Welcome to this article on our blog dedicated to the delicate dilemma between the thumb and the pacifier!
Whatever the method, know that both solutions - pacifier and thumb - can soothe your baby's natural need to suck . Let's go through together the different points to consider before embarking on the purchase of a pacifier.
- Where does the need to suck come from?
- The benefits of sucking for your child
- Advantages of the thumb and its disadvantages
- The advantages of the pacifier
- Combine the pacifier with a pacifier clip for perfect autonomy
- When to introduce and then stop the pacifier?
- Which pacifier model to choose?
- Why provide several pacifiers?
- So, thumb or pacifier?
Where does the need to suck come from?
The need for sucking is an archaic reflex and finds its origin at the very confines of intrauterine life. This practice, established even before birth, is an instinctive necessity for the infant.
It is also not only reserved for human beings. In many primate species, babies have been observed suckling their thumbs.
The benefits of sucking for your child
Sucking , whether soothed by a comforting thumb or a beloved pacifier, plays a fundamental role in your child's well-being . In addition to calming crying and responding to a natural need, sucking activates the release of endorphins , these happy hormones that provide a feeling of deep relaxation.
Beyond its immediate soothing effect, sucking contributes to the child's emotional development . It creates a strong emotional bond between you and your baby. Suction reinforces the feeling of security and comfort. This emotional connection will have positive long-term repercussions on the child's psychological development.
In addition, suction also plays the role of regulator.
It is proven to reduce stress levels in infants. During anxiety-provoking situations, sucking acts as a self-soothing mechanism by offering a natural method to deal with worrying situations. Some pediatricians ask mothers to put their baby to the breast or give them a pacifier during vaccinations, for example.
Advantages of the thumb and its disadvantages
As you can imagine, the main advantage of the thumb comes down to its permanent availability . The child can suck his thumb whenever he wants, without waiting for one of his parents or loved ones to want to give it to him, which is not the case with a pacifier.
Baby would also tend to take his thumb out of his mouth more often when he wants to express himself than he would with a pacifier. The thumb would therefore be a less significant obstacle to language development , unless the child is no longer able to do without it as he grows. There are indeed some disadvantages, such as dependency .
The problem when a toddler becomes dependent on his thumb is that he simultaneously becomes a victim of problematic dental problems .
In addition, some children who suck their thumb late in life (= after 3 years) will potentially need to consult a speech therapist to resolve speech problems (lisp, etc.) directly linked to poor tongue placement due to thumb.
The advantages of the pacifier
The pacifier, as a reassuring object, has a series of advantages, providing both comfort and practicality to parents and their baby.
- It responds to a natural need for sucking and thus becomes an ally for parents in managing moments of distress.
- The pacifier helps the baby fall asleep more easily. Soothed by the suction, he falls asleep more quickly.
- According to several studies, the pacifier reduces the risk of sudden infant death.
- Sucking causes the release of endorphin, a hormone of well-being, pleasure and happiness which brings the child the calm he needs.
Combine the pacifier with a pacifier clip for perfect autonomy
The child's dependence on the pacifier can be moderated by the judicious use of complementary accessories, such as pacifier clips.
The latter, often elegantly decorated and designed in a completely secure manner, allow the whole to be harmoniously linked. These additional objects especially prevent the pacifier from falling to the ground and getting dirty. Baby takes his first steps towards autonomy ! 🤗
When to introduce and then stop the pacifier?
Wait six weeks
If you are interested in purchasing a pacifier, we recommend waiting until your baby is at least 6 weeks old, particularly if breastfeeding is planned. During this period, the infant becomes familiar with sucking at the maternal breast and introducing the pacifier too early can cause confusion which will disrupt the breastfeeding process.
The first few times, it is possible that baby will not be completely won over by the pacifier you hand him. Give him time to get used to it gradually, without forcing him. A few drops of milk on the tip of the pacifier might convince him that this object is worth trying.
Gradually remove the pacifier before starting school
It is common to discourage pacifier use before entering school. This decision will prevent your child's linguistic development from being hampered by excessive use of the pacifier. Indeed, prolonged use can sometimes interfere with the correct formation of sounds and movements necessary for speech.
In addition, the growth of the jaws and the arrangement of the teeth could also be negatively impacted beyond the child's three years.
Use the pacifier sparingly
For example, during naps, nights and times when baby needs to be soothed but not all day.
Babies need to experiment , to babble, to put things in their mouths to discover the world around them. The permanent presence of the pacifier risks slowing down their exploratory momentum!
Which pacifier model to choose?
When it comes to choosing the ideal pacifier model for your baby, several considerations can guide your decision to ensure comfort and well-being.
A physiological pacifier
Favor physiological teats rather than anatomical teats: that is to say those with a flat side which is positioned against the tongue and a rounded side towards the palate. This shape of pacifier is recommended by orthodontists because it adapts best to the child's oral cavity and contributes to their good development.
Choosing an extra-thin pacifier
To minimize the risk of disrupting the proper alignment of the teeth, we advise you to choose a pacifier with the thinnest breast shield possible . By doing this, you will promote mouth closure even when the pacifier is used. The objective is to respect the natural position of your baby's teeth, and to avoid potential disruptions in their development by reducing the risk of dental gaps (deformation of the teeth and jaw).
Using a pacifier with a neck that is too wide (or the thumb, for that matter) can cause the teeth and jaw to be positioned incorrectly, and lead to gaps between the child's teeth in the future.
A pacifier adapted to the child's age
The pacifier must of course be adapted to the age of your baby. Opting for a pacifier appropriate to your age once again guarantees maximum comfort and contributes to your well-being while sucking. This also prevents the risk of injury to the corners of the mouth.
A medical grade silicone pacifier, almost as natural as your baby's thumb!
Opt for a medical grade silicone pacifier! Medical grade silicone is in fact recognized for being 100% healthy for babies, as well as for its durability. The material does not generate any micro or nano plastic particles in your child's body when sucking.
Why provide several pacifiers?
Bringing several pacifiers is practical in case of loss or wear. Babies are often very attached to their pacifiers, and having several on hand guarantees a replacement solution in the event of a problem! This will avoid the frustrations of searching for a missing pacifier and ensure constant availability…
So, thumb or pacifier?
There is no universally better choice between thumb and pacifier. Both options have advantages and disadvantages.
Please note that at Elhée , we design extra-thin physiological pacifiers in medical silicone to offer babies THE most optimal pacifier possible.
The production of Élhée lollipops is entirely made in France .
To find out more about our pacifiers, visit our store !