Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Thumb vs Pacifier!

Like most issues in raising a baby, this one has strong advocates for both sides of the debate.

Our little Peanut has recently discovered her own thumb and is surprisingly adept at getting it into her mouth. While a relief to her parents that she can now soothe herself wherever and whenever without our assistance, I admit images of her as a 6 year old sucking her thumb are disturbing. But, what to do? Should we let her suck her thumb ? Do we just pop it out? Do we replace it with a pacifier?

Most childcare resources agree that babies simply have a strong need to suck beyond what they have to do for feeding. Its soothing for them. How that need is satisfied is the question. It could be at mom's breast (though the idea of having her hang on to me for hours seems not only painful, but rather inconvenient), with a pacifier or with her own hand/fingers/thumb.

When I asked at the Neuvola what they thought was best I was told that pacifier rather than thumb. I feel as if I see more pacifiers in use here than in the US. Admittedly, we've used a pacifier since the early weeks to help her fall asleep or if we're in the car. The challenge at night has been when the pacifier falls out - mom or dad have to drag themselves out of bed to re-insert. But, there are also those that think that using a pacifier is 'lazy parenting' meaning parents should seek to soothe their babies in some other way.

But, now, Peanut clearly prefers her own thumb to the pacifier. I've also found several advocates of the thumb who claim its a habit that disappears well before school age. So, for the time being we're happy to let her suck her thumb since it only happens when she's tired and readying herself for sleep or when she's very hungry and that's a problem mom can easily solve!
under Ask the Experts has some advice as well.

Also at

1 comment:

Maiju said...

Pacifier - it really hits the nerve in parenting...

I think you shoul be happy that Sofia takes the pacifier while we couldn't make either of our girls take it. they both recented the bottle too which created many problems because mom had to be available almost all the time. That was kind of a problem while I had to start working when Viivi was only 11 weeks old. Juha really had a school patience with her!

It also ment that the baby was hanging in me for quite a long time in a day meaning I couldn't do anything else that time. Still afterwards nursing is the thing I miss the most of that time.

We didn't have the thumb problem but the need to suck is ver strong so I guess one way or the other baby will have her share of sucking.

I heard that the biggest desire for sucking should end at the age of 6 months. Before that you shouldn't worry about that. And even after that how dangerous can it be to let baby suck her thumb? I think things are rather well with us if baby sucking his/her thumb is the thing we need to worry.

Sometimes it brakes my heart to think about the aids moms in Africa who shouldn't nurse their babies in order not to give the aids to their babies. But in order to keep the baby alive in those conditions nursing might be the only possibility. There isn't real possibilities in that situation.

I'm sure you'll do fine wathever you decide! Who could know it better what to do with their baby than her parents!