Pacifier Use, Finger Sucking, and Infant Sleep
Few studies to date have investigated the relationship between pacifier use or finger sucking and infant sleep. One hundred and four mothers of infants (ages 0-11 months) completed the Brief Infant Sleep Questionnaire (BISQ). Infants who engaged in finger sucking had fewer night wakings and longer stretches of nighttime sleep, although less daytime sleep. There were no significant differences in sleep patterns between pacifier users and infants who did not engage in nonnutritive sucking. Furthermore, no significant differences were found across groups for sleep ecology, including parental involvement at bedtime and following night wakings. Finally, infants were consistently able to retrieve their pacifiers independently by 7 months of age, although this did not appear to be associated with sleep outcomes. Results suggest that when parents are deciding whether to give their infant a pacifier, sleep may not be a critical factor. In contrast, parents of finger and thumb suckers should be reassured that this nonnutritive sucking is beneficial to sleep, at least in the first year of life.
Butler, Rachel, Melisa Moore, and Jodi A. Mindell. "Pacifier Use, Finger Sucking, and Infant Sleep." Behavioral Sleep Medicine 14.6 (2016): 615-623.