Thumb vs Binky

Tanya - posted on 04/29/2010 ( 44 moms have responded )

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I really liked the advice I got from my last post. So i thought I would ask you ladies what yo think about this one. My son is 3 months old and he sucks his thumb. My mother and MIL think that it is awful and will be harder to break him of than his binky. During the day when I see him start to suck on his thumb I try to put his binky in to keep his hands form being so dry but I don't always do it. I also don't want to just leave his binky in all day. To be honest I don't really use it that much.

So should I just let him have his thumb or should I make sure to put that binky in?

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[deleted account]

Melissa, are you actually suggesting that babies don't need to suck? "If your child is crying, there's a reason"......YES, perhaps they NEED to suck. Past a certain age, they might not be necessary anymore, but for an infant, besides eating and being held, sucking provides the most comfort. To deny a baby that is cruel.

[deleted account]

I wish my parents would have not let me suck my thumb...I seriously sucked mine until I was 17...it is such a hard habit to break...do it now before he gets so old that he doesn't/can't stop doing it, I wish my parents had!

Jackie - posted on 04/30/2010

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I agree with pacifier....and I am AVIDLY against kids over 9 mos or so having a pacifier, and tried to avoid one in general (though it didn't work). As already stated, you can take away a pacifier for good, you cant' cut a thumb off. SO pacifier all the way....but PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE take it away before it gets too late or it's just a hard habit to kick.

Cynthia - posted on 04/30/2010

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I agree with Dana, the paci is the way to go. I've heard horror stories of people sucking their thumbs up to their teenage years... You can take away the paci, can't take away the thumb :)

[deleted account]

I'm really surprised at the number of you that would actually encourage the thumb over the pacifier........have any of you had a close personal experience with a long term thumb sucker? I would like to assume that you've obviously not had a BAD experience because I don't understand how you can think it's better to suck ur thumb than have a pacifier? I know there's situations where children refuse to take a pacifier and end up sucking there thumbs, but, if you had the choice to give them a pacifier when you noticed repeated thumb sucking you would honestly opt to NOT offer a pacifier? I don't get that? Please explain?

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Jo - posted on 11/24/2010

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My sister sucked her thumb, she ended up with blisters and raw fingers. Mom ended up having to tape up her hands in order to keep her from sucking so that her thumbs would heal properly.



If you don't want to use a pacifier you could always get toys that are meant for chewing and soothing gums - they can be frozen or not. My son liked to play with them and chew/suck on them rather than his pacifier for the most part. The only time he really wanted a pacifier was after eating and he gave it up on his own when he was about 10 months old.



I suggest avoiding allowing thumb sucking if possible, but if you're not worried about it, it's no different than any other 'habit' that may possibly need attention later :)

Leah - posted on 11/24/2010

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It's really up to you as YOUR the parent. My son took a binky in the hospital until he was 3 days old and after that it stopped. He also didn't start sucking his thumb until a few months ago(he is 15 months old now). I see nothing wrong with him sucking on his thumb.

Meghan - posted on 11/24/2010

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I WISH my son would have taken either!
Hindsight for me, let your children do whatever is most comfortable for them. As moms we have SO much pressure put on us to make sure they are off the boob, off the bottle, off the soother, out of diapers, crawling,walking, talking, all by a certain month, can't have tantrums EVER- but have to have personality, do they sleep on there tummy or back? What if my baby likes to sleep on their side? Mittens for their finger nails, bumbo seats, baby gates, books out the ass...AHHHH. Every child is different and if you son (at 3 months!) wants to suck his thumb, LET HIM!! Deal with it later.
(wow that was a huge rant, sorry guys)

Jodi - posted on 11/23/2010

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Me and my sister both sucked our ring & middle finger into our teenage years, I had to have braces becuase of an underbite, but my sisters teeth are perfect, in fact if she's sick she'll suck her fingers and shes now 24! She wont even realize shes doing it.

I tried using a binky with my daughter and when she was 3 months old she decided she wanted her thumb so i let her have it, she only sucks it to fall asleep, i wish she didnt use anything but she knows what she likes. . .

its your child and your decision, theres no right or wrong, technically both arent any good so just do what works for you and your baby

[deleted account]

Logan has a dummy for nap and bedtime or when he's ill. I'd much prefer he had a dummy than sucked his thumb - you can take a dummy away but you can't chop their thumb off =]

Stifler's - posted on 11/21/2010

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my kid never played with a dummy in his mouth but he always wants it to help him go to sleep.

