Baby Boot Camp: Pacifiers -- Yay or Nay?

Sona Charaipotra

Baby Amber With a Pacifier
Photo by beachmamaof2
As a new first-time mom -- yes, I'm typing this with one hand -- I'll be exploring the often stressful, always magical first six weeks of little one's life with the scoop on things like car seats, cradle cap, cuddle time, and other newborn issues in CafeMom's Baby Boot Camp.

Before baby Kavya was born, I always had a negative opinion of pacifiers.

I mean, just think about the word. You shove this little piece of plastic in your little one's mouth to appease them or, really, to shut them up when you can't take the crying anymore.

It just seemed cruel and unnecessary. Plus, I had heard about how binkies were supposed to be bad for baby's teeth and whatnot. And how they could get sort of addicted to having a binky as a sole soothing method, or that pacifier use could lead to problems with breastfeeding.

So naturally, when I saw that big, bright green Soothie in her cradle-on-wheels thingie in the hospital nursery, I was freaking out. Weren't pacifiers a big no-no? Shouldn't they at least ask us if that's okay?

In any case, baby Kavi was introduced to the pacifier before we were. We took it home with us, but it sort of sat there untouched for the first few days. The baby was breastfeeding constantly, when would she have time for a binky?

But then, at the doctor's office, I read this poster on the wall that explained that pacifier use at bedtime and naptime could be linked to a reduced risk of SIDS. That would make pacis positive, no? Plus, occasionally giving Kavi a pacifier when she was clearly non-nutritively sucking gave me a much-needed break once in a while.

Of course, no matter what you decide to do, there will be naysayers. I had one such relative who, upon seeing Kavi with her paci when she visited, recommend I not get her in the habit. I pointed out to the woman that I'd much rather Kavi have a paci that I could eventually take away than get her in the habit of sucking her thumb, which I couldn't take away. I didn't need to remind the lady that her own son had sucked his thumb until he was about 11 years old.

So we're tentative with the paci. I don't want her to get too obsessed with it, but I don't see it as a looming danger either. Plus, if she doesn't want it -- which she sometimes doesn't -- she just spits it out. Because as I'm quickly learning, my little baby has a mind of her own.

Does your little one take a pacifier?

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