Don't Be a Sucker: Why We're Not Letting Our Baby Use a Pacifier

Why we're NOT letting our baby use a pacifierWhy we're NOT letting our baby use a pacifierUntil I had kids of my own, I had no idea the number of love/hate relationships I'd have with little pieces of plastic as a parent. In the case of the pacifier, well, it started as a love story.

My oldest son, "Big", didn't take to the pacifier at first. But a couple months in, it was like a little piece of heaven to have something that could help me settle him. As a first-time mom, my nerves were easily frazzled, and I felt like he could sense that. The pacifier became our peace offering to one another. We used it sparingly, and increasing just at sleep time the older he got. But let's just say this love story turned a bit sour as "older" became the issue. A new baby, a surgery, a mom who likes to sleep … the reasons to hang on to our love object just a bit longer kept coming.

The break up, it was bad. Really bad. I could (and may) write a book on what not to do.

Related: 10 things every mom should know about newborns

So when my middle child, "Little", became even more attached than his big brother was (or did I just become lazy about yanking it before clicking photos?), I swore I'd do things differently. I followed my friend's (highly successful) lead, and started to snip away at the beloved pacies. Little found it kind of cool. It didn't really bother him. He even decided to cut the last one off all by himself. This break up, well, it was surprisingly easy at first. But the memory of his lost true love would come creeping back late at night for awhile.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not anti-pacifier. I just know that I'm weak. Especially when it comes to giving in to crying babies (ok toddlers, too) in the wee hours of the morning when even nocturnal creatures are begging me to make the noise stop. I decided, come baby #3, I would free myself of the magic that had cast a spell on our entire family.

A friend said it was as simple as never introducing the heaven-sent silicone to your baby.

Oh, puh-leez. (Don't you hate self-righteous parents?)

It turns out, in our case, it was true. Granted, my baby, "Pink", was born with a very mild-mannered temperament. But even on those nights that there was extra crying - and, oh, there were those nights - I stayed strong. (And by "stayed strong" I mean I begged my husband to talk me down from the shelf with the scissors and the just-in-case stock of pacifiers I held on to.) For awhile she explored sucking her thumb. Then she quickly adopted a favorite lovey. She rather painlessly found ways to soothe herself.

Now that's heaven.

And you know what? I love that I see her smiles and silly expressions in all of her baby pictures. I love that I don't have to search the house high and low praying for a germ-filled miracle to appear come bed time. (Ok, her lovey isn't much better.) But most of all, I love that I won't have to force her to stop longing for something that I encouraged her to fall in love with in the first place.

What about you? Does your baby use a pacifier? Do you love it or hate it?

- By Amy Heinz
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