Ah yes....paci's! Here is my story!!!
This was a topic that I was very anxious about before I had my son. Of course, as a highly neurotic first time mom this was one of MANY things that I was anxious about! lololol (Everyone is excited that I have chilled out with this one..ha ha)
Here is our story. I didn't want to use one-- but my son had a HIGH sucking need. He would comfort nurse so much he kept filling his little belly and puking all the milk up because he was so full all the time!!!
So, we gave him one of those Soothie pacifiers that they give in the hospital. Probably when he was like 2 weeks old or so.
We had a wonderful nursing relationship-- exclusive until 7 months and it lasted until he was almost 2 1/2 (which was my choice, sadly, not his-- because nursing in early pregnancy was literally making me want to crawl out of my skin and die)-- so it did not impact our nursing in a negative way.
Starting at say, 7 months, I only gave him the paci (he only liked Soothies) at nap time and night time. We never made a cute name for it, or made a big deal about it.
So....these things sat in his crib for use whenever he wanted them. And he used them often during the night, especially when he started sleeping through the night around 16 months. He also used it to fall asleep for his nap. His sleeping has been pretty wonderful since he was 16 months-- so I wasn't going to mess with this system.
The best advice that any mom ever gave me was to not worry about the paci thing....and our dentist said the same thing since the research proves that it doesn't mess with the permanent teeth unless they are using it past age 4. I was paranoid that the long term use was going to make it a horrible habit to break. Which, wasn't the case at all.
He used the pacis (although he took to chewing them around the same time his 2nd year molars came in--- so he would break the sucking action anyways) until he moved into a twin bed a month ago. The second day in his "big boy bed" he announced that his last paci was "broken" (each time he chewed through them, we let him toss them out)-- which is it was, totallllllly chewed up- and that he was throwing it away in the trash. We talked about how this was going to be the end of pacifiers, because it was the last one....but he still wanted to throw it away.
He tossed it in the trash, and showed anyone who came around that day.
Obviously that night I was freaking thinking we were going to be up all night long! LOLOL
But, that was a month ago and he was totally fine.....its gone, he's good. He doesn't ask for it. Sure, he has had a few night wakings that I think are paci related-- but he is also only in a "big bed" for a month-- so it could be anything.
Either way-- it all worked out fine, just like my experienced Mom friends said it would!!!
I know for a FACT that if I would have pushed MY agenda and took it away from him before he was developmentally ready that it would be traumatic for all involved. I actually got great strength in the mothering.com message boards reading the posts of so many moms who were like "don't worry about it....if he/she likes to suck.....who cares!?!?!". Hoorah for the folks here who gave me the courage to ignore people like my MIL who swore that if you didn't rip it away from the kid by 1 that you were in for a total nightmare and ruined teeth