October 13th, 2008
10:47 AM ET

Ban the bink?

By Shahreen Abedin
CNN Medical Senior Producer

My husband and I recently took our baby to visit our hometown, Dallas, Texas, where his grandparents still live. We met up with many of their old friends, tons of "aunties" who couldn’t stop cooing over our little tyke who somehow already knows how to work a crowd.

I was a bit annoyed, however, when one of my mom’s friends tried to shame me for letting our baby suck on his pacifier. “Tsk, tsk. It’s bad for him” she admonished - she whom I haven’t seen in about 10 years. I blew her off; we get all kinds of unsolicited input, and I’ve learned to ignore most of it. But this one continues to irk me.

Her fear: that the baby will become addicted to his bink, and then one day, it’s hello orthodontist! She’s not the only one I’ve encountered with this view. Several of the nannies whom I interviewed were adamantly against pacifier use. Some were openly critical of it even though we had just met minutes before. So much stigma.

I’ve read all the pros and cons on the topic and I am unconvinced that it’s going to become a problem for us. We use it only when he’s going down to sleep, and we don’t let him keep it in his mouth for more than a couple of minutes after he awakens.

Some say that it’s better to let him use the bink instead of sucking his fingers, because at least you can take the bink away but once he’s used to thumb sucking, it’s a lot harder to halt that habit. Besides, pacifiers have been associated with lowered risks of SIDS .

And, they really, truly help our wee one sleep better. Dr. Harvey Karp, author of the parental lifesaver “The Happiest Baby on the Block”, includes sucking on a bink as one of the 5 “S’s” that help replicate the comforting experience of being in the womb for babies who are in their first months of life in the real world. Even though our baby is 10 months old, it still works like a switch that immediately helps him relax and melt into slumber. In fact, we didn’t give our baby a pacifier at first until we realized how much it helps to calm him, especially when he’s fussing in the car or has become so overtired that he can’t fall asleep anymore. Plus, I was breastfeeding back then and I read that it just works better not to confuse that little mouth near the beginning.

IMHO, getting baby to sleep is hard enough for most parents (except the luckiest among us), so I think, why not rely on some help from that heavenly silicone soother? Then again, we’ve all seen those 3- and 4-year olds, old enough to go potty by themselves, but unwilling to give up their binks.

Do you think it’s ok to use a pacifier and if so, how long should you let your kid use it? How do you help him let go of it when you decide it’s time? Have any of you forgone the passie and let your kids self-soothe with their fingers and if so, did you run into any problems or did it work like a charm?

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soundoff (56 Responses)
  1. Jennifer

    In our family we love the Bink. We even joke about what our son dreams about.....binks. We use it as a soother and for night time bed use for our 4 month old son. I am a firm believer in the bink vs. the thumb. I can always take away a bink but how can you remove a thumb? I have friends that scold us for using the bink because their children have taken to the thumb. But their son is 3 and still sucking the thumb! He does it all day long. We plan to ween the bink by age 2 and to use it for only soothing and bed time. I think it is an exceptional tool and when used appropriately it is a perfect invention for babies.

    October 13, 2008 at 11:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. gary

    i think it depends on the child. my son stopped using his 'bink' when he was about 6 or 7 months. it was not something that we decided for him, he did on his own. even when trying to give it to him shortly after that to sooth during teething nights or to sleep, he would just spit it out or refuse it completely. he does not suck his thumb either. i think if you can comfort your child in any way to make them feel better, then do it. some kids have a favorite toy to cuddle up with or a blanket, others their 'bink.' do what works for the child while instilling good habits along the way.

    October 13, 2008 at 12:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Megan

    Our daughter had her pacifier until she was 2.5 years old. While I would have preferred her not going quite that long with it, it worked miracles with her as a baby. She wanted to comfort-suck all the time and if she hadn't had a pacifier, she probably would have found her thumb – a much harder habit to break. She slept through the night very early on and I think having the pacifier helped with that. I noticed it was mostly the "older" generations who had an issue with it. If we have any more children I'll have no qualms about giving him/her a pacifier too.

