When I was pregnant with my child, part of my baby stuff haul was the legendary pacifier. I searched for the best pacifiers online before purchasing one at the baby store. Although I have really no plans of using it for my baby, I still bought it in case the need arises.
We all know most babies get hooked on the paci as this rubber device can easily soothe a crying baby. However, I also knew for a fact that pacifiers can lead to a lot of trips to the orthodontist later in life. I also read that frequent pacifier use can cause speech delays. Some would even go as far as to say that babies who have pacifiers shoved into their mouths whenever they get upset will have a hard time dealing with their emotions when they grow up.
Hence, I set my mind to never initiate an introduction between the pacifier and my baby. In my defence, I just was being prepared when I took home one.
While I was dead set on not giving the dummy to my baby, some parents are desperately trying to figure out how to get their older babies to stop using it. I knew I made the right decision to not give the plastic plug to my daughter.
Or so I thought.
Come the first few hell weeks of breastfeeding, and I was finally considering of introducing the paci to my baby. I was just not getting any decent sleep with my baby always wanting to nurse to satisfy her strong suckling reflex. Right then, I understood why a lot of parents rank pacifiers as a must-have baby item next to diaper wipes.
With a tinge of guilt, I gave a pacifier to my 4-week old baby. Guess what happened next… She gagged and spit it out with such passion!
I thought it could be a case of bad timing, but I when introduced the dummy again at a different time I got the same reaction.
Oh, my! She hates the paci!
I was mortified! That would mean I have to always get up to soothe her fussiness. The little woman had the need to suck 24/7 it seemed, and the doting mother just couldn’t keep up. Eventually, you’d be glad to know that I did! All for love, I must say.
It became obvious that I needed to chuck the pacifier. My baby doesn’t want anything to do with it, even after following all the tactics experts suggest online. I was a bit shocked and amazed at the same time knowing most babies I know depend on pacifiers as a way to self-soothe. Obviously, not my baby. Parents swear by it to keep them sane. Some say it’s a crutch, others claim it’s a lifesaver. Clearly, not for me.
I wondered if the reason for this detestation was because I didn’t give her the pacifier early on. The silver lining is that I never even get far enough with pacifiers to have to worry about weaning my baby from them.
“But your baby will instead learn to suck her thumb!”
Nope! You’d be surprised to know that she doesn’t do that either. I guess I’m just lucky I don’t need the aforementioned arsenal to calm a fussy babe. I offer her distractions instead.
Are pacifiers really OK for your baby, though?
Well, it’s better to know the pros and cons of pacifier use before you crucify me for sharing my unconventional methods.
PROS OF A PACIFIER
- The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends pacifier use in the first 6 months of life to reduce the risk of SIDS.
- Since babies are hardwired to suck, pacifiers can be a good way to soothe a crying baby.
- Pacifiers are easier to get rid of than the thumb sucking.
- Pacifiers might help your baby fall asleep.
CONS OF A PACIFIER
- A pacifier may limit a child’s ability to learn how to self-soothe, something that may prevail in the toddler tantrum years.
- Prolonged pacifier use may result in dental issues or speech delays.
- Your baby may become dependent on the pacifier.
- Early pacifier use may interfere with breastfeeding.
- Pacifier use may increase the risk of middle ear infections.
Note on SIDS: If you’re like me and want to help keep your baby’s risks of SIDS low without the use of a pacifier, ensure that you remove the unnecessary baby bedding. When my baby was under 6 months old, she just sleeps on her mattress without any pillows, blankets, comforters, bumpers, and any other stuff that technically has no point being in the crib with the baby. These baby bedding items carry a potential risk of suffocation, strangulation or entrapment because infants lack the motor skills or strength to turn their heads should they roll into something that obstructs their breathing. I recommend nothing but a mattress with a fitted sheet. That’s it!
Should your baby use a pacifier or not?
The answer is best left for you to figure out. But I recommend that you keep the dummy out of your baby’s sight and work out a better alternative to soothe your baby. A simple change of position, view, or a rocking session may also do the trick if you’re keen like me on doing these things. Either way, trust that your baby will eventually settle down.
I prefer the diligent (non-lazy) way of doing things. I may have some extra work in my hands, but if that means my child will not develop sleep disorders, have fewer teeth troubles, and be well-adjusted in dealing with her emotions in the future, then I think foregoing the infamous pacifier was the right choice for my child.
Although it might seem like I’m judging other mothers out there who still pop a dummy in their baby’s mouth whenever they’re upset, I’m actually not. I totally understand where they’re coming from because I’ve been there!
This is just my opinion and you have the prerogative to either ignore it or follow suit.
Hateful comments discouraged… 🙂