View Full Version : Sucking as sensory need?


Cecily
08-27-14, 09:06 PM
We have not been successful in weaning our 6-year-old daughter with ADHD off of a pacifier in the evenings and at night. We canít simply throw out all the pacifiers because her two younger siblings still use them. So our struggle to get DD off pacifiers has turned into an opportunity for her to sneak and hide and lie. Obviously this is not a good development.

Pacifiers have always been very soothing to our DD, and she has always needed extra soothing. Besides pacifiers contributing to the formation of cavities (she has excellent teeth, likely due to good diet and dental care) or the myth that pacifiers cause crooked teeth (she would need to be sucking forcibly for at least 23 hrs. a day to cause that to happen), I am not coming up with a satisfactory reason to take from her something that soothes her. We should not ask a child with an urge to chew or be wrapped up tightly to just stop it. We facilitate the fulfilling of that urge in a way that is not harmful to them or others.

So, considering that our attempts to discourage pacifier use is causing DD to be deceptive, and because sucking very well could be a legit sensory need for a 6-year-old with ADHD, we are seriously considering to stop fighting it and allow her to use a pacifier without shame during limited times at home until she either outgrows the urge to suck or she finds another outlet for her sensory needs.

Do you see any big gaps in this conclusion that we are not seeing?

daveddd
08-27-14, 09:15 PM
probably more related to self regulating a distressing emotional state (oral fixation)

is she on meds

I'm chewing on a plastic bottle cap as i type

pens in grade school, they always blew up in my mouth

dvdnvwls
08-27-14, 11:58 PM
I'm not sure about your real question - but I have ADHD and was a long-time thumb sucker and long-time security blanket carrier.

Corina86
08-28-14, 04:17 AM
I thought, but it could be just a myth, that sucking your thumb or pacifier for extended periods of time while you're growing new teeth, can change the position of the front teeth. Again, it might simply not be true.

If she does is at home when she's alone, I don't really see the problem with them either. Just see that she doesn't do this in front of others, because she can have issues at school and with other kids because of this.

TygerSan
08-28-14, 07:11 AM
You are so not alone in this. I have a feeling if you took away the pacifier, she would find something else (like her thumb or her shirt sleeve) to suck and chew. I'm not sure if these would be any better on the teeth, but if you google chewy tubes, there are a whole line of products geared for folks who have such needs. They also have necklaces and other products that are less socially awkward than a pacifier.

TygerSan
08-28-14, 09:26 AM
Just out of curiosity, I googled chewelry, and got a bunch of results for necklaces, pendants, and other stuff that's safe to suck and chew on.

I used to chew my shirt sleeves till they had holes in them. Something like the chewable bracelet would've saved my clothes.

Tmoney
08-28-14, 09:54 AM
I say let her keep it!

Remember the scene in Mr. mom with Michael Keaton when his son had to give up the blanket? How funny was that! Unfortunately kids don't respond by saying,
"Could I have moment to myself!"

In my personal opinion with amything related to removing something from kids you have to weigh the negative and postive and make a decision. If the action is more negative then positive you may want to reconsider.

It is much harder to do when you have siblings in the house who are still using the pacifier. Ifyou have concerns that are medical, talk to your pediatrician. I have a feeling they will tell you not to worry!

Good job parents! I wish good things for you!

"Children, we spend the first two years of their life teaching them to walk and talk and the next sixteen telling them to sit down and shut up!"

mildadhd
08-28-14, 05:11 PM
Great question!

Thanks!

Sucking tendencies are associated with primary emotional, homeostatic and sensory affects. (3 types of basic instinctual feelings)


P

Emotion System: PANIC system

Animal Emotions corresponding to this system: Loneliness, panic, grief

Corresponding Environmental Challenge (generic intentional object): Social loss

Motivation: The urge to be reunited with companions after separation, which helps to create social bonding

Characteristic behaviour: Cries of distress when separated from caregiver

Associated bodily states: Decreases in body temperature, sleep and growth hormone secretion. Increases in brain arousal, behavioural reactivity, sucking tendencies and corticosterone secretion.

Key sites in the brain: Cingulate cortex, septal area, ventral bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, preoptic area, dorsomedial thalamus and periaqueductal gray

Key brain chemicals: Glutamate and CRF


http://www.angelfire.com/linux/vjtorley/Panksepp.html

BellaVita
08-28-14, 05:18 PM
I thought, but it could be just a myth, that sucking your thumb or pacifier for extended periods of time while you're growing new teeth, can change the position of the front teeth. Again, it might simply not be true.

If she does is at home when she's alone, I don't really see the problem with them either. Just see that she doesn't do this in front of others, because she can have issues at school and with other kids because of this.

