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Thread: Sucking fingers vs dummy

  1. #1
    Sal Guest

    Question Sucking fingers vs dummy

    Hi there, I've just read the thread that Tulip posted about dummy use, and now I'm wondering whether it is better for bub to suck his fist/fingers/thumb or the dummy? I never intended to introduce a dummy (midwife did it during the night whilst I was in hospital ). So we've been using the dummy, he wants it when he's tired and will whinge if it falls out before he's solidly asleep. But for the last 4 weeks he's (re)discovered his hands, and when he sticks them in his mouth we put the dummy in instead, not sure why but thought a dummy would be better than fingers.

    What're your thoughts?


  2. #2

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    I'm really torn on this - my DD is 18 months and a total thumbsucker Her baby teeth are crooked from it, they came through straight and now one of them is already out of alignment. Makes me worry for her big teeth

    I was always a "no dummies" person, that lasted a week after she was born. I gave her one because she wanted to suck, but she ditched it at 6 months as soon as she had control of her hands.

    So here I am today with a totally commited thumbsucker....I'm letting her go for now but it bothers me a bit, I think I'll try to encourage the dummy more with the new baby.
    Sorry I'm not much help

  3. #3

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    I'm with my mum on this one (LOL.. doesn't happen often!). If Tallon starts sucking on his thumb or fingers, I'm going to introduce a dummy, since you can throw a dummy away, but you can't throw away a thumb! Altho mum is already hassling me to introduce the dummy but I don't want to). But if he does start sucking on his fingers I'll consider it.

    The way my mum got me off the dummy was she didn't replace my last one, and I sucked it until it was flat and horrible, and one day I just went "yuck!" and didn't want it any more. hehe.

  4. #4

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    Having had experience with both, my first two had dummies, which we were able to take off them when they were 6 months and 12 months respectively. Paige on the other hand has sucked her thumb from birth and refused to take a dummy. She only sucks it when she is tired and touch wood it has not misaligned her teeth, but yes there is the problem of trying to get a thumb sucking child to stop. We are happy to let her suck her thumg for comfort, and really don't know when we will try to discourage her from doing it or if we will let her decide.

    I have heard of people putting the nail biters polish on their kids thumb nails to stop them, but I'm not sure I'd like to do that to her. We'll just see how it goes.

  5. #5

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    I've always gone with whatever the baby wants. So when Matilda had a really strong sucking reflex, I gave her the dummy & she loved it. She stopped using it around 13 months and she only used it at night & sleeps.

    I was scared of having a thumbsucker actually because my brother was one & sucked his thumb until he was 10. At 12 he had to have major reconstructive surgery to his jaw and jawline & teeth which the surgeon blamed on thumb sucking...so our family always believed that. I don't know now that it was all attributed to that... but I guess thats why I am a bit biased.

  6. #6
    Sal Guest

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    ah thx jillian, what a rookie i am

  7. #7

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    Sal

    I introduced the dummy to Lucy when she was two days old after noticing how much she liked to suck on her fingers/hand/wrist when she'd completely finished feeding. The midwives were very cautious and only 'let' me continue once they'd watched a couple of feeds and the sucking afterwards. The paedeatrician then pointed out that she had blisters on both wrists from sucking on them in the womb!!

    I figure if she sucks hard enough to give herself blisters it probably can't hurt to replace that with a dummy...

    She'll happily suck on her hand if the dummy isn't available, but she definitely prefers the dummy now, she purses her lips and 'looks' for it.

    A side note, since it isn't related to the thumbs/fingers, but since she likes to comfort suck so much on the dummy she doesn't like comfort sucking on me, thank goodness. My nipples are very grateful...

  8. #8

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    we have a thumbsucker here and I LOVE IT. it never falls on the floor, I cant loose it and it doesnt need replacing.
    Jordan only sucks his thumb when he is tired and to fall asleep. We tried the dummy however he spits it out and replaces it with his thumb so I figure he doesnt like it.
    I am sure he will wean off the thumb when he is ready. I dont have the heart to pull it away from him.

  9. #9

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    I would definately go with what the baby wants. Personally Id prefer a thumbsucker...its there as a comfort whenever they need it.

