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Researching: Pro-Pacifier Use vs. Anti-Pacifier Use

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hello Gals,


October I will give birth to our first baby.  I am wondering what the debates are over using pacifiers.  My inclination is to not use them but I want to understand the psychology and physicality of it all and make an informed decision.

I plan to breastfeed and co-sleep with our baby.


I was wondering what are the pros and cons or the pros and antis in regards to using a pacifier.  I don't like the idea of shoving a piece of plastic in my babies mouth but perhaps there are companies that make alternatives.  Also, using a pacifier seems to me that it's away to ignore the real reason your baby is crying and miss out on taking care of their needs. On the other hand, am I being too idealistic - will I cave and say, "Get me that pacifier!!!!"  


What are people's thoughts on using pacifiers?  This is all new to me and I want to know all the thoughts on both sides.



post #2 of 10

I'll preface this by saying I've never been a big fan of pacifiers, but then I became a mama, and revised my position a little bit.


From experience last time, I'm okay with limited pacifier use...like once a baby has nursed to sleep but if they still seem to have that sucking reflex and need it to stay asleep, I'm okay with switching them over to a pacifier.  Yes the further nipple stimulation is probably good for milk supply, but sometimes mama needs to be able to get up and do some things while baby sleeps.  With DS we tried to give it a few weeks to establish breast feeding before we offered it.  Also I was sort of fine with DS using one in the car if it meant he wasn't screaming his head off the whole time.  With this baby I'm going to have to be in the car quite a lot driving DS to and from his school and activities (none of which are close to where we live) so, if it will make car rides easier I'm okay with that.  DS was a very high needs baby too, so it might have gotten some use at those times when he was done nursing, was dry/clean, had been burped, refused to sleep and was still screaming his head off and I was at my wits end and just out of ideas about how to make him more comfortable.  I think as long as it's not your first resort every time the baby cries, and they aren't spending large amounts of their day with it in their mouth, than used judiciously it can be okay....maybe not great, but okay and I didn't beat myself up about it too much.


What we found with DS was that by the time he was 2.5-3 months old, he really preferred to suck on his fingers anyways and we just stopped using the pacifier all together....of course now at 3.5 we are constantly gently reminding him to take his fingers out of his mouth....so maybe with limited use the pacifier would have been an easier habit to break...I don't know.  You can take a pacifier away at some point....but those fingers are always there....great when they are infants...less great when they are preschoolers.


DH and I are debating what to do with this second child in terms of the pacifier based on our experiences with DS.  I've purchased one like this German one made from natural rubber just in case we feel like we need it.  I figure it does't hurt to have it on hand.  If we find we use it a good bit and need a second one, we'll get it.


I will say, especially in the car it was important that the pacifier be able to be attached to the baby in some way so that they don't loose it all together or throw it somewhere.  DS had one that didn't really have the ability to attach to anything and he lost it constantly and it was a pain to try to keep it clean.


I'm sure others will have different experiences/opinions but that's where we are on the issue right now.

Edited by UnderTheOldOakTree - 8/11/12 at 9:46am
post #3 of 10

I'm sort of undecided but mostly lean towards no. My midwife last time made a big deal about not using them until breastfeeding is established and I agree with that still. We often just let baby suck on one of our fingers if she just needed to suck. I think I once tried to use one at night with her and it kept falling out every time I laid down - so that was useless. DH and I finally had a moment around 2 months old when we realized maybe they do have their pluses when we were walking around an art museum. I was wearing DD in the moby and DH had his finger in her mouth and we walked around like that half the time. It was kinda ridiculous. That said, my DD just never really took one. 


I always wished she'd take one when she'd fall asleep nursing and I'd try to get her off the boob without waking her - I'd try and slip a pacifier in as I unlatched her, but she wouldn't have it. My friend who's daughter took one had no problem doing it and having her daughter stay asleep for a nap.


I look at my friends who used pacifiers for their kids that are same age as DD. And at 3.5, some of them still use them on ocassion! A few have had a huge battle with getting rid of them. Other than the interfering w/breastfeeding thing, that is what really freaks me out about them! So I think maybe if you do use them, you have to get rid of them fairly early on too or you might have issues.


I did buy a new pack of pacifiers, but I have no idea if we'll end up using them. Probably not really. 



post #4 of 10

We're pretty big on the No side. I actually wanted to use one with ds, but understood that it's important to get that breastfeeding relationship established first...which for us took FOREVER. So, by the time we were at a point where I might have tried using one, I'd already figured out other ways to soothe ds, and we just never tried. 


I never had a problem with ds nursing just to suck when it was at night while co-sleeping. I suppose it might bother some, but I could sleep through it, so I never really noticed it much outside of the occasional sore nipples from a night of nursing more for soothing purpose than food. We also found that letting ds suck our fingers was excellent at stopping the crying on long car-rides or if we were someplace where he absolutely had to be quiet. But, lol, then again, we didn't venture into too many of those types of places while he was a baby. Also, I could never get it down, but quite a lot of my friends would wear the Ergo while nursing their kids...you could never tell they were so discreet, but it helped provide baby that nursing just to suck without slowing them down. 


