First Time User? Sign Up Now
First Time User? Enroll now.
Home > Fitness & Health > Health Library > Thumb-Sucking Versus Pacifier Use
Many parents of a thumb-sucking infant question whether they should substitute a pacifier for the thumb. So far, research does not show that one is preferable over the other. Also, although parents can encourage a child to suck a pacifier rather than a thumb, they can't control which the child will prefer.
The advantages and disadvantages of pacifier use and thumb-sucking aren't always entirely clear. So there are some general issues for parents to think about.
The advantages of using a pacifier include being able to control when your child is allowed to use it and being able to take the pacifier away when it is no longer appropriate. But a young child who uses a pacifier may be more likely to get ear infections.
An advantage of thumb-sucking is that it may not interfere with breastfeeding. And children usually stop on their own between the ages of 3 to 5. But if thumb-sucking is a habit past age 4, the child may develop dental problems. Also, it may be more difficult for a child to stop thumb-sucking than using a pacifier.
Talk to your doctor about how long you should wait before you introduce a pacifier to a breastfeeding infant.
Keep in mind that there is no reason to encourage thumb-sucking or pacifier use in infants who do not show a need. The sucking instinct in these infants is satisfied through breast- or bottle-feeding.
Current as of: December 12, 2018
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Susan C. Kim, MD - PediatricsKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineThomas Emmett Francoeur, MD, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics
Current as of:
December 12, 2018
Medical Review:Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MD, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2019 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
509 N. Bright Leaf Blvd.
Smithfield, NC 27577
Phone (919) 934-8171
Employee Intranet Login
Copyright 2019 UNC Health Care. All rights reserved.