November 03, 2011

Pacifier or Thumb?

J is slowly figuring out how to put his fist in his mouth - the left one in particular. He tries to put it in his mouth with each bath and each diaper change, and sometimes when he's just "chilling" in his swing. He'll even try to extend his thumb - but he's always unsuccessful... for now.

When I first saw C do it two years ago, I thought it was cute. I also liked how we were all able to sleep through the night. J still wakes up once or twice each night even though by this time C could sleep through the night because he'd already found his thumb. But, like I said, J is slowly figuring out how to suck his thumb. In the past few weeks, it sounded like a good idea - to let him suck his thumb. Then maybe we could get some good sleep at night. But it wasn't until today, while I was browsing through the Web for photos to use in this post, that I am convinced not to let him. For one, I don't want him to have oral problems that could also affect his speech. C's teeth right now are slowly becoming the "thumb sucker's teeth," kind of like this one:

grabbed from Google images
I found this picture from Google owned by a mom blogger like me. This was her daughter's teeth before she got her braces. Her daughter was an avid thumb sucker.

Anyway, C is slowly having the same problem (we haven't taken him to the dentist ever). I don't want him to wear braces (though he might have to seeing that his teeth are slowly growing inwards and not straight up, I don't know). This is just my opinion, but I am still somehow convinced that for some instances where a kid needs braces, it is related to his habit of sucking his thumb. So, right now for me thumb sucking for J is thrown out of the window. But how can we get a good night's sleep? Option no. 2: THE PACIFIER!

grabbed from IMDb
NO! Not that pacifier! This pacifier...

grabbed from Google images
This is a good option. For one, it's easier (I think, not sure) to wean a baby/toddler off of their binkies than their thumbs because you can take it away. With a thumb, you have to come up with something more clever than a "binky fairy." The only thing I don't like about it is, first, that it'll keep getting lost (unless you have a strap) and you'll always have to "upgrade" to a bigger size. Second, at J's stage right now, we have to keep putting it back in his mouth whenever he's looking for it. Third, we can't forget to bring it along whenever we're out and about or else it's going to be the end of the world (maybe). 

It makes me think, "is it really that necessary?" My siblings and I (all seven of us) were raised without the use of a pacifier or letting us suck or thumbs. Most babies and toddlers back in my home country don't use pacifiers and most don't suck their thumbs. There are also some children here in the U.S. who got by without sucking their thumbs or using a pacifier. So IT IS POSSIBLE for a baby or a toddler not to use a pacifier or suck a thumb.

I think it's not just the child who gets attached to their pacifier/thumb but also their parent(s), based from my own experience as a parent. I've also read some on random blogs of parents a long time ago (when C was a baby) who admitted that they were also attached to their child's pacifier use/thumb sucking and it was just as hard for them to wean their baby off the pacifier/thumb as it was for their baby who was getting weaned. This attachment definitely started from something - from letting the kids use it in the first place. Now that we have a thumb sucker, and one who is learning how to thumb suck and is in-between pacifier use and thumb sucking, I think that in order to avoid the "attachment," I should just not start it in the first place. But how?

Do you have a proven, working method (or books) to avoid pacifier use or thumb sucking (and how to stop thumb sucking)? Please share it. I really really want to know. I am not against the use of pacifiers or thumb sucking nor am I attacking any parent who are using/have used these to their child(ren). We've all been there. We all know, when baby's happy, everybody's happy! But, as for myself, I am honestly slowly becoming reluctant to using any of these forms to soothe my child. It's just me. I keep wondering if my siblings and I, and most babies and toddlers I've seen back home (and some here in the U.S.) could get by without a pacifier or a thumb, why can't my children? I really don't want J to grow up with a pacifier or a thumb plugged in his mouth. But in all honesty, I am still not sure if I can do this because I don't know how but I'd like to try. Then again, maybe someday you'll see me and say, "Hey! J is sucking his thumb/pacifier!" because I might put his pacifier in his mouth sometime today ... haha! I am still torn between thumb sucking and pacifiers, but I really think I'd rather have him in a pacifier than his thumb if I can't do it without any of these two. IF I do stick with the pacifier, though, let's hope I can wean him off before he turns 1. Well, it'll be the same hope (weaning before 1 y.o.) if he turns out to be a thumb sucker.


