Sunday, July 18, 2010
As an infant, Reese absolutely refused pacifiers. I am partially to blame because in some of the literature I read, it said not to give breastfed infants pacifiers because it could cause nipple confustion. Eventually I decided that using a pacifier would not be confusing and attempted to get her to use a pacifier. We bought every brand, size and style available when she was an infant trying to get her to take a bink, but she would just spit them out. My mother found that she would keep one in if you tapped the front of the pacifier while it was in Reese's mouth, but the point of a pacifier is that the child can use it to calm themselves so that kind of defeated the purpose. One thing that Reese would do though is to stick her thumb in her mouth and suck if she was upset, tired or hungry. It calmed her down whereas sticking a pacifier in her mouth only upset her more. It was easy whereas keeping track of pacifiers would be a lot more difficult. Though several memebers of our families were totally against it and told me that I should wrap her hands up and force her to take the pacifier, I couldn't do it. They warned that it would be hard to take away from her, that it would ruin her teeth and countless other things, but I didn't care. I still don't care. Reese still speaks and speaks clearly, it has done no more damage and doesn't look uglier than her black tooth (which she got in a fall), I see no disadvantages or truly harmful effects. I have worried that cosmetically she has changed the shape of her nose by flattening the cartilage at the end of her nose. She kind of hooks her hand around her nose to help hold it up and in place and in the process flattens her nose. What do you think? Can you see a difference in these two pictures?
Although I truly believe that Reese's thumbsucking would go away as she ages, I did decide that at 3 years of age it would be time to just make Reese aware of when she is sucking her thumb, because it is just so natural for her to have it in her mouth. Hopefully by making her aware of when she is sucking her thumb, she will find something else to do if she is bored or seeking comfort. I have been asking her to stop and take her thumb out of her mouth for about 2 months now. Sometimes she pulls her thumb right out, other times she refuses and then I try to redirect her attention and get the thumb out of her mouth. We ordered, "The Berenstain Bears and the Bad Habit", where sister bear has a habit of nail biting. We read it nightly and substitute nail biting for thumbsucking. She loves the story and looks forward to it nightly. We also implemented a chart system where we give Reese stickers randomly throughout the day when she is not sucking her thumb and take stickers away when we catch her randomly putting her thumb in her mouth. This has been very effective as she hates to have her stickers taken away. Once she fills the chart with stickers we plan to take her to get a special toy for her accomplishment. All in all things have been going pretty well. Today she brought her hand up and dropped it down before she could get her thumb in her mouth. Hopefully making her aware of the habit now will relieve her from teasing when she starts school next year.