    October 13, 2008 at 14:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Ronda

    I had 4 children. 3 used the "binky". I started weaning them off the binky when they started walking. The first couple of days were a little hairy – but aside from a few temper tantrums, we all came out fine. The 4th child was another story. She hated the binky – but cried all the time. I foolishly showed her the thumb. She was about 3 weeks old. She looked SO cute....She's now 13. She still sucks her thumb at night to go to sleep. Her teeth are a mess. She's just getting set for braces. First will be a pallette extender because her overbite is so severe, her front teeth are almost at an angle rather than rounded. She may have to wear braces all through high school. She tries very hard not to suck her thumb, and we've tried all the nasty tasting things on the thumb. She has even fallen asleep without sucking her thumb, only for the thumb to find it's way to her mouth during the night. Showing her that thumb was the worst mistake I could have made.

    October 13, 2008 at 15:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Craig at Balanced Immune Health

    My opinion – The bink wins, no contest. After raising twin girls, I can attest to the notion that getting sleep, for both you and the babies, is MUCH more important that debating about teeth alignment or addiction potential. The bink is a phase, and can be eliminated easily. Mental health is much more important

    October 13, 2008 at 16:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. GS

    Despite everyone's worries about a child being hopelessly addicted to the bink..it's doubtful he will still have it when he starts kindergarten, and a pretty sure bet it will be totally forgotten when he reaches college. People worry too much. Soothe the baby without guilt.
    My grandson was a binky lover..one of those kids who didn't give his up till well after potty training. He's 5 now and the bink is forgotten, even though there were plenty of people who thought he would never let it go and worried about what his attachment to the thing was doing to his psyche.
    His teeth and his psyche are both fine. No harm done. He was bon with a giant size case of acid reflux and the only thing that seemed to help him was the bink. I can't imagine not giving a baby whatever you can to soothe them.

    October 14, 2008 at 03:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Salma

    My sister, at age 26, *still* sucks on her thumb, but she made it out with perfectly straight teeth.

    Most kids seem to wean themselves off of their fingers/pacifiers without any urging from their parents. If not, I don't think there's anything wrong with just going cold turkey. A week of difficult bed times and then the whole thing will be forgotten.

    October 14, 2008 at 05:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Melinda

    I did not give either of my 2 children the Bink for the same reasons everyone has already mentioned. However my children are now 13 and 8 years old and are both receiving orthodontic care. I have to admit I was lucky niether child wanted it nor did they suck their thumbs. Now I babysit a 4 month old who will go for his thumb if no binky is present. Each child is different. You have done research you have wieghed the options and no one can be a better parent to your child then you. Do what you feel is best.

    October 14, 2008 at 07:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Becky

    Is is sad that you have already given up breastfeeding. It works even better than a paci to calm a baby and get them to sleep. I know I am the mother of three. One used a paci and the other two refused one.

    October 14, 2008 at 09:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. NursingToddler

    We offered a pacifier but my son refused it after a couple weeks. He was adamant about his refusal. He is a breastfed baby and nothing would do for him as a replacement to Mommy. Never took to finger/thumb sucking either. I've always been on the hook for helping him relax thru nursing, holding, backrubs, etc.

    October 14, 2008 at 11:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Dave C.

    Im 23 years old and had a pacificer till i was about 2. I have never had to go to the orthodintis or had anything wrong with the alignment of my teeth. The issue with kids teeth getting out of wack is that once the pacificer is taken away they resort to sucking on their fingers, a doll, something else.... a pacificer does not harm a childs mouth if you let them use it in moderation.... its the kids that you see that are 4 and 5 walking around with a pacificer or the 1-2 year olds that ALWAYS have it in their mouth that have issues as an adult/teenager

    October 14, 2008 at 13:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Melissa

    My son sucks his thumb. I love it! He cannot lose his thumb and while his thumb may get dirty at times I don't think it's nearly as bad as what dirt a bink would pick up. When my son plays, he need both hands and therefore does not suck his thumb. Binks on the other hand are hands-free. I think thumb sucking has made my son more independent because he's never had to rely on anyone else to find his thumb. How traumatizing it must be for a child to suddenly have his/her best friend (bink) taken away just because mom/dad didn't think they needed it any more. How can thumb sucking affect teeth. Baby teeth fall out anyway.

