Why I wish I gave my daughter a pacifier. Is pacifier weaning easier than stopping finger sucking? My child is a finger sucker. Here's what she does as a sucking habit. #momlife #toddlers #parenting
Mom Life,  Toddlers

My Child is a Finger Sucker – Why I Wish I Gave Her a Pacifier

 

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Before my daughter was born, my husband and I swore we would not give her a pacifier. At least not for the first month. Now we wish we had given her a pacifier to soothe her. Isn’t it crazy how things work like that? Well here’s why. She’s a finger sucker.

 Why I wish I gave my daughter a pacifier. Is pacifier weaning easier than stopping finger sucking? My child is a finger sucker. Here's what she does as a sucking habit. #momlife #toddlers #parenting

 

The Beginning

Originally we broke down and gave my child a pacifier before we even left the hospital. She wouldn’t stop crying and we didn’t know what to do. We stayed strong on that month of no pacifier, right? It turns out there was an underlying reason she kept crying. You can read more about that in my The One Thing No One Tells you about Breastfeeding post.

When we got home, we gave her a pacifier as little as we could. She really didn’t want one, so we didn’t push it. I never thought I would wish I did push it on her, but here I am.

My daughter was a pretty easy baby. She started sleeping through the night at 3 months. She really hasn’t woken up during the night since unless she’s sick. It kind of scares me for when we decide to have our next because I know it won’t be the same. There was only one hour a day she started to cry, but otherwise she was a very happy baby. The crying was like clockwork so we knew to expect it and when it would end.

Why give her a pacifier if she’s figured out to soothe herself you might ask? Well here’s why I wish I did.

Why I wish I gave my daughter a pacifier. Is pacifier weaning easier than stopping finger sucking? My child is a finger sucker. Here's what she does as a sucking habit. #momlife #toddlers #parenting

We Didn’t See the Issue at First

When my daughter didn’t have the option to suck on a pacifier, she went to the closest thing she could find. Finger sucking. She has sucked on her middle and ring finger from month 3 on. No, that’s not a coincidence that she started sleeping through the night at the same time. She relies on her fingers to soothe her. We knew it, but she slept through the night. What sleep deprived mother would stop that?

We continued to let her suck on her fingers. Well, actually we didn’t know what to do and she was happy, so we let her. We noticed she started to suck on them all the time. Our doctor told us it was common and her daughter even sucked on her fingers. It must be a phase we thought. Let’s flash forward 2 years.

She’s Still a Finger Sucker

My daughter is now 2. She is still a finger sucker and now that she has most of her teeth in, she bites them. She actually bites them until she has teeth marks. She’s even broken skin at times. She also sucks them until she has blisters.

It’s still her way of soothing herself. She sucks them at night, while watching TV, in the car, and basically everywhere else. And guess what? We can’t wean her off of it. I mean, you can’t take her fingers away, right? I don’t know what things would be like if we let her take to the pacifier, but I wish we had control over stopping it. It hasn’t caused issues with her teeth yet, but could if she continues.

I think to myself, what if we gave her the pacifier? What if we could wean her off of it? Yes, it could be days or weeks of hysterical crying, but we could do it. For now we have to find a way to get her stop sucking her fingers and a new way to soothe herself.

 

Why I wish I gave my daughter a pacifier. Is pacifier weaning easier than stopping finger sucking? My child is a finger sucker. Here's what she does as a sucking habit. #momlife #toddlers #parenting

 

How We Are Working Through It

Now that my daughter is old enough to understand what we are saying, we ask her to stop. Every time we see her fingers in her mouth, we ask her to take them out. If we are reading a book, we stop reading until she takes them out. The same goes with the TV. We will pause it until she stops. This has helped in the short term of teaching her it’s not okay, but bed time is a different story. She still continues to suck her fingers until she falls asleep. We have no idea how to combat that one yet.

We are hoping to try a few techniques to help kick this habit of being a finger sucker, but are still holding off in hope she will stop on her own.

Do you ever looks back and wish you did something different with your child?

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38 Comments

  • Deborah Hunter Kells

    I hear you! We also did not use a pacifer and in return had a finger sucker. What I did was one day
    ask her not to suck and put mittons on. When she didn’t suck I rewarded her with her favourite
    carob buds. She stopped from that day forward. Whether right or wrong – we make decisions in
    the best way we know. I wish you the best. 🙂

    • Samantha

      What a great idea! I wish we could’ve done that for my daughter. She learned how to get those mittens off pretty quickly! You are absolutely right. We make the best decisions we know. 🙂

  • Stephanie Brophy

    We had no issue giving my daughter a pacifier from the start and she was never into it! Instead she sucks on her pointer and middle finger with her hand upside down! It is hilarious and I really don’t know how it’s comfortable! My son had a pacifer and ended up chewing a hole on the end so the sucking ability was no more!

  • Kim

    Both of my kids were not huge fans of pacifiers. My daughter is one year old and she always refused the pacifier when we would try.

  • yasmina

    My son had a pacifier from day 1 since I could not breast feed and it was very hard to make him quit at 2 and a half. After that he started to put any kind of finger in the mouth. What i would do is just gently take it out of his mouth whenever we would play or sit quietly like to read a story and he eventually stopped. I ve heard from my pediatrician that it s better for the teeth and jaw to have a child sucking his fingers than having a pacifier.

  • Krysten Quiles

    Lord…. I was a finger sucker till I was almost 10. It really messed up my teeth and to be honest, it was embarrassing. Hopefully you can curb it and she’ll be just fine :

  • Emily @ Pizza & Pull-ups

    Her poor little fingers, my youngest sucks her thumb but hasn’t gotten any blisters from it. Maybe a sticker chart or something to positively reinforce when she doesn’t do it.

