Pacifier or thumb sucking – which is best for baby?


Which is best pacifier or thumb sucking for soothing a infants or toddlers? A question that I had to answer as a young mother. For me, during that time, it was a tough decision. But, looking back, I’m glad I made the right decision for my daughter by letting her decide.

My youngest child sucked her thumb until college, and my best friend carried her pacifier in her purse when she was young. She would not tell me when she stopped taking her pacifier in her bag. Which one to use or best for the baby is the question you must answer? However, for me, I did not choose. My daughter chooses it for me. She decided on thumb sucking, which was soothing to her. She started thumb sucking within the first few weeks of life. I can’t remember when. At about six months of age, I tried weaning her off but failed. I wrapped her thumb with tape and placed Band-Aids on it, but my daughter became withdrawn and appeared depressed. Her withdrawal and appearance made me sad; therefore, I stopped trying to wean her from her thumb because my baby was quiet and content with thumb sucking. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), pacifiers are preferred over thumb sucking. For children that thumb suck, you want to identify triggers, if there are any; back to my best friend who carries her pacifier in her purse to an unknown age. She relates that she only took her pacifier out when stressed. She would suck it for a few seconds and put it back in purse. My daughter did not need braces, but my best friend did required braces.

As a parent, if you feel that the pacifier or thumb sucking are soothing your baby, then allow your baby to be content and happy. Talk with your pediatrician and dentist for concerns and more suggestions to wean your little one off the pacifier or thumb. If you decide to use the pacifier, here are some safety tips when using a pacifier:

  1. Rinse pacifiers frequently with clean water.
  2. Don’t use pacifiers with liquid inside or with moving parts or gadgets.
  3. Don’t attach pacifiers to clothing with strings.
  4. Don’t dip pacifiers in sweet liquids such as syrup, honey, etc. before giving them to the baby

(University of Rochester Medical Center, Retrieved July 20, 2022)

Let me know what you have tried. I like to hear from you. Also, please send me some more safety tips that would be helpful when using a pacifier so I can share them with everyone.


Dr. Valencia Weaver APRN, FNP-C

Picture Credit: <a href=’‘>Young mother photo created by pch.vector –</a>

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