's best to get them off the dummy as early as possible, but in saying that, we all do things differently, and it's not the worst thing in the world so long as they're not sucking on them all day.

Nikkole - posted on 05/31/2011

1,505

31

49

My son is 3 1/2 and he still uses one for bedtime and my daughter is 11moths and uses one also for nap/bedtime and they both have great teeth! But my son we are trying to wean him off slowly but he steals his sisters and hides them for later lol so hopefully we can get rid of them soon! But i prefer passi to thumb and i do not judge any one who use's a passi later unless the kid is like 10 or something that is horrible!

September - posted on 05/31/2011

5,233

15

695

Our 2.5 year old son loves his pacifier at nap and bed time. He could care less about it during the day but when it's time to sleep...I better have a pacifier for him. It provides comfort for him and I'm ok with that. I can't take it away..I just can't. My husband is all for taking it away and then I remind him that he had "pinky" (a small blanket that he took everywhere) until he was in kindergarten and that shuts him up pretty quickly! :) I'm not one to judge..you do what's best for your child and that varies from family to family.

Rose - posted on 05/31/2011

323

48

20

My daughter used a pacifier we took her off of it at 15 months by cutting holes in it after that she didn't want anything to do with it. My son however is a thumb sucker unfortunately I hate it!! I tried the pacifier with him but he would just stuff the whole thing in his mouth ( he has a big mouth lol) so i just let him suck his thumb rather than him choking to death. He only sucks his thumb when he is tired so its not like he runs around with it in his mouth. My nephew is 4 and he still sucks his thumb. His sister used a pacifier and when she had them all taken away she started sucking her thumb. I would rather a pacifier cause you can throw it away.

[deleted account]

And for those of you who hate seeing a toddler wandering around with a pacifier in their mouth, do you also despise seeing a toddler wandering around sucking their thumb, or is that acceptable?

[deleted account]

Jenny, I'm curious what you would have done had your kids been thumb suckers? Would you have encouraged a pacifier had that been the case?

Lady Heather - posted on 05/31/2011

2,448

17

91

I am not so worried about the teeth. Husband and I have perfect teeth and we had pacis until we were 4 (nearly all the time). My sister is the one with awful teeth and she's the thumbsucker. I just have a hard time believing they are that damaging to people who start out with straight teeth. Likewise I've been told all these horror stories about how your kid will never talk. Freja went from being behind in speech to advanced within a few months with a paci in her mouth, and when she speaks everyone knows what she's saying, not just her parents. I am told all the time how awesome her speech is. I don't know. I just can't believe they are as awful as some people make them out to be. Certainly hasn't proven to be the case among anyone I know.

Momof1 - posted on 05/31/2011

528

0

17

I dislike seeing a toddler with a pacifier, but I don't know the situation, so I don't assume anything. I see 4 year olds coming into my job with pacifiers. Way too much. My son never took one. If he had, I would have ditched it at a year, along with the bottle. I don't see anything necessarily wrong with toddlers from 1 to 2 using a pacifier, but I don't agree with it either. My son doesn't suck his thumb either. I know sucking is soothing to young kids, so if using a pacifier at nap and bedtime helps, that's great. But I don't think they need to use them out of the house.

Stifler's - posted on 05/31/2011

15,141

154

604

Not an infant, kids that are like 2+ yes. They don't need a dummy stuffed in their mouth the entire day even when they're playing. I would give babies a dummy to go to sleep though or soothe them when they're upset.

[deleted account]

I would prefer none.Both are bad for teeth development.

I gave my second a dummy as when i stopped b/f her.She wanted to suck for comfort.The dummy was great for that.She gave it up at 5-6mths.It caused damage to her teeth.She had her first tooth at 3 months.I wish i had never gave it to her.I know one girl who sucked her thumb and she now has to front teeth that grow out due to her putting the thumb behind the two front teeth to suck.This can also happen if a dummy is always used up to a later age of 3-4 years.My next door neighbour has teeth that formed in a weird shape due to the dummy always being in her mouth.Now i mean i know many use them and have perfect teeth.I just want to show that for many, it sure does cause problems.All of these people i talk about have been told by dentist's the dummy/thumb use caused it.My first never got a dummy.I prefer personally to at give it.

Becky - posted on 05/31/2011

2,892

44

93

I prefer pacifiers to thumb-sucking for the reasons people already mentioned - better for the teeth and easier to get rid of. My oldest was a total paci-addict. He'd carry around 2 or 3 and alternate them in his mouth. It got us through weaning from the breast. We were lucky though, he gave them up quite easily. It was funny actually. He was supposed to be down to only nighttime, but he'd find one during the day and pop it in his mouth and refuse to give it to me. But as soon as Jeff came home, Cole would go over to him and hand him his pacifier. lol. One night I forgot to bring it upstairs at bedtime, he didn't ask for it, and that was it. Zach never took one. I kind of wish he would have, because I want to wean him now, and he's very attached to me as his pacifier, so it's very hard! I hate to introduce one to him now when he's almost 2 though!
A weaning trick that worked for my parents and sister - although it was with the bottle, not the paci - they were visiting friends at a farm and forgot her bottle there. When she asked for it, they told her they'd left it to feed the baby calves (which she'd loved) with. That was a good enough answer for her, and she didn't need her bottle anymore. If only all kids were that easy, eh?
As for how old is too old, I don't really like seeing 4-5 year olds with them out in public, but if they need them at home for naps or bedtime, that doesn't bother me.

Cynthia - posted on 05/30/2011

900

34

76

most definitely the pacifier for me because you can always take it away. i know adults in their 20's that still suck their thumb. i hate seeing a kid suck their thumb. and kids hands are usually nasty.

[deleted account]

Well...after seeing my sister have to wear head gear as a result of sucking her thumb for 6 years, I'd have to go with the paci. I don't really like the paci either, but if the kid is going to suck I'd rather it be on a paci. My oldest used hers until she was 2.5 years old (though only for sleeping after she turned one). My youngest will find her thumb the second the paci falls out of her mouth. Both my girls have a strong need to suck, so I'm going with the paci.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms