Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Pacifier Diaries...

 Before my baby was born, I was definitely in the anti-pacifier camp. My plan was to completely avoid using a pacifier if possible or if necessary only use it for the first few months. My ideal goal was to have eliminated the pacifier before she turned 3 months old. I know some people think its no big deal if their child uses a pacifier but there are many downsides to them. Some of the negative impacts of a pacifier include:

  •   Interfering with teeth development and increasing the likelihood for orthondontic treatment such as braces. 
  •  Increasing the occurrence of ear infections in infants and toddlers.
  • Slowing down and limiting speech development. This happens when toddlers don’t want to remove their pacifier from their mouth to talk so they don’t learn the proper way to enunciate without the pacifier. 
So as you can see I had already declared war on pacifiers before my baby was even born. I was convinced that all babies were pacifier loving junkies and it was my duty to save her from herself. But it turned to be the exact opposite. She didn’t want anything to do with pacifiers when she was born. At the hospital they gave her the Avent Soothie pacifier.

The Avent Soothie pacifier is the top choice of medical professionals and hospitals. It has an orthodontic nipple which is designed to have less interference with the teeth and gum development. In addition the entire pacifier is made out of of one piece of silicone unlike other pacifiers that are a combination of hard plastic and  latex or silicone.

Each time they put the Avent soothie in her mouth at the hospital, she would promptly spit it out. I was quite happy about this at the time and I thought it was such a blessing that she didn’t even like pacifiers. But once she outgrew the newborn sleepy stage, she could sometimes cry inconsolably.  She wanted to be held all the time,  which is normal for a newborn , but even while being held she would sometimes still cry forever. This worried me lot because I knew I would have to take her to the daycare at 12 weeks and the thought of her crying like that at the daycare all day just broke my heart. I had also noticed that after a few minutes of crying  she would trying to suck on her fingers and this terrified me even more than my fear of pacifiers.  I've always believed that finger sucking is a whole lot worse than a pacifier.  Firstly because a pacifier is disposable, you can get rid of it, or hide it temporarily,  so it is easier to wean them of it. Fingers on the other hand are attached to their hand so it can become a tough habit to break.  Finger sucking can also affect not just their teeth and speech but also their jaw development and social skills.  It's also not very hygienic either.   I came to the conclusion that the pacifier would be the lesser of two evils and decided to teach her how to keep a pacifier in her mouth and use that as a soother rather than her fingers.

It was harder than I expected, because everytime I would put a pacifier in her mouth she would make a gagging face and then spit it out or she would suck on it very briefly before it fell out of her mouth. We tried regular latex pacifiers by Playtex but she hated them with a vengence.

 She didn't seem to like the feel or shape of it in her mouth.  After much trial and error we stumbled on the Avent Orthodontic Silicone pacifiers in size 6-18months. My husband bought these and I was at first not very impressed with them. I told him to take them back to the store because they were the wrong size and seemed way too big for her mouth. But after doing a bit more research I learnt that since she was having a hard time keeping the pacifier in her mouth, a larger size might help solve this issue. This turned out to be true for us!

We love this pacifier for several reasons, unlike the latex pacifiers we had tried previous, this one has no taste or odor and it doesn't get sticky and gross after sucking on it for a while. It does come with snap on cover as well as storage case, and I really love the translucent colors. Best of all the pacifier nipple is flat and symmetrical which means it can used upside down as well, without causing teeth or gum problems,  and this is a good feature since most babies will at one point or the other put the pacifier in their mouth the wrong way.

Over the next few months we, like many other parents out there fondly called this pacifier our little mute button. My husband would jokingly yell out “MUTE” as he placed the pacifier in her mouth. It was so funny. Until it wasn’t. Once we passed the 6th month stage I started getting really nervous, she was hooked on the pacifier and would grab it from me aggressively and stuff it into her mouth everytime she saw it. If she woke up from a nap in the middle of the day she would open her mouth waiting expectantly for the pacifier to magically jump into her mouth. We had on our hands a certified pacifier addict, she constantly had the pacifier attached to her with a Boogin Head paci grip.

Which, by the way,  are the best out there,  they don’t leave stress marks on clothing and the clip is a durable lightweight metal that stays put. They are available in many fun colors and prints to match any outfit.

Aside from her being constantly strapped to a pacifier, we had to wake up repeatedly in the night to put the pacifier back in her mouth, sometimes it would fall out of her crib and she would be furious. I kept telling myself I would wean her off it when she got a little older, but never got around to it.  Based on all the experts I spoke to and all the research I did, the consensus is that 12 months is the absolute cut off age, because it is after the age of 12 months that the use of  a pacifier really start to affect the child. On the day she turned 10 months old, I decided enough was enough.  I can't explain why but it just hit me that she would be a year old in two months and it was time to act. From that day I put into action our pacifier weaning plan; it sounds ridiculously serious, but I tell you weaning from a pacifier is no joke. I decided to do it in stages. Firstly I stopped giving it to her at home during the daytime. I kept it out of sight, I knew she wanted it because she would open her mouth for it and sometimes try sucking her fist but I just distracted her as best I could. Next I stopped clipping it to her bib when I took her to the daycare. I was still worried about her crying at the daycare so for the first two weeks, I left a spare pacifier in her cubby at daycare and told them to only give it to her if she was really inconsolable. We did this for nearly two weeks and then just this past monday I sent her in to daycare without a pacifier for the first time ever.  And she she survived  just fine without it. Despite being a little subdued at first, she has been such a trooper about it. We no longer use the pacifier during the day time at all. She only gets it if she wakes up at night and can't go back to sleep but that barely happens anymore. Mission accomplished!!


  1. congrats on weaning her off it!! Think how you've stopped the pacifer use in stages was very clever.

  2. Do you have a little kid?? we have a amazing funny pacifier for cute babies, we have wide range of usual and unusual pacifiers. your little cuto baby will looks amazing but awful