    October 14, 2008 at 16:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Adriana

    I gave both of my children binks when they were babies. My oldest is now four and when she was about 9 months old we only let her have the bink in the car, at church (how else do you keep a squirming baby quiet during a 1 hour mass), and in the crib. At just over a year we took it away. We had one rough night and then it was done and never asked for again. With my second he was again just over a year and somehow we managed to lose all of the binks except the one left at the babysitters. That was just the night b/c we weren't going to go out and buy a new one. I think the bink is great but I think that there are a lot of kids that really are too old for it. Last year one of my daughter's preschool friends had a bink. He had it until he got to school and as soon as he got buckeled into his carseat his mom gave it back to him. I think the older they get the harder it is to take it away so I think it is kind of like a bandaid take it fast when they are young instead of trying to let it go too long.

    October 14, 2008 at 16:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. BC

    I didn't use a pacifier at all, for the following reasons:
    1) I felt that the pacifier confuses babies that are breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is difficult enough without confusing the baby on the latch.
    2) I watched many parents pick up the pacifer after the baby drops it on the ground, and stick it back in the babies mouth, 'yuck', that is unsanitary and disgusting.

    October 14, 2008 at 16:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Lynne

    My pediatrician just told us at our 6month check up that we should be weaning our daughter from her pacifier between 6 and 8 months. (she is 6.5 now) She seemed to think this was a much easier time. She told us to replace it with a security blanket with a "head" on it. My daughter seems so small to be without it and it works so nicely as a calming tool. I never really got a choice of whether to give her one in the first place. She was in the NICU for 3 weeks and they are the ones who gave it to her first. I tried watching what she did if she didn't have the pacifier. What I noticed is she sucks her fingers. It seems the "bink" will be much easier to break than the fingers/thumb, so we are not weaning and keeping the "bink". Good Luck with your decision. You will do what's best for you and the family!

    October 14, 2008 at 18:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Twilight

    My little boy loved to suck and liked to make *me* his personal pacifier, so I decided he could have a paci. It was great and lucky for me, he gave it up on his own (now at 20 months he'll suck his thumb for about a minute when he's going down to sleep). My mom used them with me and my sister and she just pre-determined when she would take it away, then she did, and we lived with it, no trauma here! 🙂 Both my sister and I had orthodontic work, but I don't think it had anything to do with the pacifiers as our teeth weren't horribly messed up (I had an overbite and I'm not even really sure what was wrong with my sister's teeth... they always looked fine to me.)

    October 14, 2008 at 20:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Karen

    I was adamently against pacifiers, that is, until my son was born. While we were still in the hospital, he showed an intense need to suck. I had to decide whether to give him a pacifier or to be his pacifier. (I was breastfeeding.) I opted for it...and jokingly called it his 'plug.' He relinquished it at 18 months with no fuss.

    October 14, 2008 at 23:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Ainee

    You've done your homework, trusted your instinct, and so congratulations. I am confident on review that we did the right thing - we used a binky. Our daughter was attached to the binky (only used for sleep times), but after she turned 2 we decided it was time to give it up. We waited until an easy week (i.e., not the start of school, not a stressful time, etc.) and then explained that the pacifier fairy needed the pacifiers for new babies now that our daughter was a big girl. She understood, and we put the pacifiers in a box for the fairy. And the fairy came, took the pacifiers, and left a "big girl" present to say thank you. Our daughter cried at naptime and evening for a few minutes for the first three days, and we just reassured her and reminded her about the paci fairy and the new babies that needed her pacifiers, and showed her how proud we are of her. After three days, she never looked back.

