Some children naturally find ways to self-soothe, sucking on their thumb, other fingers, maybe a favorite blanket or lovey, rubbing silky tags between their fingers. Children are very creative! Some children need a little support figuring out what works and feels good for them. Some children find great comfort in using a pacifier and some don’t. I know I did! I used a pacifier and when my parents took it away I started sucking my thumb. This is so embarrassing, I’ll share it anyway. I sucked my thumb until I was in the fourth grade! Not in public though, just at night because it helped me go to sleep. My parents really encouraged me to stop, I wore a glove at night (I took it off when I need to suck my thumb), and they bribed me with something really good (my mom and I can’t remember what it was, but I guess it want’s as good as my thumb!). I can’t remember what made me stop but I stopped sucking my thumb on my own time, not when anyone else wanted me too. If you give your child a pacifier or don’t, they will turn out just fine. I should be humble but I think I turned out pretty great and I was the only child out of the four of us that did NOT need braces.
So if you are deciding to give your child a pacifier think about your views on pacifiers. How do you feel about your child using a pacifier? Do you think they need one? Will they benefit from using one? What signs is your child showing you that is telling you to give them a pacifier?
If your child is using a pacifier and you want them to stop or limit their usage think about why? In the process explain to him what’s going on. “I know yesterday you got to use your pacifier all day. Today is different you will have your pacifier during nap and at night time” and validate how they are feeling. “I hear you really want your pacifier” or maybe tell a story about when your child has used their paci in the past. Even if you feel like your child doesn’t understand what you are saying, let them know what is happening, even the day before it happens. Most likely they are listening to you, understanding you or they will soon. Speaking it out loud makes you more aware of your choices, responses, actions, and the limits you set and why you set them.