    Jo

  10. #10
    Sal Guest

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    Well MIles still puts his fingers in his mouth, but for some reason the dummy helps him fall to sleep better (I wrestle his fingers out of his mouth, pop the dummy in and then sort of swaddle him to keep his hands away)...I would be very happy if he fell asleep sucking his fingers/thumb but it seems to keep him awake. Good to know that if he does eventually prefer to suck his thumb that I won't worry about him doing that. I agree it would be easier than buying dummies!

  11. #11
    julesr Guest

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    As a baby I refused a dummy and sucked my fingers until I was about 5 or 6. I actually remember wanting to stop because I thought it was so babyish but what tended to happen is that I would wake up in the morning with my fingers resting on my lips and they would be all pruney from the sucking! I do honestly believe it had just become a habit rather than still needing comfort.

    I broke the habit by myself eventually (which my Mum was pleased about - she had taken the view that I would grow out of it myself when I was ready) but I wound up with terribly crooked/bucky teeth. I am convinced that it was due to the finger sucking because my palate and teeth fitted perfectly around the favourite fingers prior to my getting braces. It was all fixed with orthodontic treatment and now I have lovely teeth but I will never forget how embarrassed I was about my terrible teeth and did cop quite a bit of teasing at school and I still cringe looking back at old photos. I actually really wish she had tried something like nailbiters solution on my fingers, although I know that some believe that this would fly in the face of gentle parenting - in this case, I think that something like this that might cause short term discomfort is far outweighed by a longer term benefit.

    Now I'm already worried about my baby and potential finger sucking and given my experience, if he got to toddler stage, in my judgement was a secure child, and was still finger sucking I'd be trying to help break the habit. I'm hoping that if he needs to comfort suck, he'll take the dummy because the teat is flexible, fingers are not, and therefore fingers are more likely to change the shape of his mouth.

  12. #12

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    My son had a dummy and he has quite an over bite and will have braces soon.

    This time around I didn't introduce it and she is not a thumb/finger sucker either. Mind you she does love her booby.

  13. #13
    cazoraz Guest

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    I was open-minded about dummys before my first baby was born, I figured if we needed one I'd just nick up the shops and buy one.

    Turns out Lucy didnt need one, she was a great sleeper, didnt need comforting really, and she discovered her thumb after about 2months. She sucked it whenever she got tired on/off until she was about 2yr. I haevnt seen her suck it for ages now, she's almost 3. I am concerned about how to wean her off it but she did that all by herself in the end

    Coleman is a much more clingier baby, always wnts cuddles and extra breastfeeds. We actually bought a dummy and tried it with him when he was a few days old but he didnt want a bar of it. He has never been a thumb sucker either, prefers me (gee thanks) but he only wakes up wanting me if he's teething or sick so I cant handle that.

    xxxCaz

  14. #14

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    Sal, WM does both. He was chomping on his hands during ultrasounds and right after birth. I have given him a dummy since he arrived home. He still chews on his hands but that has become more of a hunger cue than anything. He now uses the dummy in between times as a comfort thing.

    I think you go with what works.

  15. #15

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    My sister is a dental nurse and when Elijah was born, she told me about thumbsucking and how it makes it more likely they will have crooked teeth. Luckily both of mine have never been thumbsuckers though.
    Kelly xx

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  16. #16

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    Either-or. Both my children love the dummy. Now that my son is two, I'd like for him to give the dummy up sooner rather than later, mainly for the sake of his teeth. I just remember when the "dummy fairy" took my dummies away though, and I don't want there to be an evil fairy involved. (I started to suck my thumb as soon as my dummy was gone anyway). I got a great piece of advice from a couple of women from mothers group the other day, who said, let him chew a hole in it and decide to give it up for himself (cutting off any loose bits), instead of buying new ones. I think that's a great gradual way to go about it, and it should be gradual enough that he wont be tempted by his thumb.

  17. #17

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    Sal, Lucy has started trying to chew her fingers at the same time as her dummy when she is falling asleep, but all that does is make her dummy fall out and then she cries. I wrap her arms so she can only get her fingers there and that seems to work for her.

    I will happily throw the dummy away if she starts to prefer sucking her fingers. I have heaps of problems with my teeth and I never sucked anything and DP also needed braces, so I figure she's probably genetically cursed with her teeth anyway!

  18. #18

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    I don't think it has to be one or the other. Jack would never take the dummy and has never sucked thumb or fingers either (now 17mo). But he did used to play with my hair when bf and now does that when drinking milk and sometimes when going to sleep - maybe this is his comfort thing that he associates with sucking instead of actually sucking.

    Melanie

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