Sunday, February 13, 2011

Why I don't discourage thumb sucking.

And we have a winner! Gunnar slept well in his sleep sack last night! And for the first time in a long time, he didn't travel all over his crib.  So I think he actually got a better night's sleep.  I just wonder if we kept him swaddled for too long.  For 6 weeks he's escaped every swaddle known to man and we just kept trying to put him in a tighter swaddle....turns out, the kid just wanted to be FREE.

Last night when he needed comfort he found his middle fingers. Some mothers might disagree with this choice. How many times have I heard, "You can take away a pacifier, but you can't take away their thumb?"  Well thank God I can't take away his thumb! That's the best part about's always there. It doesn't fall on the floor or get lost on a road trip. I don't have to search for a new one when the pacifier falls in between the car seats. I don't have to clean it off when it falls on the sidewalk or lands in a glass of wine (I've seen it happen).  It's right there...on his hand, ready and waiting, no washing or mother required. Now I know many will say "oh but think about all the germs on his hands" well my husband would say..."so what! Germs are good...let's expose him to all of the germs that we can so he can be immune to them later."  And I know there are concerns about teeth growing in funny...but most kids stop sucking their thumbs/fingers before kindergarten and that's long before their adult teeth come in so I think he'll be okay.

I was a thumb sucker. I turned out okay. I actually had pretty straight teeth (many people wonder why I got braces at all, I guess it was for a very slight under bite).  Thumb/finger sucking is self soothing. If my child can sooth himself without me having to rush around and do it for him...I am ALL FOR IT! Children who can self soothe generally have great imaginations and have a great ability to entertain themselves, they also tend to be quite creative.  Why wouldn't I want this for my child?

Now I'm not trying to negate the wonders of the pacifier. I know from my experiences as a nanny how wonderful that little piece of silicone really can be. And I love the adorable ways parents are coming up with to get rid of the pacifiers these days, and it is a benefit that you can take it away.
But when you have a baby like mine who screams bloody murder every time you stick a nuk in his mouth and then proceeds to gag and act like it's choking him, why force it?

So I am perfectly content with my finger sucking boy...I hope it brings him oodles of independent playtime, a delectable imagination and a sprinkling of creativity on the side. Suck on Gunnar...mommy loves you!


  1. YEAH! Go natural, girl! Works every time! Good boy, Gunnar for self-soothing your way into a good night's sleep!

  2. I sucked my thumb until I was 11. My teeth did come in a little screwy, but I would've needed braces anyway, so no great loss there.