I sucked on my pacifier for too many years and that led to me having 2 sets of braces, 2 palate spreaders, headgear, 13 teeth pulled (I have all my teeth), and retainers.

:eek:

addthree
08-28-14, 05:39 PM
Mr. Mom. Too funny.

dvdnvwls
08-28-14, 09:51 PM
I sucked on my pacifier for too many years and that led to me having 2 sets of braces, 2 palate spreaders, headgear, 13 teeth pulled (I have all my teeth), and retainers.

:eek:

Is it really possible for pacifier use to shrink your jaws that much? I somehow doubt it. I think you were told a tall tale when you were a child. And that you just happen to have small jaws. :)

kittyb21
08-29-14, 01:07 AM
my 9yo (probable ADHD) son is an avid thumb sucker, and has been since 3 months old. He has altered the shape of his teeth significantly, he'll need braces.

It bothers others far more than it bothers me or him, the thumb sucking...sometimes he forgets himself and sucks his thumb in front of his mates, they don't take the p**s, YET!

His granddad really hates it, he thinks it looks babyish and has tried all sorts of bribery to get him to stop, nothing works, I SAY LEAVE HIM ALONE!

It offers him some kind of comfort and relaxation, that's good enough reason to keep it going for me.

mildadhd
08-29-14, 12:06 PM
We have not been successful in weaning our 6-year-old daughter with ADHD off of a pacifier in the evenings and at night. We can’t simply throw out all the pacifiers because her two younger siblings still use them. So our struggle to get DD off pacifiers has turned into an opportunity for her to sneak and hide and lie. Obviously this is not a good development.

Pacifiers have always been very soothing to our DD, and she has always needed extra soothing. Besides pacifiers contributing to the formation of cavities (she has excellent teeth, likely due to good diet and dental care) or the myth that pacifiers cause crooked teeth (she would need to be sucking forcibly for at least 23 hrs. a day to cause that to happen), I am not coming up with a satisfactory reason to take from her something that soothes her. We should not ask a child with an urge to chew or be wrapped up tightly to just stop it. We facilitate the fulfilling of that urge in a way that is not harmful to them or others.

So, considering that our attempts to discourage pacifier use is causing DD to be deceptive, and because sucking very well could be a legit sensory need for a 6-year-old with ADHD, we are seriously considering to stop fighting it and allow her to use a pacifier without shame during limited times at home until she either outgrows the urge to suck or she finds another outlet for her sensory needs.

Do you see any big gaps in this conclusion that we are not seeing?


Maybe try bringing her favorite warm or cold drink , (almond?) chocolate milk, etc,

with a straw.

Might sooth her sucking craving, and feel emotionally close to you.







P

Hml1976
08-29-14, 08:20 PM
Let her have it. Life's too short and she's probably going to need orthodontia anyway, it seems all kids do.

We took our daughter's (she does not have adhd) pacifier away when she was 4. She started sucking on her bottom lip and caused horrible blisters that would get infected. Even at 10 sometimes I check on her a night and she is sucking away at that lip :(

BellaVita
08-29-14, 11:35 PM
Is it really possible for pacifier use to shrink your jaws that much? I somehow doubt it. I think you were told a tall tale when you were a child. And that you just happen to have small jaws. :)

No, it caused me to have an open bite.

tripleE
09-04-14, 09:37 AM
My now 11 y/o (with ADHD and SPD) carried and self soothed with an actual baby bottle until she was almost 3 and even after that she had a drink container with a plastic nipple for bed at night for quite some time.

She now needs braces.

But, she needed that bottle - if I could go back in time I wouldn't change a thing and don't regret letting her have it.

Sometimes at night she still makes sucking noises (lol).

I know a few girls her age who suck their thumbs occasionally, and even one adult!

If it's the actual sucking that works for her, rather than the texture of the soother, then the little rubbermaid plastic drink boxes with the straw built in might satisfy.

Kunga Dorji
09-04-14, 11:00 AM
We have not been successful in weaning our 6-year-old daughter with ADHD off of a pacifier in the evenings and at night. We can’t simply throw out all the pacifiers because her two younger siblings still use them. So our struggle to get DD off pacifiers has turned into an opportunity for her to sneak and hide and lie. Obviously this is not a good development.

Pacifiers have always been very soothing to our DD, and she has always needed extra soothing. Besides pacifiers contributing to the formation of cavities (she has excellent teeth, likely due to good diet and dental care) or the myth that pacifiers cause crooked teeth (she would need to be sucking forcibly for at least 23 hrs. a day to cause that to happen), I am not coming up with a satisfactory reason to take from her something that soothes her. We should not ask a child with an urge to chew or be wrapped up tightly to just stop it. We facilitate the fulfilling of that urge in a way that is not harmful to them or others.