Becky - posted on 11/21/2010

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My daughter sucked her 2 middle fingers, I could NOT get her to take a nook at all. She wanted nothing to do with it. After 3 months of trying to get her to switch, I gave up. By a year she naturally started weening herself off it on her own, relying on it only when tired or sick. She was about 3 before she had pretty much stopped sucking on her fingers with a bit of persuasion.



In the winter sometimes her fingers would chap some, and her fingers had these little bumps by the knuckles, but the Doc. told me that it wouldn't affect her in the long run. She's 9 now, there is no lasting issues with either her fingers or her teeth (and she had a full set of chompers by 8 mo.'s old).



Overall, she learned to self sooth by sucking her fingers. At the time it was her way to deal with things, especially when she was not feeling well or tired. The 2 fingers were odd, cuz I'd never seen kids doing that, but it worked for her. By the time she was 3 and I'd catch her doing it, I'd threaten her with hot sauce. I never actually did it . . . nor did she really take me seriously (it was always more playful, "stop that or I'm getting the hot sauce"), but she got the point, it was time to give up the finger sucking.

[deleted account]

I agree w/ Dana. Sucking is a very real need for babies. As I said months ago on the first page... my girls were VERY mouthy babies/toddlers. They didn't care what was in their mouths as long as something was in there. I very, very rarely ever used it to 'shut them up' and on the rare occasion that I used it for that (like in the middle of a meeting or something).... as soon as they were calm again, out went the binky.

Melissa - posted on 11/21/2010

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I never used a binky. My son did try to suck his thumb a few times and every time that he did, I would take his hand out of his mouth. And I continued to do this until he no longer put his thumb in his mouth. I don't like binky's. People use them to shut there kid up and theres no need. If your child is crying, there's a reason. But if you have to have something....go with the binky.

Caitlin - posted on 11/19/2010

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Both my girls have their pacifiers. My oldest one is 2, and is going to losing hers very soon, I held off because she was a late teether, and she's still getting her canines and is incredibly uncomfortable. I tried taking it away, and she's walk around with a mega block in her mouth instead. My younger one is 8 months, and only uses hers to fall asleep, as soon as she's asleep she spits it out. She really isn't very fond of it which is good, sometimes it helps her get good rest when she's cranky, other times she refuses to put it in her mouth (like now she has a cold, and can't breathe well through her nose so having something in her mouth just doens't make sense. So far my first daughter has really straight and gorgeous teeth, but my second daughter already has a gap between her front teeth and the top teeth are crooked to, so I don't know if that had anything to do with it really.

I was a thumb sucker until I was about 8.. I had horrible dental issues due to it, retainers, headgear, braces.. ugh, it was obviously form my thumb because all my teeth were fine except my front ones.. Either way it's a damned if you do damned if you dont situation. Do what you feel comfortable with.

Stifler's - posted on 11/18/2010

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He's 3 months old, and he's already made his choice! You could get those suits that have hand bits so he can't get his thumb out to suck it and try to use some sort of technique to get him to go to sleep without it though. If he's extremely distressed I'd let him have the thumb for a few more months and then try it again or something. I don't like dummies that much even though my kid has one as a sleep signal still at 9 months, so bad. Some kids just hate them though and won't take to them.

Nikkole - posted on 11/15/2010

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I say binky because you can take it away! We had my son off his till his sissy came but hes almost off it again he only gets it for sleepy time! i dont see how thumb would be better if some people suck there thumbs till there teenagers i never see a 17 yr old with a binky! And i actually just took my son to the dentist and they said thumb is worse!

Amanda - posted on 11/15/2010

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None of my 4 children took the binky or sucked their thumbs! I was a thumb sucker and so was my youngest 2 childrens father! I outgrew it at about 5. I would prefer thumb over binky anyway though!! It's your child and you know them best! But I don't think the thumb is bad! They'll outgrow it eventually!! :)

Michele - posted on 11/14/2010

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Oh boy! I say it's up to you. The only advice I had on this is, it's easier to take a Binky away than a thumb...They will always have their thumb. Both mine were Binky boys, and that alone was hard to break. They had them up to about 3 yrs. old. We kept "conveniently" losing them. Not so easy with a thumb. Just a thought. Go with your gut. I even got slack for the Binky, so I don't think you can ever win:)

[deleted account]

Oh really?! I guess I stand corrected, Toni. Well, my brother had major problems with his teeth and the dentist said it had everything to do with his thumb sucking BUT I guess he's the minority?!

