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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Thumb vs. Pacifier?

In a newborn or young baby who is breastfed, I prefer thumb or hand (babies will root on their hand):

See Linda Smith's article, Top Ten Reasons for NOT Using a Pacifier.

In any case, a pacifier should be the last resort if used at all, not the first thing to try. Instead of reaching for the pacy, lift your shirt and unhook your bra and latching, or put the baby in a sling.

In a bottle-fed baby, I would have to individually counsel.

I have found that most well-bonded breastfed babies reject the pacifier. Mothers don't realize that pacifier rejection is *normal* behavior in a baby that gets the breast because you see babies everywhere with the THING clipped to its shirt and car seat and stuffed in a mouth. It appears to be a stylish must-have to have one clipped on all the time. In my own mothering experience, I did not want to use it. I recall my mother saying, "Just give it to him, you're going to give it to him soon enough." Well, he never took it. We hesitantly offered it to my second. He rejected it. I confidently never offered my third son one.

In Nighttime Parenting by Dr. Sears he summarizes a study on thumb-suckers: Thumb-suckers tend to be bottle-fed. The later a child weaned, the less likely he became a thumb-sucker. Thumb-suckers tend to be put down to sleep alone after a feed. Finally, they tend to be fed by schedule. Thumb-sucking may cause an overbite.

Personally speaking, I was a thumb-sucker (I never needed braces). My mother used to boast about how I fell asleep independently, routinely. I was a good baby, she said, I stayed in a play pen till I was four. (I would of stayed in it longer if she gave me the Internet and computer.) She says she didn't know what we know now. And that is the point, way to many mothers STILL don't know.


BeyondYourPeripheralVision said...

Thanks! That was very helpful!!! As was the sleep article. :)

pearly1979 said...

My daughter would not take a pacifier. The only time she took one was when we were in the car on an 8 hour drive to Michigan where all of our family lives. It was very valuable for those 30 min stretches where there just was no where we could stop and do anything for her. I much preferred that to her being very upset. She has never sucked her thumb. At 32 months she still prefers me. ;)

Permission to Mother said...

After working with a mother to get a baby to latch and show her how to use a sling (and we have a happy, content baby), it is so frustrating to me to see mom undo the good we just accomplished by plugging the baby up (pacifier) for the ride home. The darn thing is clipped on to that seat...

I've been on several long road trips with my babies. With David we travelled from North Georgia to South Florida several times by car.

I sat in the back seat next to him and could bend over the seat and nurse him. It worked for us.

I appreciate that not all mothers can do this or will be comfortable with this. That's where knowing ALL your options comes in and making a best decision for your own set of circumstances.

pearly1979 said...

I did lots of that too!! :) Thankfully (in that instance) I have large breasts and leaning over into the car seat to BF was pretty easy. I was able to keep my seat belt on and everything.

Hannah said...

I dont understand why some midwives around here advise women to use them. It frustrates me. My best friend was advised by her midwife to use one when her baby was only 3-4weeks. It was because her baby was wanting to (breast)feed "too much" And I've heard of a few more too. What are these midwives on? Is there some logical reason? I'd say, that if the baby was wanting to feed often (or "too much") then maybe they NEED to be feeding that much.

Beth_in_TX said...

Hannah - my cousin has suggested i use the paci for the same reason -to stop my baby breastfeeding so much!

My in-laws have tried guilt-tripping me for "depriving" our baby of a pacifier. He sleeps beautifully now and I don't want to interfere with that by giving him a paci that'll wake him up when it falls out.

I'm also not convinced that pacifiers prevent thumb-sucking -i've seen plenty of kids who move on to sucking their thumbs as soon as they get weaned off the binky!

Each to their own i guess -if people find the pacifier useful then by all means use them, but i find this idea that babies absolutely NEED pacifiers just crazy!

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