When I had my first baby, I was so incredibly happy when she fell in love with her pacifier at the age of 3 days old. It was a lifesaving device for me (and her!). When she was a newborn, her pacifier kept her calm for a few minutes while I got ready for her feeding – before she entered into a full, hysterical crying fit.
Two and a half years after my first daughter was born, my twins were born. My older daughter still used her pacifier, and I didn’t mind. It seemed to calm her at night, and it was helpful to her when her life was turned upside down due to the arrival of her newborn baby sisters.
Just like her older sister, one of my twins immediately fell in love in love with her pacifier when she was a few days old. Again, a huge lifesaver for me. The other twin hated the pacifier and refused to keep it in her mouth for more than a second. But by the time she was a week old, the non-pacifier-loving twin discovered that two fingers on her left hand were perfect for sucking. I was immeasurably relieved when she discovered her built-in calming device!
Fast forward a few years…. When my older daughter was five years old, she was still obsessed with her pacifier! When my twins became five, one of them also still loved her pacifier… and the finger-sucking twin had those fingers in her mouth ALL THE TIME!
Finally, when I felt the girls were too old to continue with their habits, I magically made all of the pacifiers in the house “disappear” in the middle of the night. Poof! They were gone. The next day, I felt horrible. The crying fits were long and loud. It took a few weeks for their pacifier habits to finally break – and those weeks were not easy on any of us.
Breaking my daughter’s finger-sucking habit was not nearly as “easy” as breaking my other children’s pacifier habits. Why? Because you can’t exactly remove a kid’s fingers from her hand in order to get her to stop sucking them. We tried begging, pleading, bribing, and rubbing her fingers in yucky-tasting foods… and nothing worked. At age seven, she was still sucking her fingers (even at school!). Finally, we brought her to an orthodontist because it appeared that her teeth were shifting in a strange way due to her finger sucking habit… and he told her that she must absolutely stop – or she’d have to wear some sort of unpleasant-looking orthodontic device in her mouth. This idea scared her. And she stopped sucking that night!
Pacifiers can be extremely helpful for many reasons, but the habit can be hard to break. Finger and thumb sucking is even more difficult to stop. Do your babies use pacifiers or suck their fingers/thumbs? How do you plan on eventually breaking their habits?