Why I LOVE the Pacifier

By Nikki M

Unpopular opinion: I absolutely love the pacifier. I've used it with both of my kids and consider it a must-have for the first three years. (Let the cringing begin.)

Of course, I didn't always want to use a binky. Just like every scared new mom, I read all the baby books, memorized the cheesy pamphlets, and skimmed through a ton of those awful mommy forums that had way TMI.

They all pretty much said the same thing: pacifiers are the devil. They'll ruin breastfeeding with "nipple confusion.” They'll make your kiddos awful sleepers. Horse teeth and lisps for years to come. Ear infections galore. The worst part? Once they're hooked they'll be suckers for life. You'll never be able to break the habit!

I was set — no pacifier for my little ones! We were to be a no-pacifier (and no-TV, no-junk food, and no co-sleeping) family. My plan: never introduce the binky in the first place. That way, they'll never know what they're missing out on!

Needless to say, my plans were foiled. . . on Day One, to boot! Milk coming in late + latching problems + parents running on a few minutes of awful sleep = a distressed, inconsolable baby who screamed for HOURS.

I got really depressed. Is this what I'm in for, for the next 60 years? I thought I was going to be a glowing, serene mom who wears white peasant dresses and flower crowns and picnics with my calm baby on a wheat field. My soft-focus dreams were shattered. That is, until my zombie husband stuck a wrong-sized pacifier in her mouth. The rest is history.

Now that we're well-versed with the "paci" (as we so-lovingly call it at home), allow me to share my experience and bust a few pacifier myths:

Nipple Confusion

Nope. In fact, it helped my noob-latching baby strengthen her sucking reflex, making her a pro at nursing. The paci also helped her switch between bottle and breast with ease. If that's what "confusion" means, my whole life is a lie!

Oh, and my second son absolutely loved the pacifier and despised the bottle. Never took a single one, that boob lover!

Sleeping Habits

Pacifiers help babies self-soothe. Mine would pass out instantly after I offered the binky. The trick to avoiding late night wake-ups is to take the pacifier out the moment you know they're in deep sleep. Do this early on so they don't get used to sucking all night long.

Dental Problems

No messed up teeth here! In fact, sucking on a pacifier (as opposed to a bottle or boob) to fall asleep helped my kiddos avoid cavities and tooth decay!

I don't feel that using a pacifier affected their speech either . . . They were both early chatterboxes! (Still are!)

Ear Infections

Not a single one.

Breaking the Habit

I approached weaning my kids off the pacifier the same way I approached bottle weaning and potty training — they'll do it when they're ready! The process was quite effortless. Right before turning three, I found it quite easy to communicate with them.

All in all, the paci was a hit in our household! Lengthy road trips, teething, and even weaning from the boob were all tough situations eased by the pacifier. Apparently, it even greatly reduces the risk of SIDS. Would I ever use one again? No, 'cause two kids are more than enough for me!

What's your relationship like with the pacifier? Love it? Hate it? Don't really care? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Tags : confessions   baby   health   pacifier   

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