    A pacifier is not permanent; it is always reversible. And a lot of benefit can come from its use versus very little downside. If your baby likes it, I'd say go with that.

    October 15, 2008 at 01:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Nikki

    My son used a paci until he started walking....I personally kinda cringe when I see kids that are walking still sucking on pacis and bottles – just my preference. That first year with paci made life a lot more bearable though! My first child would not use a paci and he is the one we have maxed orthodontal insurance on by age of 9....the one that used the paci has no teeth issues at all...go figure!

    October 15, 2008 at 11:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Melissa

    Honestly I think it just depends on your child and yourself. If you see that your child is becoming emotionally attached to it (meaning that they use it all the time or at least need to carry it with them), you might need to try to get rid of it. My niece is 7 and she still takes hers with her to the 2nd grade and it has been a big problem. In her case, it does for her what a teddy bear or blanket does for another child and she wants it with her all the time.

    In the case of your child, it seems to be mostly just a sleep thing, so I don't see why it's such a big deal. A pacifier is WAY better than thumb sucking as many of the pacifiers today are created purposely to try to prevent as much orthodontic issues as possible – unlike the thumb. Plus, just by preventing pacifier use is not a guarantee they won't have orthodontal issues – I never used one as a baby or sucked my thumb but I still had braces (twice). A lot of it is genetic, however a friend of mine has a 4 year old daughter who had good, straight teeth when they first came in, but they are now a mess and it's quite obvious that it's from sucking her thumb (severe overbite on her upper teeth).

    My daughter is 16 months, never used a pacifier after her first week home (she just never really liked it), chewed on her fingers during her teething stages, but that's about it. My son is 6 weeks old and he has used one practically every night when he is sleeping, so it's a possibility he may use it for a long period – we'll see.

    As far as the nannies go, I think you need to find someone who is interested in helping to raise the child the way YOU see fit (you are still their parent!!) and not based on their beliefs. We had a lot of issues with that too. Some people think they are replacing you as the parent (beliefs and lifestyle included), when they should be focused on what you want for your children.

    Your son is 10 months old and should be able to sleep without it by now. Try putting him to sleep without it and see how he does. If he absolutely won't sleep without it, you'll need to make a decision – He is definitely attached and probably won't give it up on his own so do you let him keep it longer or get rid of it now? If he is fussy but eventually goes to sleep on his own, you might want to try to get rid of it before he becomes too attached. If he seems fine one night but fussy another night, maybe you could wean him off gradually – only give it to him when he seems overly difficult to put to sleep? Anyway, those are just my suggestions... Good luck to you!

    October 15, 2008 at 11:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Starr A Miller

    Personally it is my opinion that what ever makes the child happy in this case is the best. If the child needs a pacifier then let them have one. I have never read the pros/ cons on this issue. I offered one to each of my 3 children and none took to it. I wanted my eldest to take one so badly when he was in the hospital for 6 months NPO. He cried from hunger pangs all the time. I though it would sooth him, but he refused.

    The pacifier issue is personal and to criticize a parent for soothing their child is silly. I do understand the disgust some people have when they see a child sucking one at an age of 4 or better, but this is that child security. In an age where children are growing up too fast I applaud the parents who allow their children to have that security. To remain children as long as needed.
    We really push our kids too much today to grow up too fast.

    October 15, 2008 at 21:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. CS

    My son used a binky from day 1. My husband and I decided at his 2nd birthday that we would no longer allow him to have his binky. We started the "pre-work" about 2 months prior. We only allowed him to have his binky at naps and at night. As soon as he woke, we would have him put the binky in a drawer.

    We also used the fairy story. We told him that on his 2nd birthday the Binky Fairy would come and take his binky to a new baby. We explained that he was going to be a big boy and big boys didn't need binkies.