[deleted account]

I prefer thumb/finger sucking although my son rarely sucks his fingers and has only sucked his thumb once. Although there are positives to dummy use, I am not a fan of dummys because:

1- I like to see a childs face and dummys restrict that.
2- I have seen them abused SO many times and as a result know a couple of children with speech issues (related to dummy use).
3- Dummy use can affect babies sleep patterns (it falls out, they wake up).
4- I wanted to bf so I was advised not to use a dummy for at least 6 wks (and by then my son didn't need one).

Dana I have been around quite a few people who sucked their thumb or fingers for extended periods, my cousin sucked her 2 fingers until she was 11 years old and my SIL still sucks her thumb at 35 years old (these are the worst offenders) - I have never known any of them have any side effects of this long term finger/ thumb sucking (they wasn't even teased for it).

Tbh I think that the people who have a 'problem' with thumb/ finger sucking or dummy use are the adults around us. For us not using a dummy has worked but for many others using a dummy works do what is right for you and your family!

[deleted account]

I prefer the thumb. My son is 9 months and sucks his index finger and middle finger together ( no idea how he came up with that one) He usually only sucks it when he is sleepy. I was a finger sucker too and stopped when I was about 4 and have had no dental problems. I think it is the nastiest thing to see a kids pacifer fall on the ground and the mother picks it up, sticks it in her mouth to "clean it" and then pop it back in the babies mouth!

[deleted account]

I prefer thumb sucking to pacifier use. Thumb sucking is more natural, fetuses do it in the womb. You'll never have to wake up in the middle of the night because your child can't find their thumb! and you won't have to worry about another child finding it and popping it in their mouths. And yes, you do see or hear stories of people sucking their thumbs or fingers way past the 'acceptable' time but you also see similar things with pacifiers. However, I have seen toddlers trying to talk with pacifiers in their mouths (which can cause speech impediments in a few cases) but I've never seen a child trying to talk with their thumb in their mouth! I work in a daycare and we have a number of children who need pacifiers to go to sleep but I only remember 1 child who sucked their thumb at times other than sleep time.

Sarah - posted on 05/12/2010

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I think i have extreme self comforting issues then lol!
Although i've broken the thumb sucking habit, i still bite my nails and twiddle my hair!!!
I wonder if there is some reason for it?!?!?!?! :)

[deleted account]

I say let him have his thumb and don't make a big deal out of it. Hopefully he will get used to it just being a part of him and eventually it will lose it's appeal. At that age they are just exploring everything, including their hands. My son discovered his thumb at around 2 months old and sucked it occasionally then just stopped. He has never had a pacifier either, they are not something I have chosen to use in my parenting.

As for the long term thumbsucking, I grew up with a girl who sucked her thumb well into her late teenage years and in her case I can definitely say that there were other contributing emotional factors to the continuation of this extreme self comforting behaviour. I cannot speak for every single case but I do think that in a lot of cases of behaviours like late thumbsucking, fingernail biting, hair twiddling etc there are often other emotional factors such as social anxiety, nervousness, insecurity etc.

I think for some kids it will always be difficult to remove either the pacifier or the thumb after a certain age and for some it will be easy, but that possibility is no reason to avoid either of these options. I think the best you can do is be a consistent loving support to your child, offer them comfort and hope that you are able to help them 'wean' off any behaviours when the time is appropriate.

Marisa - posted on 05/11/2010

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Neither!! my daughter tries to suck her thumb ill pull it out everytime. im not a big fan of a paic either.i only give it to her if she wont go to sleep on her own .give a little more love and cuddle :)

Amber - posted on 04/30/2010

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I've done dance for years, and one of the girls in my contempory/pop class sucked her thumb still....she was 19 and just couldn't stop. It embarassed her, but when she was stressed it would go right back in her mouth. We would all have to try and gently remind her....
So I vote pacifier, you can take it away.

Tanya - posted on 04/30/2010

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I do try to put him to sleep with the binky but during the day i try to keep him too busy to want to suck his thumb. Also just yesterday he finally figured how to get things in his mouth while he is sitting up so he is much more interested in that than his thumb now. He has been mouthing the things on his floor gym for a while and if he was laying down he could get things in his mouth, but when he was sitting up he always tried to take his mouth to the toy and would fall over. How happy he was when he found out he could bring the toy to his mouth. I do fully plan to limit the binky to bed time and naps only at 7 months. Just bed time by 7 or 8 months and then gone by 10 months at the latest. I know how hard it is to get that thing away if you wait to long. My nephew turned two in feb. and was still using it

Melissa - posted on 04/30/2010

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We used a pacifier until my son was 7 1/2 months, we then limited it to sleep time, after a month we took it away completely. When he had the pacifier he would still suck on his hand, I had to use lansinoh to keep it from cracking. He sometimes chews on his thumb (teething) but doesn't really suck on it. If your baby prefers his thumb, the you really can't force the pacifier. At that age he'll do what he wants. It'll make it easier at bed time if he does suck his them, you won't have to worry about retrieving a pacifier in the middle of the night! :)

Amy - posted on 04/30/2010

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I'd say if he's old enough to be teased about it at school to take it away, but at 3 months?!?!?! Let your child have his thumb!

