I’m glad every single day that my daughter has a pacifier. There – I said it. Pacifiers are one of those “controversial” parenting things, because apparently parenting isn’t hard enough without making it more difficult for no reason. But my attitude about parenting is quickly becoming, “Do what works for your baby and for you,” and this is what works for us right now.
I have friends who are very anti-paci. They are worried about future teeth problems, whether their child will still have a paci when they are 35 and how it looks to other parents. I’ve also heard people who say that having a pacifier is a crutch for parents who should instead look for what their child really needs instead of just using it as a plug. These are all fair points, for sure.
But – I’m still glad my daughter has a paci, or rather pacis – because of course we have to have 10 of them and I can still never find one when I need it. There are so many reasons why and admittedly many of them have to do with the fact that Elliot having a pacifier makes my life easier. I’m not so sure that’s a bad thing, though.
Like the time we were in Carter’s with my mom and Elli realized she was hungry. Those of you who have babies can sympathize that when Elli realizes she is hungry, that girl is immediately starving. Giving her a pacifier bought us the extra minutes we needed to check out and get to a place where I could nurse her. (Side note: why doesn’t Carter’s – a store whose main demographic is moms – have a place where you can easily feed your baby?)
Or the time we were at a friend’s surprise birthday party and Elli started to cry a few minutes before the birthday girl arrived. Nope – stealing the thunder in that situation was not going to be good, so, in went the paci and out with the crying.
It’s not just about saving face, though. Elli wants her pacifier when she’s tired or when she’s upset. It’s an object that brings her comfort and I’m all about things that make her feel better. When she got her four-month shots, a pacifier and quick cuddles from Mommy helped her calm down in just a few (excruciatingly long) minutes. It helps her settle down at night so she can go to sleep. If she wakes up in the middle of the night, it helps her go back to sleep.
Am I worried that she’ll have it for a long time? Not really. I’ve never been to a wedding where the bride walked down the aisle with a paci in her mouth. Now that she’s old enough to hold onto objects, we have her pacifier attached to a sweet little stuffed bunny – “Blue Bunny” as he is affectionately referred to in our house (the same name applies to all three of the identical bunnies we rushed out to buy once we realized she loved them). Our hope is that her real attachment will be to Blue Bunny and that we can remove her pacifier at some point without too much drama.
We’re willing to cross that bridge when we come to it, however, because the benefits of that pacifier outweigh a few potentially traumatic days in the future. We had a brief period where we thought she would end up being a thumb sucker, and as she is the daughter of a thumb sucker until an age that has double digits (her father) and a recovering nail biter (guilty), a pacifier seemed better than potentially having to physically cut off her thumb.
And let’s be real – this girl is probably going to need braces anyway.