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With my first baby, I obsessed over pacifiers. It didn’t help that when Dylan was about 2 months old, some woman came up to me on the street and said, “I hope you are going to get rid of that.” She meant the pacifier. Not the baby.

Yo, people on random streets – we don’t care what you think!

Except I did.

I talked passionately about the pros and cons of pacifiers with anyone.  I mean, why else did I get a graduate degree if not to prepare me for the rigorous debate over how infants soothe themselves?!

At 7 months old, I got rid of Dylan’s pacifier. We were done.

Next came Summer. Summer would not take a pacifier. Damn her.

Then the twins. Chase had mad reflux and a pacifier really calmed him down. Harlowe would take it too when she felt like it. But before a year, the pacifiers were gone. I had watched too many parents struggle to get their 3 and 4 year olds off the things. It’s a tough addiction. I didn’t want to go through it.

So before the twins’ first birthday, I threw every last pacifier in the trash. Except for one that I found in the pocket of a winter coat about a year later. I left it there. To this day, it reminds me of my babies when they were babies.

Then Cash came along. Now and then he’ll take a pacifier but he’s not super jazzed about them.

My relationship with the pacifier has gone from something I feared to something I respect. What I came to love about them is that you can take them away at some point. I  was a thumb sucker as a kid and you can’t remove your thumb. At least not easily.

I found it very hard to quit sucking my thumb and didn’t want my kids dealing with that. I wanted them to live in a better America where they didn’t have to fear getting caught sucking their thumb at the bus stop.

But I guess Cash isn’t consulting me.

cash sucking thumb

That kid loves his thumb.

mama bird notes:

Here’s what else I’ve been doing in lieu of unpacking.  Did you know that very soon in Germany, new parents won’t have to pick a gender for their child? I weigh in on Lifetime Moms.

And have you liked The Mama Bird Diaries on Facebook? Click here and be happy.

19 Responses to pacifier addiction

  • Kristina Dorfman says:

    Cash is delicious. He looks so cute with his chubby wrists and baby hands and his thumb jammed in his mouth. So sweet. Almost makes me wish I had a baby… actually, no it doesn’t, but it makes me want to give Cash a big cuddle.

  • Tracy says:

    ugh the dreaded thumb…my son had to have an appliance installed in his mouth when he was 6 to try and stop him from sucking because he was pushing his front teeth out of his mouth..he will definitely need braces to fix the damage :/
    I WISH we would have given him a pacifier!!

  • Tammy M. says:

    I had/have a thumb sucker. He is 12 years old and we are still dealing with the habit. I finally have resorted to buying the new, extra-long band aids to wrap around his thumb. Hoping the taste and texture deter the thumb from staying in his mouth when it decides to wonder up and slip in. It is amazing to see how he doesn’t even think about sucking his thumb. I can stand and watch him be focused on something and that hand just lifts to his face and in goes the thumb….. For his sake, I hope it never occurs at school or seen while he is sleeping at 4-H camp!

    Tammy M.

  • bitsy says:

    Oh Lord, the thumb. My girl child refused to give up the thumb for a very loooong, embarrassing time. I mean she was really old. And we tried, believe me, everything. That girl was shopping for bras with her thumb in her mouth. But hey, now she’s a very well-adjusted college student who doesn’t suck her thumb anymore. So when they tell you don’t worry, he won’t go off to college sucking his thumb, it’s true! Just don’t believe them when they say don’t worry, he won’t go off to middle school sucking his thumb.

  • British American says:

    Awww. My middle kid was the thumb sucker. (After we tried everything to make our firstborn high-need daughter take a pacifier – she wouldn’t.) He gave up his thumb sucking during his preschool year. He was 5. He used to suck it in the car on the way home from preschool, since we told him he couldn’t suck it at school. He loved it at bedtime too. He just decided one day that he didn’t want to suck it anymore. (Our 3rd kid is our one pacifier kid. I managed to take it away about 3 months before he turned 2. I always thought kids should be done with pacifiers by around 12 months. Not so when it was my own kid!)

  • Jeneen says:

    I was pushing the pacifier because I didn’t want my son to be a thumb sucker like I was. I don’t think I quit until I was 8 and I was lead to believe that I had to get braces because of it.

    But he started sucking his thumb as soon as he had enough control of his hands and honestly, it was awesome. He slept longer because he could soothe himself and not need me to find the paci when he dropped it.

    The reality is, all my siblings had to get braces and even if my kid didn’t suck his thumb he’ll most likely need braces anyway.

    I know he’ll outgrow it eventually and I’m just not even going to bother sweating it. Since fall TV is about to start and I need all my anxiety energy for that 😉

  • hokgardner says:

    I sucked my thumb until I was 8, and I was desperate to have at least one thumb-sucking baby. But none of them cooperated. They didn’t even like pacifiers. Somewhere, I went very wrong.

  • Joanna says:

    I loathe the pacifier debate. Both my kids loved/love their paci, I didn’t take my sons until he was a smidge over two and daughter still has hers at 19 months… I think at two I’ll take hers. I do try to make sure she only uses it in her crib but I won’t lie, it doesn’t always happen that way. My whole take on it is it’s got to be a big, scary world for someone so small and if the pacifier soothes them then by all means they should have it. Plus, teeth, there are teeth forcing themselves out of their little tiny gums, if I had that going on I’d really want something, anything to make me feel better. But I get tons of grief from the anti-paci world, I try to mute it out but it gets annoying. The funny thing about all this is my sons teeth are fine and my daughters already been to the dentist, he’s okay with her pacifier use as long as I stop it around two.
    I swear thumb-sucking is genetic… and Cash is a cutie!!

  • Cara says:

    That’s adorable. He’s such a cutie! Aria sucks on the two middle fingers of her left hand. She looks like she’s making a “hook ’em horns” sign. 🙂 I sucked on my first two fingers as a kid, genetic?

  • christie says:

    I have a 4 year old pointer finger sucker and a 9 month old pacifier baby. She only uses it when in her crib though- that is the only place we keep it and she doesn’t fuss without it at other times.
    My 4 year old, on the other hand, sucks her finger ALL.THE.TIME. As a behavior specialist you’d think I’d know what to do, but no. Nothing really seems to work. I suppose she’ll just grow out of it. Or she’ll not and get teased and then stop. We’ll see!

  • Betsy says:

    Personally, I do not care if a child uses a thumb or paci for comfort. Mine did not / would not use either. There are times as a parent that you just NEED them to take/ use something to soothe themselves. We tried everything. We even tried pacis, toys and lovies to get her to soothe herself. She finially settled on a stuffed animal- at the age of 4.

  • Sarah says:

    My little guy wanted to be a thumb sucker when he slept, so we put little mittens on him. They’d be damp when he woke up, but he stopped sucking after a while and it was never an issue.

  • Leigh Ann says:

    With the twins we had one thumb sucker and one paci user. I just stopped giving it to her around 18 months, and she was fine. Never asked for it or seemed to affect her. The thumb sucker…we’re working on it now that she’s in kinder and starting to lose her teeth. Rumor has it that my mom subconsciously sucked her thumb into adulthood.

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kelcey kintner