Before I had a baby, I saw other people’s children with pacifiers and thought, “My child will not use one of those.” Then I had Ev. When he was a newborn, it seemed to me he was always hungry. Even after he was fed, he would still cry for no apparent reason.
So I began asking questions and researching ways to soothe my baby boy. The nurses at the hospital told me that newborns have a natural reflex to suck and it’s not necessarily that they are hungry; they suggested I give him a pacifier. And so I did. And it worked.
I watched a video I received free in the mail called Happiest Baby on the Block. Dr. Karp, who is featured in the video, reported that infants need the five S’s: Swinging, Shhhing, Side/Stomach, Swaddling and Sucking. So I began swinging, shhhing, cradling him on his side/stomach, swaddling–and I introduced the PACIFIER! Yes, the pacifier, the one that I said my child would never use.
I must admit that it was one of the best things that I could have done for my son (and myself). After a few weeks, Ev was a very happy baby indeed. He was sleeping through the night at just nine weeks.This gave me reassurance that the pacifier was the way to go.
Now, however, it is 15 months later and he still uses it. He usually only wants it at bedtime or when he is tired, sad or riding in the car. I know that the pacifier has become a comfort item. Whenever I think about transitioning him off that pacifier, I feel guilty because I know it is comforting to him. I would never take a “blankie” from my 15-month-old, so why would I take away his pacifier?
Ev cries in the middle of the night and won’t stop crying until my husband or I go in, find the fallen pacifier that is under the crib (which requires body contortions) and give it back to him. Then he magically falls right back to sleep.
When I brought the pacifier up to Ev’s pediatrician she was very adamant that it wasn’t a big deal. She also told me that one of her sons used a pacifier until he was age 4. Many people (friends, family and strangers alike) told her, just as I have been told, that the pacifier was going to mess up her son’s teeth. She also went on to tell me that her son has a perfect, NATURAL smile.
With other developmental transitions, my husband and I followed Ev’s lead, figuring that he would take the next step when he is ready. I suppose that is what I will do for now with the pacifier. And, in the mean time, I will look for ways/activities to make that transition easier on him.