Now, I'd be terrified to use one on a baby because of the whole attachment to the paci thing. It seems like a LOT of kids ds's age are still using pacifiers at night or when they get upset, and it just seems odd. I'd hate for a plastic nipple to end up being some huge area of contention once it had outlived it's temporary purpose for dh and I. 


But, all that said, I also know a lot of moms who swear by them!

post #5 of 10

two of my babies used pacifiers two did not. the two who used pacifiers were good sleepers, did car rides well and were good nappers. the two who did not use pacifiers were pretty much the opposite. 3 of my 4 kids breastfed fantastic and had a great nursing relationship. the one who did not was supplemented formula in the hospital when he was under the bili lights for jaundice. he was also almost a month early and i knew nothing about breastfeeding.  If you are having a  hard time breastfeeding or if baby is having a hard time latching, i would stay away from a pacifier, but other than that i do not see the harm.


 my second son had a hard time breathing when he was laying down, he would snore so loud i could hear him accross the house. when we started to let him sleep with a pacifier the snoring stopped and he was sleeping much better. he had a very strong sucking reflex and needed it pretty much 24/7. he would nurse well for several minutes (20-45 ish) and then his sucking would change and i would give him his pacifier and he slept fabulous. we were and still are quite bonded. Both of my sons that took pacifiers gave them up on their own when they started teething.


my two children who did not take pacifiers were extremely clingy, whiny and literally wanted to nurse all day and all night long. this is fine, we pretty much did that.. i never put them down.  BUT this wore on me quite a bit. No one else could hold them, they didn't nap unless i was holding them. they were literally attached to me 24/7 for over a year.  with both of these kids i had a home birth and the midwives i used were against pacifier use so they would always take the pacifier out of their mouth. this annoys me now as i believe IF you want your baby to use a pacifier, you should give it to them early on, or they wont take it. Neither of these two had a hard time latching or nursing and i highly doubt a pacifier would have affected our nursing relationship at all.


to be perfectly honest with you. i didn't enjoy the first year of these last two babies as much as i feel i should have. i loved nursing, i loved holding them and being close to them, but not being able to sleep or shower or go to the bathroom for over a year without hearing them scream their head off unless i was holding them really took their toll on my emotional health. 


the bottom line is pacifiers may not be the right choice for you or your baby, but if it is something you do feel like you need/want don't let anyone make you feel bad about it!! 

post #6 of 10

LOVE pacifiers over here! Started both of my kidlets with them the day they were born. Mainly for the reasons Amanda said: Yup, they "could have" sucked on my nipple or finger, but I don't want to be a human pacifier. I would like for dh to be able to snuggle them to sleep or for them to sleep somewhere other than on me. I do not like the feel of comfort nursing. Some babies also have a high sucking need. The only negative thing a midwife said was that binkie use could make them suck harder at the breast, that was it. I love love love babies, especially my babies, but I do need some physical time away from them and binkies always helped in that area. Also keeps them from screaming in the car sometimes, keeps them quiet at church, etc. Our kids use them a ton during the first year, cut back a bit after turning one, cut back to almost no daytime use after turning two, and the binkie fairy comes on their third birthday and takes the binkies.

post #7 of 10

We started our DD with a paci at about 3 or 4 weeks old to soothe her after she finished nursing (she was very clear about being done nursing and wasn't much of a comfort nurser anyway).  We mostly only used it to soothe her to sleep and she used it for about 6 or 7 months at bedtime/naptime only, then we got rid of it, and she didn't miss it.  Super easy but very essential to get her to sleep.  We'll try it again with the new baby.  I started with the paci around the same time I started using the breastpump, and also introduced a bottle, around 3-4 weeks or so.

post #8 of 10

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 thumb.gif

post #9 of 10

I didn't really want to use one with my first, but did try to get him to take one on occasion and he wouldn't.  With my second, I didn't even bother.  When I weaned her at 18 mos (another who cannot nurse while preggo), she found one in the toy bin and wouldn chew on it as she was teething.  No big deal.  Except she became hugely attached to it!  I hated it.  She would lose it and throw a fit and have to have it all the time.  6 mos later, I couldn't handle it anymore and threw all but her fave out.  That one I cut up and left for her to find.  She brought it to us and asked us to fix it, but I explained that it was borken and it coulnd't be fixed (feeling very guilty all the while).  But she only asked about it once or twice after that.  IT really ended up being a simple fix.  IF I had a child who I felt really needed one, I would do it, but otherwise we are a permanently paci-free home.  lol.

post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the paci stories and experiences!  I guess I will have to see what flows, but I will try to do without.  But if I were to delve into that realm are there non-toxic pacifiers (ie non-plastic) that I can use?

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