This or That: Pacifier or Thumb Sucker

Dum, dum, dum…the dreaded debate! I will admit. I was adamant about making sure Parker got hooked on a paci (our term for pacifier) over her thumb. I’ve heard horror stories about thumb sucking children whose teeth were all jacked up or took serious bribing to stop the bad habit.

I have vivid memories of my younger sister getting bribed with a light-up, singing electric toothbrush when we were younger if she was able to stop sucking her thumb. Our mom put it on the top shelf in the bathroom closet, so she could see it, and it could be used as motivation for her to stop. That was after the finger nail polish remover and putting her hands in gloves…nothing was working! Alas, the toothbrush did the trick.

Even before Parker arrived, I felt like I was getting everyone’s opinions about this thrown at me. First, it was our birth class telling us that pacifiers confused breastfeeding babies and it should be introduced weeks after they are born. Then we were given an abundance of free pacifiers at the hospital (the same people who told us not to introduce them yet…). And as soon as she arrived, we found her sneaking her thumb in her mouth. Everyone was giving us the “don’t let her do that speech.” What’s a parent to do?

So on a united front, Ryan and I decided that we wanted her to suck on a paci. You can throw away a paci but not exactly get rid of a thumb, right? That was our argument. Plus, the looming need for braces in her future (since I wore braces myself) haunted me in my sleep. And it worked…to start. Parker got hooked on the paci. But not just any paci. It was a paci saga there for a while. She didn’t like any of the usual brands: no Philips or Avent or even the Wubbanub was good enough for little Miss P. She got hooked in the Nip brand pacifier, not to be confused with Nuk, which are almost impossible to find unless you order them online from Germany (yes, Germany…apparently Parker has expensive taste) or stumble upon them by happenstance at a store who has a specialty shipment in.

So, that was fun trying to chase down enough of those to have one in ever room since you can never find a paci when you need one (thank goodness for Amazon Prime!). And then all of a sudden, the thumb began appearing more and more. First, it was in her sleep, and who could blame her? It was comforting and oh so cute to see her snoozing and sneak it in. Then, she started pushing out her paci and replacing it with her thumb. We fought and fought it until finally we just gave up. Parker is a full-blown thumb sucker!

The girl is actually quite talented. She’ll even try to suck her thumb while nursing! And as much as I thought I would be mortified that she was sucking her thumb, I’ve actually started to like it. Why? First of all, it’s cute. Just the pure innocence of thumb sucking and the nostalgia of my younger sister snuggling her silk-lined blanket with her thumb in her mouth is enough to make me smile.¬† But the selfish parent in me loves the self-soothing aspect. There’s no crying in the middle of the night because her paci fell out and no clips on her clothing to keep it close when she’s in the car seat. It’s just always readily available.

So if you are a thumb sucking-shaming parent, shame away. I have fully converted into a thumb sucking supporter. What’s your take on the debate? I’d love to hear your argument!

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