    We had a few hard nights of not wanting to go to bed and waking in several times asking for his binky. It's been a week of no-binky and he has stopped asking for it.

    Good Luck. Whatever you decide will be right. You are the parent.

    October 16, 2008 at 09:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. S.Brittain

    Babies need to suck – some babies will not take to a pacifier but if they will it is MUCH better thant fingers/thumb. You can gradually wean your older baby (9mo+) from his pacifer, to only when they really need comfort or to sleep. About 18 months you should start to see the toddler be able to control the use of his pacifer...now is the time to start to think of getting rid of it. The best advice I had (and it worked) was when the child can understand what you are saying, make a BIG production of getting a new stuffed animal or doll to replace their "binky".-then let the child throw away the binky, but in a place that it cannot be retreived–ie a public trash can , a dumpster or your trash on the day the garbage man comes (make sure ALL are removed from the house so you won't be tempted to give it back) You may have a few rough moments, but the child usually adjusts nicely.

    October 16, 2008 at 10:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Don Martelli

    I have two daughters, one nearly 5 and the other nearly 2. The two year old likes her bink when she wants to go to sleep, though doesn't need it all the time. Sure, kids will get addicted to using it, but just cut it out cold turkey. That's what we did with our oldest. When she was walking around, past the baby talk and saying real words, chewing on the bink, etc. then we took it away. Yea, it might be hell for a day or two but eventually they will move on. They have no other choice. The key as a parent is to make the decision and live with it.

    Overall, the bink is good to help sooth kids when they are tired, cranky, got hurt, etc. at that young age. It really is a life-saver sometimes but the day comes when you just need to throw it in the trash and move on to the next phase. Parenting is all about making it to the next round. It's a lifetime of adjustments, but there's no better on the job training than being a parent.

    October 16, 2008 at 11:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Sue

    None of my three kids (now teenagers) ever used one. I figured: why deliberately start a habit I would then have to figure out how to break?

    All three of them nursed on demand, and if they ever sucked their thumbs or any inanimate objects, I never noticed it. 😉

    Only one has needed braces so far, and her teeth look exactly like her dad's did at her age; I think it's a genetics issue and not a sucking issue.

    October 16, 2008 at 14:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. MomOfTwo

    I asked the family Doc about binks when my daughter was born. He said she would give it up when ready not to worry about her using it. He expalined that if she still had it when she started school she wouldn't want it when she saw no one else used one. My son never wanted one. If nothing came out he didn't want it. Both of my children breast fed and neither had nipple confusion.

    October 16, 2008 at 16:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. A mom

    Oh lord-what makes people think they know it all? I would ignore all the unsolicited advice. You are the parent–not them. I see no reason to deny a child comfort-be it binky, blanket, stuffed animal etc. My 2 children were quite different. I offered binkies to both and my oldest wanted no parts of it ever. My son was indifferent but briefly used one in day care between about 3-5 months of age and then ignored it after. Neither was a thumb sucker and both were breast feed–au naturele till I went back to work and then with breast milk via a bottle while I was at work--till 1 year of age. No dental problems for either. I love how some folks have the magic answer–perhaps for their child but each is an individual. You seem to have considered all the facts and are doing what you feel is best. More power to you.

    October 16, 2008 at 16:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Maggie

    I think it depends on the kid, and I think pacis are great. My daughter took a paci at bedtime only until she was 6 months old. One night, she pursed her lips and shook her head at me as I offered the paci. Next morning she woke up with her thumb in her mouth (and has had it ever since). My son, however, was as you described yours - instantly calmed and soothed by it. We had a completely peaceful and effortless bedtime routine. We planned to take it away at 18 months, but he got sick (eventually ended up with adenoidectomy) and we didn't want to take away an easy source of comfort. Instead, we limited it to bedtime and nap time only. When he woke up, he knew to say "bye-bye" to it and toss it in his crib. When we tried to take it away at age 2, our peaceful slumber was OVER. However, we eventually weaned him from it a couple months after he was 2. Sometimes I miss those days of easy soothing.