Sarah - posted on 04/30/2010

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Mine was definitely all through thumb sucking lol!
Because i sucked my thumb to one side, i had an overbite on one side. It actually altered the way my teeth grew in and everything.
As i said, some people can get away with it, other suckers like me can't! haha :)

[deleted account]

I was just over 4 when I stopped. I had to have braces, head gear, etc. Was it for thumb sucking? I don't know. My sister also had braces and head gear. She did not suck her thumb. My brother had braces. He did not suck his thumb. My daughter sucked her thumb for a few weeks when she was 3 months old. She didn't take a pacifier so replacing her thumb with a paci wasn't an option for us. I've heard horror stories of kids with pacis too so I guess it's up to mom to pick which one. Since my daughter doesn't do either that's pretty easy for me :)

Sarah - posted on 04/30/2010

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I sucked my thumb until i was 21!
Sadly enough, that's the honest truth too!

Emma - posted on 04/30/2010

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Well My son is a thumb sucker and i cant get him to stop, saying that i did try to give him a dummy but he would just spit it out and put his thumb back in. my Daughter had a dummy and she only ever used it when she was tired and ditched it on her one before she was 1.
All the scan pics of my son, he has his thumb in his mouth so hes been doing it forever.

Sarah - posted on 04/30/2010

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Personally, i would use a dummy over a thumb any day!
The reason i'm so adamant about it, is because i had to suffer years of painful and embarrassing dental work because i sucked my thumb. I had to have 5 teeth removed, a fixed brace for 2 years, a head brace that i had to wear every night for a year (SO painful) and then a retractable brace after that. (all during my teenage years! Cringe!)

I'm sure there's loads of people who have sucked their thumb and it's not done anything to their teeth (my sister for one! jammy cow! lol) but for me personally, the memories of all the dental work kinda biased me on the subject! LOL!

My youngest started sucking her thumb when she was teeny, so i went out and bought a dummy straight away. I'd weaned her off that completely by the time she was one and bit. Easier than chopping her thumb off! hehehe :)

April - posted on 04/29/2010

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thumb. it gives him more control over his life. as parents, we already set lots of limits on our kids. let your little boy have something he can make decisions about! :)

[deleted account]

Sweet.....if this hasn't already it's bound to turn into a pacifier debate! LOL!



Pacifier over the thumb any day! I don't necessarily think you should give him a pacifier BUT you should do everything to try and discourage the thumb sucking! Neither is ideal but I think the pacifier is the lesser of the two evils!

Rosie - posted on 04/29/2010

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you may or may not regret it, depends on the child. from my experience my older two loved their binkies and it was a piece of cake to take them away. my youngest would never take a binky and he sucks his first 2 fingers. he will be 3 in 2 weeks, and it's still going on. i do not know what to do to get him to stop, it was so easy with the binky. oiy, how i wish he would've taken that. at this rate he's gonna be walking down the isle sucking his fingers!

[deleted account]

I say let him keep his thumb. There are pros and cons to both. The thumb can't get lost or fall out of the crib in the middle of the night. It can't fall on the floor and get dirty (although when he becomes mobile you'd want to wash his hands). Like Teresa, my daughter wouldn't take either. I was a thumb sucker until I was 4 and I'm pretty normal :)

Jenny - posted on 04/29/2010

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I wouldn't worry about it too much. Leave him with his thumb and don't make a big deal out of it. He'll grow out of it when he's bored. I never gave my kids a pacifier and they never turned into big thumbsuckers. They mouthed and sucked on their hands once in awhile but certainly nothing to be concerned about.

[deleted account]

I prefer the binky since you can take it away. It worked for my girls. Everytime they would put their thumb in their mouths I would take it out and put in the binky. I did set limits on binky use as well though, so they didn't always have it in there. I probably let them keep it longer than a lot of people agree w/ (they were almost 2), but w/ as mouthy as they were I didn't want them to resort to the thumb if I took away the binky too early. They're still 'mouthy' at 8, but never sucked their thumb... unlike my 5 year old niece.



My son never took a binky or his thumb. I AM his pacifier. ;)

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