The Great Pacifier Debate

For as long as I can remember I’ve been anti-pacifier. I’ve seen the way kids would throw complete fits over not having one. I’ve heard how they can mess up kids teeth. And besides, if the kid is crying he probably needs something right?

I was pretty set in my decision to not give Colt a pacifier. But, I’m not completely cold-hearted so I did research them while pregnant.  I mean, it’s a huge industry and people give them to their kids all the time, so I could be wrong.

Everything I read said that for infants, pacifier use has been linked to lower instances of SIDS, which is great.  And that if taken away before the toddler years, babies are not as attached and they are unlikely to affect their dental health. Hmm, ok.

I received a few different pacifiers in the mail and from my OB office while I was pregnant and even though I was not totally convinced I would need/want them, I put them away in a drawer just in case.

At the hospital when Colt was born, the nurses knew I intended to breastfeed and did not offer him one so that there was no nipple confusion.

At some point around the time he was going through his first growth spurt, I sat in his nursery, tired, and seemingly unable to console my poor crying baby. I reached into the drawer, dug out a pacifier and offered it to him. Spat! Nope. Offered him a different kind. Spat! Well then, I guess that wasn’t going to work. If he wasn’t going to take a pacifier I wasn’t going to make him.

Then a few weeks later, again, Colt was fussy, and seemed to need to suck. I had read about babies needing to just suck on something to soothe themselves, and up until this point, Colt had seemed to use his hand or his tongue for that. So again, I offered the paci. Suck, suck, suck…  Ok, I guess I am just going to have to accept… Spat! Never mind.

I had pretty much made up my mind. My kid didn’t want a pacifier. Yet people kept suggesting that he may, eventually. At school, his teacher said that even if he wasn’t taking one now, he may over the next few months. Great, daycare is going to just pop one in his mouth and it’ll be my problem later.

It wasn’t until I dropped him off the first day that I reconsidered the pacifier. I was paranoid all day that I hadn’t left enough breast milk for him. That he’d snack away at his bottles and they’d throw out what he didn’t eat, and there wouldn’t be enough left. I expressed my concern to a coworker who had formerly worked in a daycare.

“You may need to reconsider the pacifier. He may just be snacking to satisfy a need to suck.”

Crap. She could be right.

During his first day at daycare Colt had drank 17 of the 20 ounces I had left them, which meant they poured down the drain 3 ounces of my hard work. If I send him with less milk and he snacks, I could be getting a phone call that he’s starving. OK, possible exaggeration of a first time mom, but still.

That night I fed Colt a full bottle, burped him, changed his diaper and waited. Sure enough an hour later he was fussing about, grunting and trying to fit his fist in his mouth. I offered the pacifier. And after a few good sucks he laid on my chest dozing contentedly. And later, when Mike was putting him to sleep, he again started fussing, a minute with the paci and he was out like a light. Mike was a believer.

So we’re going to try it out. We’re not going to use it to quiet him, just to soothe his need to suck. And we’ll fight the battle to wean him off of it at his first birthday if not sooner because daycare doesn’t allow them in the other classrooms. If we even have to fight it, we might not.

I’ll let you know how things work out!

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One thought on “The Great Pacifier Debate

  1. We never used a pacifier for you girls. Many a time did I want to stop you fussing I thought of a pacifier. But I’m not sure why Mom never used one, unless it was the dental problems. I think we thought it was another thing to break you of. Parents and only the parents should make decisions regarding children.

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