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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.
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.
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.
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?