Pacifiers: Love them, or lose them? Have I just found my new best baby-rearing friend? Or created my future nightmare?
There are so many choices that plague new parents: bottle or breast? Cloth or disposable diapers? And my current dilemma: Use a pacifier or not?
I have such conflicting feelings about pacifiers. My firstborn never wanted one and we never worried about it. As she grew up I saw other parents struggle to break their kids of their pacifier dependence. I know one mother still gives them when her twins ask for pacifiers at the age of 4. And I admit, it freaked me out.
But, at three months old, my son is already teething heavily. He’s already cut one tiny tooth and it’s drool and hand sucking all day long. After one particularly bad day of constant screaming and agitation I tried a pacifier, and it worked - like a charm. But now that I’ve given one to him, what is the ‘right’ amount to use one? And for how long?
As any modern parent does, I gave the subject a thorough Googling. One site told me the pacifier is disposable and in my control - and I want to believe that. But when it’s time to transition away I can’t imagine my son’s reaction will have me feeling in control at all. If that’s the case, maybe it’s not worth continuing to use it? I always imagine the worst-case scenario. Maybe when that fateful day comes that we decide to take the pacifier away it will be totally fine and he won’t even miss it. But in my brain, it could ruin everything: naptime, bedtime, and his ability to self-sooth.
Which leads to another debate, how long should you use a pacifier for? It soothes him and curbs the screaming now, and that’s a benefit that I can’t ignore. I could to use it for the first 6 months and then transition away? Or wait until all of his teeth have come in? I’d rather not use a pacifier it when he’s old enough to identify what it is and scream and cry when he doesn’t get it. But I also remember what a horrible experience teething was for my daughter and want my son to have any sense of relief he can get from the pain of teething.
Like most things with parenting, everything is so subjective to the specific child that it’s hard to ask someone else for their advice or experience. What happened with their child might not be the same experience for us. There are so many schools of thought on this matter with no clear right or wrong answer. My instinct is if it’s helping him and helping my sanity, it can’t be that bad. Maybe a natural progression will occur and will prevail and convince me of the right time to transition away from it?
I’m just not sure if a pacifier is my new best friend or I’m creating a bad habit. Are pacifiers friend or foe?