So, considering that our attempts to discourage pacifier use is causing DD to be deceptive, and because sucking very well could be a legit sensory need for a 6-year-old with ADHD, we are seriously considering to stop fighting it and allow her to use a pacifier without shame during limited times at home until she either outgrows the urge to suck or she finds another outlet for her sensory needs.

Do you see any big gaps in this conclusion that we are not seeing?


I cannot see why it is necessary to fight the pacifier thing at all.

One thing that I can tell you for sure is that both the upper lip and the hard palate immediately behind the two upper front teeth are powerful acupressure pints that stimulate a relaxation response (parasympathetic).
Now ADHD individuals are invariably stressed ( in a heightened sense of sympathetic nervous system arousal) and any maneuver that allows us to turn on a relaxation response is actually a good thing.

You are not really looking at a sensory need here at all- you are looking at a basic need to soothe an agitated and frazzled nervous system.

It can be shown that babies suck their thumb in utero as foetuses- look at a few live ultrasounds.

The issue of "using a pacifier without shame" is a really interesting one.

Who are the people who tell you that using a pacifier is a shameworthy thing?
What are their qualifications?
What reasoning do they use to support their arguments?
Why do you listen to them?

None of these questions are careless or casual. Us ADHD individuals are forever getting harrassed for following our eccentric, neurodiverse ways.
Sometimes we just have to tell everyone else to get lost- and do what works for us.

That is not shameworthy- it is courageous and inventive.


BTW _ I have made a very interesting discovery in the last month-- sucking on a couple of peppermints before bed actually reduces my chance of snoring about 90%.
It causes the soft palate to become more stiff and prevents it from flapping about in the breeze at night making a noise.
Now that is an interesting discovery.

Kunga Dorji
09-04-14, 11:06 AM
Great question!

Thanks!

Sucking tendencies are associated with primary emotional, homeostatic and sensory affects. (3 types of basic instinctual feelings)


P


No no no, no no, ----- no no-- "sucking tendencies" are associated with being positioned on the neurotypical end of the spectrum :D

ruby.149.42
09-04-14, 06:13 PM
I see no gaps in your conclusion and really like Tygersan's suggestions are excellent - sensory toys are so much more "acceptable". Sounds like you're already doing it and I think very gentle planting of seeds around possible problems with teeth later on etc - which could also mean pathway into those sensory toys.

I'm the classic example of how this was handled very badly. Some of my first memories and certainly my first memories of experiencing anxiety and shame were around being driven into stealth mode over my thumb sucking. I used to hide in cupboards, under the dining room table, anywhere I could to get my little "fix". I had a little piece of pink nylon which I would over my top lip while I sucked my thumb and I was yelled at and drowned in shame and threatened with this that and the other (orthodontics being one of them). They used to paint vile tasting stuff on my thumb to try and stop it. If ooooonly they'd had a little more information and awareness. Primary caregivers trying to stop a primary soothing technique by frightening and intimidating a child .. yeah .. that's going to work!

Eventually I stopped - maybe 7 or 8 and of course switched straight onto nail biting and did that for years until I was old enough to smoke which I did for decades, sigh.

So yeah, I think handled gently and wisely which you are doing is definitely the way to go. Great thread.

cillovely
09-23-14, 03:38 PM
I think you are doing a great job of handling it, I too was forced to stop sucking my thumb by some drastic methods, the nasty stuff on the thumb was the worst. So then I grew into a pencil chewer, then pen caps, fingernails and to this day I'm still a "chewer" (thankfully never smoked).

My 7 y/o son was a big pacifier lover, I remember worrying about my Mom seeing him use it, where she had made so many comments about how discusting it was to see a kid with one, especially older ones. He took to chewing on his shirt sleeves once he gave up the paci at about 3. I bought him those sensory chewables on Amazon and they have done a great job curbing it. I found he was just chewing on the paci anyhow.

meesie
09-25-14, 09:36 AM
I sucked on my pacifier for too many years and that led to me having 2 sets of braces, 2 palate spreaders, headgear, 13 teeth pulled (I have all my teeth), and retainers.

:eek:

:goodpost:

My 9 yr. old is in Phase 1 right now, braces on 2 top, 4 lower, expanders upper and lower. Not from sucking, just a crowded mouth after having some supernumery pulled. (extra teeth pulled and 3rd set grown in abnormal)

There are always little ones, even as young as 4 yrs old waiting to have some sort of palatal crib appliance put in to prevent exactly what you describe from thumb sucking, pacifier use. I never even knew they had these.