When Did You Know Your Child Was Hooked on Their Pacifier?

Updated on December 15, 2008
B.H. asks from Burnsville, MN
10 answers

I'm just wondering when a baby usually becomes attached to a pacifer like when or how do you know their "attached" for awhile?

I ask this because my 1st child took one occasionally not a big thing for her and by 3mos. was DONE!

Now my 2mo.old takes one daily, far more than her sister did especially at night time her cranky time. She also trys to suck her hands/thumb alot which I discourage. I would rather her have a pacifer that I can eventually take away, I can't take her thumb away later.

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answers from Des Moines on

Some kids are more oral and like the pacifier to help soothe themselves. If you don't like the thumb sucking, I would just let it happen. All three of my kids took pacifiers and they are done with them not too long after they were two. I waited until their two year molars came in. Those teeth are viscious!

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answers from St. Cloud on

If your baby needs a paci then I say let her have it! My son needed to suck for a looong time. I was worried about taking it away but just before he turned 2 he bit a hole in it, said "yucky" and threw it away. Just like that!
Fingers are so much harder to wean. I have friends that are trying to get their nine year old to stop sucking her fingers. My hubby went to school with a girl that sucked her thumb well into the 7th grade!
Babies have a strong sucking reflex, some longer than others. It decreases the risk of SIDS by a huge amount.
I have to laugh when people get so upset about other peoples babies using pacifiers!



answers from Minneapolis on

My son used a pacifier quite a bit from birth to 4 months. Then from 4 months to 6 months, the rule was he could have it at naptime and bedtime, or "emergency" situations like a long car ride or church. At 6 months, the pacifier was gone for good. He fussed the first couple of nights, and then he was done.

My point is, newborns have a NEED to suck to calm themselves, whether it's the breast or a pacifier or their hands. I wouldn't worry about her being hooked at 2 months.

My pet peeve is seeing a toddler walking around with a pacifier, but don't feel like you are on some sort of slipper slope and you'll be bargaining with her when she's 3 to give it up. I read that until a baby is in the 4-6 month range, the only way they can calm themselves is by sucking, and I found that to be true for my son.

Also, I don't think your daughter is old enough to "get" why you are moving her hands away when she tries to suck. If this was my kid, I'd let her suck on her hands if she doesn't want the pacifier. I think thumb sucking is a whole other deal--I mean, unless you tie her hands behind her back, she's going to suck on her thumbs as long as she'd like--they're attached to her.



answers from Madison on

Hi B., My son is now 14 months old. From 6-12 months we started leaving it in his crib during the day, and he woudl only have it at nap and night times. At 12 months we went cold turkey and stopped giving it to him and made sure he didn't see it at bedtime. This didn't seem to phase him and he seemed to forget about it. I have heard from various people/books that they start there emotional attachment to it around 14-16 months, and by that point it becomes a habit/friend and is hard for them to let it go. If I were you I wouldn't worry about it until your daughter gets a little bit older!



answers from Madison on

Hi B.,

Well, I can only give you my own personal experience. I sucked my thumb until I was 8 years old -- my husband sucked his fingers until he was 6. It was important to both of us that our kids use a pacifier instead. As you pointed out, you can take away a pacifier. My son (now 3) took to the pacifier immediately. At age 1 1/2 he came down with a cold and didn't want the pacifier -- I used that time to take it away and never had an issue (got lucky, I suppose). My daughter wanted to suck her fingers/thumb and I really had to work to get her to take the paci, but she eventually did. She now uses the paci when she needs to suck (mostly after breastfeeding, sometimes when fussy and a little at night or naps). She doesn't seem to be extrememly attached to it, but also now does not suck her fingers. I'm hoping the paci will be easy to take away when she is ready (not needing/wanting to suck) -- maybe around the same time we quit breastfeeding (I'm planning at one year or so).
I hope this helps. Good luck!



answers from Cedar Rapids on

Well, I wouldn't worry about it at this age, they still have the sucking reflex and paci's are amazing for this. BUT - my girls are both very attached to their binks, my older daughter is three and still can't sleep without 2 binkies and my younger daughter is almost 18 months and isn't AS bad as her, she can sleep with one. But my plan is to go cold turkey after the first of the year for both of them.
So - moral of the story is that I would start to wean her from it around ten months if you're worried about it. OR not, because I think if I had a third child I would do the same thing again. A binky in the mouth to prevent or stop a public meltdown is awesome. :) (Just make sure to teach them to take the binky out of their mouth to talk :) that's what we do!)



answers from Minneapolis on

In my limited experience I would say your daughter is hooked on sucking on something. My 2 year old, when he was a baby didn't want anything but his pacifier or my finger, nothing else would do and he needed it for comforting and for sleeping. Now my daughter on the other hand (now 9 months old) is just now starting to like it when she gets fussy or wants to go to sleep but she doesn't wake up if she looses it like her brother did. I hope this helps. By the way, I agree about the Pacifier, you cannot take away any appendages, just objects.



answers from Milwaukee on

My son never took to a pacifier or any of his fingers. But my oldest daughter had a greater need to suck and took to the pacifier right away as well as sucking her two fingers. She did it pretty regularly until she was about 6 months old and then solely used the pacifier during naps and at night until about a year and a half when I took them away cold turkey. After two nights of on and off again sleep, she was fine.

I think that if your daughter wants her fingers, I'd give them to her. I actually think that children self wean from fingers more easily than they do pacifiers. But the most important thing is that your child be happy, content and comfortable at this age...and if the fingers do it, by all means, let her have them!



answers from Grand Forks on

My DS never took a nuk, he would spit it out. He started sucking on his fingers when he was about three months (he's 8 months now and has since moved on to his thumb) and I tried to discourage it also. I would pull his hand away and stick the nuk in his mouth and hold it so he couldn't spit it out. Then I realized he didn't like the nuk (or any other type of passifier) and that sucking on his fingers/thumb was his way of self-soothing. I know my DS will grow out of it eventually and so will your DD. It is completely normal for babies to suck their fingers/thumb and if they haven't grown out of it by the time they are two or three then there are ways for you to help them to stop (ie. different kinds of motivations, encouragement and praises).



answers from Lincoln on

My advice would be not to sweat it. All 3 of my children have loved their pacifiers. Not just loved but were extremely attached to their paci's! Two have successfully been weened at ages 2 1/2 and 3. They have no teeth problems or attachment issues. The haven't taken the third childs away and probably won't until age 3 unless she wants to sooner. I have been learning myself so much lately not to worry about all we really worry about...paci's, potty training, etc.. Our kids are going to do great and turn out great regardless of how long they wore diapers or sucked on pacifiers. Good Luck!

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