    October 16, 2008 at 17:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. P's Mommy

    I am the proud Mommy of a four year old Binky Boy. P has a posse of 5 Binkies that he keeps close tabs on. He was weaned from it at daycare around 18 months old, but has continued to use it at home and in the car for comfort when he is tired. It's still a must at bedtime. We've tried gentle measures from time to time to lessen his dependence on it, but I am perfectly comfortable with him driving that process himself as a natural part of growing up. He recently declared he was NEVER EVER wearing Pull-ups at night any more, and I am sure he will outgrow his Binkies in his own time. To me that is far better than making an issue of it or shaming him about it. He has stopped wanting it in public all on his own because he has made his own observation that "big kids" don't have them. His dentist has yet to say it is a problem. Viva la Binky!

    October 17, 2008 at 10:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Jackie

    Sucking on a pacifier can be good for your baby. It stimulates the use of extensor muscles which improve your posture and ability to move. It helps integrate reflexes so your baby can move in a normal fashion. Some disease processes (ADHD, ADD) are worsened by the fact that children haven't intergrated basic reflexes which makes correct movement difficult. "Ready Body, Learning Minds" is a course which gives more information on this.

    October 19, 2008 at 09:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. jan

    I have three kids, all grown now. They all used a binky as babies. Newborn babies have immature nervous systems and have a hard time calming and lulling themselves to sleep when they are tired. They use the sucking reflex to calm and relax themselves even if they are not hungry and the binky helps. The boys seemed to need the binky more than my daughter. With all three kids I took the binky away at about 6-7 months when I noticed that they were using it more as a chewy for teething than as a pacifier. I just took it away at that point, tossed it in the trash and it was never missed. None of them were thumb suckers either.

    October 19, 2008 at 10:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Raven's Mom

    My daughter had her Binky until she was about three. The use was limited as she got older, and finally I explained to her about the Binky Fairy. I told her that eventually her Binky would wear out and when that happened she should put it under her pillow, and the Binky Fairy would come take the Binky and give it to a brand new baby to use, and in return the Binky Fairy would leave a special present under her pillow.

    My daughter absolutely did NOT want to give up her Binky but I could tell she was thinking about it. A few weeks after I told her about the Binky Fairy I snipped the tip off the end of the Binky and gave it to her for bedtime as per our usual routine. She started to suck on it and realized it was broken. She took it out and started to cry and then asked for a new one. I explained that it wore out and that if she put it under her pillow the Binky Fairy would show up. It took her three days to part with her Binky but she did, and in return the Binky Fairy gave her some glow in the dark stars to put on her ceiling.

    That was seven years ago. I still have the snipped Binky in my treasure box.

    October 20, 2008 at 05:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. RT

    Our first daughter seemed to be addicted to her pacifier, she had to have one near constantly as a baby. As she grew older, we would give it to her if she wanted it, but we didn't "encourage" it proactively. At one year old, she only used it at naptime and bedtime. We reduced that to just bedtime and she gave it up entirely at 16 months old, with no fuss. No tantrum, no tears. So even for those babies that seem to have one in their mouth 24/7, it doesn't mean it will become a long-term habit.

    Our second is now 8 months old, and she's an equal opportunity sucker: she likes both the pacifier and her thumb. We actually prefer the paci simply because we can encourage that to go away easier than the thumb.

    Also, our pediatrician and our dentist stated that as long as they give up the pacifier or thumb by the time their permanent teeth begin to come in (5-6 years old), it shouldn't be an issue since most pacifiers today are "orthodontically correct."

