A Mother Far from Home

on becoming supermom

Pacifiers: do they or do they not suck?


Of course they don’t. They get sucked. That is, of course, unless you have a baby who pulls the paci-ejecting-tongue-thrust. If so, my condolences.

Mothers can have many views on pacifiers. Some moms hate them and others swear by them. Some use them for a short time and others open their children up to the psychological damage that comes when their 9 year old peers see they haven’t let go of ole binky.

If you are deciding whether to take the plunge to pacify, consider three things.

  1. Your baby will get addicted.
  2. He will not kick the habit willingly.
  3. He will attempt to have you reinsert it day and night if you let him (trust me, I know this).

My husband and I decided we’d use the pacifier in a few select instances and only for its purpose: to temporarily pacify. (Note: temporarily does not mean day and night for 6.5 years). Our children get the pacifier until around one year for a few reasons. One such occasion is when we’re in public and I cannot determine or meet their need immediately. When I want to respect the people around us (i.e. church, the grocery store) I give the pacifier until I’m able to deal with the issue. Two, my children get the pacifier when I am sleep training and they wake up in the early morning (say 5:30am) or in the middle of the night. When I know they don’t actually need to feed I use the pacifier to put them back to sleep until my desired wake time for them. Three, we give the pacifier when we put them down for naps or bedtime as a signal that it’s time to sleep, but we try not to reinsert it if it falls out.

Here are some general rules of teat thumb when using the pacifier.

  1. Don’t use it so you don’t have to hear your baby cry. Learning their cries helps you accurately meet their needs which means they’ll probably cry less anyway.
  2.  Do let them suck (if you are so inclined) during their wake time or when they’re happy as it satisfies the non-nutritive sucking need young infants have.
  3. Don’t let your babies use it as a sleep prop. A sleep prop is something babies depend on to get to sleep. If they will not sleep without it then you have created a future problem. Sowing and reaping, my friend, sowing and reaping. Some mothers return to the crib hourly to reinsert the rogue pacifier back in the baby’s mouth. If this does not appeal to you (and personally I’d rather give up my caffeine…) then do not start. In the words of my wise grandmother “start out how you can hold out.”
  4. Decide how long you will let your baby use the pacifier and don’t let them sway you. If your child is old enough to verbally reason with you then they’re too old to have the pacifier. Tell them they have one week left, 6 days left, 4 days left, one day left, tonight’s the night… then “bye bye, paci, meet the trash can.” Some mothers cut the tip of the teat off to remove the suction, but I have to say that just ticked my daughter off. I took it away cold turkey and for about a week she cried briefly at nap time and bedtime. After that it was all good in the hood.
  5. Do let your baby have the pacifier if you need to prolong the time until their next feeding. It will give them temporary relief, aka. they will be pacified, and you can get another 15 minutes out of them to finish at the checkout, pay the bill at the restaurant, etc.

We’ve all seen the child picking out their first day of school clothes with a pacifier in their mouth and a mom nearby wondering why their child is yet to speak in full sentences…. don’t let that be you.

image: huffpost

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Author: A Mother Far From Home

Around here we look at practical child-rearing and child-bearing issues. Look around and find down-to-earth parenting talk, tips, reviews, and some interesting lessons I've learned while navigating the waters of motherhood.

2 thoughts on “Pacifiers: do they or do they not suck?

  1. This is pretty much our take on things too… Soother only for bedtime and to avoid public meltdowns 😉 Although we have made the mistake of leaving it clipped onto his pj’s, he learned pretty quickly that he can pop it in and out as he likes and it never gets lost…. it won’t be pretty when we try to take it off him! 🙂

    • Avoiding the public meltdown is reason enough for use! I lived in Italy a few years and can only imagine the fun you are having there as a mom! There didn’t seem to be tons of kids in Rome (at least not compared to how many I see here) so they were treated so special!

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