  1. I really don't know what advice I could give you.I like Darren's pacifier.My mom was able to completely wean him during our month of stay in the Philippines last year. I would say wean them younger.Travelling and moving so much doesn't help with weaning though.And to lots of travelling the binkie kept my baby happy on the plane. And now Darren is at the stage where he is definitely most attach to his binkie. He is a perfect sleeper with his binkie,that's why I don't think I am going to wean him.I just stop carrying about what other people say about needing to wean a baby from a binkie. I figured if this is what makes my baby sleep good at night then why not keep it. But then I know that there will be time when weaning is needed just not soon enough. I will wait till he can at least fully understand that he is a big boy and he doesn't really need it.

  2. Tama ka, Nak. Huwag hayaan na magthumbsuck at magpacifier sa umpisa pa lang. Alisin ang kamay o lagyan palagi ng malinis na mittens. Pag gising naman siya at nag-uumpisa mag thumbsuck ay libangin pag nagta thumbsuck.

    Yun nga lang, tiyaga ang kailangan para mapatulog siya o mapatahimik siya nang walang pacifier or thumbsucking.

    Wala akong karanasan kung papano awatin pag malaki na pero ang sabi ng iba ay lagyan ng mapait o maanghang ang thumb niya o balutin ito. Mapait na lang siguro o balutin kasi sobra namang sakit kung maanghang, pati sa daliri.

  3. so this might be a long comment or you can email me if u need more questions. i actually do not really use thumb or blinky with all 3 of my kiddies. so there is no real trick: i think i just don't encourage it. with all 3, i tried using the blinkie but they never learn to suck it by themselves..i would have to hold it in..and sometimes the blinky does distract them to stop crying but they usually use it more like a teething toy if anything. to soothe them, i use toys for distraction or all 3 of my kiddies really love being held so if i pick them up an carry them, they stop crying. both lea and maeley occasionally would suck their thumb and fingers (while they're just sitting there) and i let them. but i don't encourage them by purposely sticking it in for them. (if they do it, they do it...and the habit never stuck on both of them...maeley still in this stage btw). as for night time sleep: both azalea and maeley slept 5-6ish hrs when they were 3-4weeks old and like 7-8ish hrs when they were 7-8weeks old. i say the trick is a tight good swaddler and some consistency or routine. (i do rock/nurse them to sleep till they're like 6 mths and then i kinda teach them to self-soothe and fall asleep by themselves or with a blanket/toy). read "on becoming babywise". i like that my kiddies don't use thumb or blinky. (but i don't care if they do either. or how long they use it just so happens that they don't so i don't have to wean them or anything).

  4. Just remember that genetics also play a part. Summer used a binky, but still needed braces, due to an overbite. Good's hard to keep a baby from sucking his thumb, once they've found it. :)

  5. Haha..I guess it's all up to you and what kinds of "consequences" you're willing to live with. I agree with Sam that I think the binky is what really helped Reyna be a good sleeper. And it made it easier for her to transition into new situations (like babysitters, moving, etc.). But then again I have no idea what she would have been like without it since I never tried. I'd personally rather have them do the binky than the thumb sucking. However I noticed that maybe it was me that was more dependent on the binky than she was. 1) I thought it would help her transition into nursery. So I left it with her leaders in case she didn't stop crying. Turns out she never needed it. 2) I think you read my post about cutting Reyna's binky. Well she hasn't asked for it since and it hasn't disrupted her nighttime sleeping at all like I thought it would. I think that with this next one I'll still use it if he takes it, but I'll be more careful and not get too attached. Also I'll be weaning a lot earlier. Hope it helps. But I say lucky you if you can do neither and still have a "good" (by your standards) baby.


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