    October 20, 2008 at 11:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. RA

    I raised 5 children who are now between the ages of 16 and 35. 3 of them had pacifiers, 2 did not, never wanted them, never used them.
    The first 3 had them till they were between 3-5 years old, stopped using them when they were ready. As they got older, they were only able to use them at bedtime or naptime, in the car, or when relaxing. If they wanted to play they had to put them away. They had a small cup next to the car seats where they had to put them when they got out of the car at a store, or someones house. But they knew they could have them if they needed them as soon as we got in the car. I never made a big deal about them and they weaned themselves off from them. Never had any problems with any of their teeth either. The last 2 kids never wanted one, tried to give them one when they were newborns, just didtn want one, and never used a pacifier or their fingers or thumbs.
    Each child is different and you have to adjust yourself to your child. No one knows your child as well as you do, trust your insticts and your knowlege of your child, and dont let anyone make you do what you dont believe you should do. Dont beat yourself up with guilt or cause frustration for your child. They wean themselves off, they dont want to go to school with one cause the other kids dont have them, just the same as being potty trained. They will be potty trained when they are ready, and they will be wearing underwear before they go to school. Peer pressure kicks in if nothing else has till then.

    October 26, 2008 at 11:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. allison

    i have an 8 year old daughter. She nursed until she was 3. She never sucked her thumb or took a pacifier. I have seen other breastfed children that never used either.

    October 28, 2008 at 14:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Lily

    I was a child of the 50's.....my father was a pilot stationed overseas during WWII, and had such severe post-traumatic stress syndrome that he came back a drinker, and was a full-fledged alcoholic by the time I was 9 years old.

    After the divorce, my mother sank into a deep depression that lasted until I was in high school. I had to care for my 5-year-old sister until jr. high.

    Although my mother did her very best to follow the teachings of Dr. Spock (i.e. letting babies cry, no pacifier or special blankets or pillows, never allowing them into the parent's bed), both my sister and I sucked our thumbs for years.

    I sucked my thumb until I was almost 16 years old. I had a feather pillow I adored.....probably the only stable thing in my life. It was my only way to cope with life, for a very long time.

    My teeth are FINE, and so are my sister's - the advice of well-meaning but cruel strangers and family members is worth exactly what you pay for it. It is such BULLSHIT that it will ruin a child's teeth. If a child has bad teeth, they will have them....whether they suck on something or not.

    My teeth are FINE - NO BRACES, ETC. I breastfed each of my three children, and after my own divorce, allowed them in my bed when they were frightened, and to use their comforts as long as they needed them. Each of them had either a blanket or bink of some sort - and if they began to cry, they were into my arms as quickly as possible, for as long as they needed the comfort of mom.

    Today, all three have worked their way through college, hold responsible positions, and are in terrific relationships. My oldest son is married with a baby of his own on the way. At his wedding, in front of the entire assembled company at the reception, told me that he hoped he will be as wonderful a parent to his child as I was to him.....always available, always loving, and tuned in to their needs, no matter what anyone else thought. I of course broke down completely....and told him to just love his future daughter...and he will know what to do.

    Civilization is such a thin veneer over our instinct as human mammals.........right after my oldest was born, I was in my hospital room, waiting as all the babies were brought to their mothers to nurse. My nurse was 'way down the hall....but when I heard the child cry from down the corridor, I knew it was mine. Such is instinct.

    Use your motherly instinct. Knowledge is always good....but motherly instinct trumps it every time. Don't let others try to raise your children for you.

    October 30, 2008 at 13:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Carrie

    My first child was sucking her thumb in the womb–we saw it on ultrasound. She is almost 4 and still sucks her thumb. She does have an overbite, but so did my husband as a child, so there's no way to tell what the cause is.

    My second child uses a pacifier. She is almost 2 1/2. Her baby teeth are perfectly straight and the only stress is strangers telling me that she is too old to use it. When I take it away, she copies her sister and puts her thumb in her mouth.

    She's not going to take the pacifier to kindergarten, but her sister will definitely be taking that thumb!

    October 31, 2008 at 07:58 | Report abuse | Reply
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    my dentist installed a veneer on my front tooth and it looks better than ever,;-

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