I'm a mom of a toddler and expecting a new baby in a few months. We never gave our older DD a pacifier when she was a baby. DH was against it, and I didn't have an opinion. Well....She had a severe sucking need and I ended up being a pacifier for many years for her. After many car rides where I was bent over so she could nurse in her carseat for hours at a time, I swore I'd try a paci with the next one.
So I have one now, a naturesutten brand one. However, I am not sure at what point people introduce a paci? Is there a risk of nipple confusion like there is with bottle feeding, or can one start a paci at any point?
Any paci tricks of the trade so it can be used only when needed and the child will not become dependent on it in later toddlerhood?
My daughter ended up with a pacifier at about 2 weeks old when our LLC told me no, it wasn't normal for her to be nursing for two and three hours at a time, around the clock. She never cared much for her pacifier, and gave it up entirely on her own before she was a year old. My son had a pacifier from day one until just after he turned three and he was very attached to it. I made jokes about him going off to college still slurping on his binky, otherwise, I didn't worry too much about how long he kept it. I waited until I felt he was old enough to understand why it was time for him to say goodbye, then I spent a couple of weeks talking to him about it and building him up; when the day came for the binkies to go away, he was a little sad, but he wasn't totally freaked out and it was a relatively painless process.
Eva, Tired Single Mama of Hurricane Bella~3/06 and Boy Bug Silas~7/08
There is a theoretical risk of nipple confusion with dummies as with bottle tests. Some babies don't have any problems going back and forth, others do. I suggest waiting until after 6 weeks as usually by then both latch and milk supply are pretty well established. I would change that recommendation for anyone who was still having problems with either latch or supply. Although supply may not be such an issue if you're just using it in the car.
Waiting may also give you a chance to see if your new babe has the same high sucking needs.
Mother of two spectacular girls, born mid-2010 and late 2012
I didn't have a high-suck need baby, but I did have a paci around before he came just in case. My plan was to wait until breastfeeding was well established before trying it, and then only if I felt he wanted to suck all the time without actually nursing. In the end, he ended up using for the first time at 5 months when we were on a long car trip. I wasn't sure he'd take it at that age, but it worked! He used it a few more times in the car until he was around 1 and that was pretty much it. This time, I'm feeling a little more jealous of my sleep needs and space, since I've been bedsharing with ds since he was born and he only just gave up night nursing, so I might try a paci just at night to see if it will prolong the time between wakings. Ds was up about every 1.5 hours for the first year, and had other sleep issues for the whole second year. Really hope this new babe will sleep better at night.
I waited 8 weeks before introducing the paci to my baby (who had very high sucking needs!!). For the first 8 weeks I put up with constant nursing, and then when I introduced the paci I only did so after I had nursed him almost to sleep and he just needed a little more sucking action to get him to fall asleep all the way. I would nurse, then lay him down and tap his lips with the paci. He would take it, suck on it, fall asleep and spit it out. This worked for about 1 week and then he started refusing it BUT he started being able to fall asleep on his own. Then at about 3.5 months he found his fingers (he sucks the index and middle together) and he has started using those when he needs to self-soothe.
I think that if you don't force the paci on them and only offer it, the baby will know when he needs it and when he's had enough. I see parents who push the paci on the baby and hold it in the mouth over and over until the poor kid gives up and takes it... And then the parents complain a couple of years later when the kid doesn't want to let go of the paci... It's all about respect, it's an aid for the child, not for the parent!
I guess everyone has their own perspective on this.. here's mine:
I was very anti-paci with my first daughter. I never wanted her to get addicted to it so I offered it once or twice and she spit it out and I was glad that I didn't have to deal with that whole issue. With my second daughter we tried it again, my husband tried it more rigorously and she took it and it was amazing! It took her a few weeks to figure it out and then she would only take one certain kind. Then I realized, she was self-soothing. I had this huge epiphany about it and regret not trying a little bit longer with my first -- she to this day still has a problem self-soothing and I really relate it to this!
We are on our third baby now and he too needed some time to learn how to use it. I never had any nipple confusion or anything like that~ We started from day 1 and just kept offering it until he figured it out. He prefers a certain kind as well. I give it to him when he needs help being soothed, so if we're in the car and he's crying a lot, but I can't get to him, I offer it. And as montessorimama said, after nursing when he's falling asleep (although sometimes this can be a little tricky bc they obviously know it's not a booby anymore).
As they get older and become vocal, start only offering it at naptime and bedtime and encourage communication as a self-soothing technique. My daughter used her paci at night until she was 1 1/2 (which was longer than I intended, but perfect for her). I'd be weary about finger sucking because that's a harder habit to wean.