    • Samantha

      That’s a good idea! We may try that in a few months when she really understands what it is. I’ve tried to give her M&Ms to go potty on the big girl potty and she gets confused and just wants M&Ms. haha.

  • Margaret Westhoff

    My niece was a finger sucker until she was around 5 years old. We would always tell her to stop when we saw her sucking her fingers, but it’s such a tough habit for them to break. Good luck!

  • Mom With Cookies

    I swore I would never use a pacifier with my first, until I had her. We became a family all about pacifiers. I can’t imagine trying to get your child to stop sucking on her fingers. It was bad enough with pacifiers!

    • Samantha

      It’s amazing how fast your planning can go out the window when you actually have your baby! We can plan all we want, but the baby wants what the baby wants!

  • Twinsietips

    I hear yah girl! I wish my girls would have taken a paci but they wouldn’t. So they just cried instead. haha.

  • Bethany

    I’m a huge pacifier fan because you can’t take away fingers and hands. Some babies just need to suck… but listen, my son used a paci til 3.5 haha some things are harder to break!

  • Mrs. Cherry

    Oh wow. I feel for you, mama. My son wasn’t into the pacifier or finger sucking. Consequently he wasn’t into breastfeeding too. I guess all kids are different but I totally think you did the right thing.

  • Gemma

    My 18-month old sucks his thumb, but only when he’s falling asleep to self-soothe. Have you spoken to a pediatric dentist about this? Ours told us that if he continues to do this there are actually some sort of therapists that will teach kids how to self sooth rubbing their tongue on the roof of their mouth. I haven’t looked into yet, but maybe you can see if that’s an option for you.

    • Samantha

      Our doctor told us her daughter used to do it too and not to be too concerned as of yet. If she does continue to do it, she has some ideas to help get through it. I’ve never heard of that technique before! It sounds interesting! Thanks!

  • motivationformomgmailcom

    Great post! I gave my daughter a pacifier after one week, and she was hooked ever since. I took her to the dentist right after she turned two, while she still had her pacifier for naps/bed, and my dentist said it’s actually better to give her the pacifier for a little longer, until she’s ready to give it up, than taking it away and risking that she might start sucking her thumb,

    • Samantha

      We are hoping it won’t interfere with her teeth. She hasn’t been to the dentist yet since since they said wait until after she’s out of her attachment phase, but we will see what they say!

  • Tiff|SpectrumSenseForMoms

    Before I became a mom, I never knew how big of an issue things like a pacifier would be! So many moms think it’s horrible for some reason, but for me, it was a given – my baby is new to the world and needs a way to soothe themself when I’m not able to hold them. So I have both of my babies pacifiers. My first son was SO attached to his, which was attached to a little giraffe stuffed animal, and he carried with him everywhere…until he was 7 months old. He suddenly ditched it one day and never looked back. My younger son never wanted a binky though. He sucked his fingers as a newborn, and eventually resorted to his bottle to sooth himself. As a mom, you just have to pick your battles. If it’s not actively destroying your child’s teeth, there’s no good reason to not give them something to soothe themselves. In your case, that’s tough, since she’s making blisters on her fingers! Yikes! Keep working on it, mama – that’s all you can do, and you’re doing just fine!

    • Samantha

      That’s the funny part. She also has a little panda stuffed animal she uses to soothe herself too. She has to bring it to playgroup each week to help her feel more comfortable. I don’t mind the stuffed animal. She loves playing with it, but the finger sucking… gahhh!

  • Holly

    It’s such a personal decision…all of kids used pacifiers and I don’t feel like we could live without them…but I understand why some people choose not to use them.

  • Kat Charles

    I have 4 kids, and 2 were finger suckers. I had 1 who used a paci, and let me tell you. I bought probably close to a dozen binkies before I found “the one.” Haha! We never got the chance to wean him off it. We lost it one day around the house, so we had to go cold turkey. When I found it a few days later, I just put it away. My youngest sucks her fingers at 2.5. With each child, I’ve become a little less concerned about it. I know she won’t do it forever. My 2nd sucked his fingers for a few months and stopped. My oldest just wanted to nurse.

  • lisajakesmomma

    I’m so glad my son took a pacifier. Granted, he was addicted to it for a long time, but I was eventually able to take it away. My niece sucked her thumb for the longest time. Drove my sister nuts.

  • Sally

    You can actually purchase a bitter solution from the chemist to put on the fingers, this should discourage the sucking. My brother hated it. My mum also hated he dummy. Unfortunately my sister stills sucks her fingers (just like your daughter) at 31 years old.

    • Samantha

      Oh wow! I never knew it could continue that old. I worry about doing the bitter solution since I know I would hate it, but we will see if we have to resort to that down the line. Thank you for bringing that option to my attention!

  • Avril

    Luckily my son was a pacifier fan and didn’t have a chance to start sucking his finger. When it came to pacifier weaning, I was sure it’s impossible because he was so addicted to a paci! But it turned out that there is a lot of methods, and I found them all in Susan Urban’s guide about weaning the pacifier entitled ‘how to help your child give up the pacifier.’ My midwife showed me the author’s website http://www.parental-love.com so that I could get the guide, and after reading, I knew which method will fit my son. Excellent guide with clear instructions. It just worked, and the problem was solved in 2 or 3 days

    • Caitlin

      This guide is the help I was looking for! It has been only 3 days, and it helped us get rid of pacifier, and my son was like most addicted ever! Thanks so much for sharing the link, haven’t heard of Urban’s guides before

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