Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Pacifier

Before having children, I didn't think much about the pacifier.  It was just something babies sucked on for whatever reason.

Now that I have children, I've discovered that it's a somewhat controversial issue.  There are those who are all for it, those who are completely against it, recommendations on what age to start it, what age to stop it, and on and on.

To me, breastfeeding my children has been at the top of this list of something I wanted to accomplish, and so I did/do whatever I can to make that possible.  I read about nipple confusion and decided I wouldn't offer a pacifier to my babies until breastfeeding was established so that they didn't get confused and forget how to suck.  I was so mad when Baby was born and the nurse had stuck a pacifier in her mouth the day after she was born when she took her to her hearing test.  I needn't have worried, though.  Baby was anti-pacifier and pro-mommy for the rest of her babyhood.  I tried giving her a pacifier weeks later, but she would have nothing to do with it.  It was mommy all the way to meet all her sucking needs.  Thus, I had a baby stuck to me for practically two and half years.

Looking back, I'm glad we never had to break Baby from a pacifier.  I didn't have to worry about her getting crooked teeth because of it, or tooth decay, or weaning her from it when she got older.  Nope, the only thing she was attached to was me.  The way to calm her down?  Me.  The way to put her to sleep?  Me.      

Enter Baby2.  She had a harder time with breastfeeding.  My milk came in way too fast for her, causing her to choke and sputter and gasp for air.  She quickly learned that latching on to mommy meant she had to be awake and prepared.  Falling asleep on me was not an option for her.  She tried, but she got mouthfuls of milk that would choke her, and then would spit up because she swallowed too much for her little tummy.  Thus, we started giving her the pacifier whenever she still wanted to suck.  She didn't take to it like a pro, but I can say that she tolerates it and uses it when she needs it.  She doesn't have it in her mouth twenty-four/seven, but will take it when she wants to fall asleep or calm down. 

I'm not sure how I feel about it.  Maybe betrayed, that I can't meet all my baby's needs.  I know, it's silly.  I've been replaced by a piece of plastic.  On the other hand, I feel freed.  I can put the baby down and give her the pacifier and she is content.  She's not stuck to me all the time.  Maybe this is more "normal?"       

Now I am not looking forward to when the time comes to take away the pacifier from Baby2.  Who knows when that will be?  Already I try not to offer it unless I feel she really needs it.  I cringe when people see the pacifier and automatically think it needs to go in Baby2's mouth.  Having the pacifier is a new world for me. 

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