Monday, May 18, 2009


I will never look at a baby with a pacifier the same way. For the first time, I have a binkie baby. Cue the gasps of horror. :-O

I remember when my first baby was tiny. She showed disdain for artificial nipples, so breastfeeding and lots of holding were all she needed to stay happy. It was around this time that I first subscribed to Mothering Magazine. I needed it dearly at that point in my life because it gave me confidence in the parenting style I had chosen. I remember reading an article about pacifiers and their harmful effects and thinking to myself... I'll never give my children pacifiers! Nobody else should either! My baby clearly didn't need a pacifier, so obviously nobody else's baby did either! Ha ha!

Then there was Bubby boy. Sometimes breastfeeding and holding are all he needs to be content. But sometimes they're not. Sometimes it's clear that he wants desperately to suck, but he doesn't want to eat. Up until the last few days I have given him my finger in those moments. But sometimes you need your fingers (like when you're driving and your baby is [screaming] behind you). So, for the past couple of days, I have been trying to help my little guy get the hang of the pacifier.

Many evenings he gets quite fussy. I always offer the breast first, but he often gets even more agitated as the milk starts gushing into his mouth. So we try bouncing on the birth ball and finger-sucking and changing positions and the baby swing and whatnot. Eventually he will fall asleep. Tonight I wrapped him up in a blanket and bounced him on the birth ball with the binkie in his mouth. Within minutes, he was out. For the first time in my mothering career, my baby fell asleep with a binkie.I have so many mixed emotions about it. It feels sort of like a victory... I feel like the pacifier will help keep my baby (and me) calm and happy. I think it will make car drives less heart-breaking as well. But I also feel sort of sad and conflicted. Am I damaging my child? Will I regret this later when I have to take it away? And I feel sad that I can't meet all of my baby's needs naturally... that it is taking something plastic and artificial to soothe him. I wish I was enough.

But the biggest and best lesson I learned as a brand new mom was to listen to my heart and do what it told me. It told me to bring my baby girl to bed with me, to pick her up when she cried, and to feed her whenever she was hungry (even if I had just fed her 10 minutes before). Well, I must say that my heart has been telling me "Just give him the binkie!" for weeks. And I've been fighting it. But I think my heart is right again.

We can add this to the ever-growing list of things I never thought I'd do. How many times will I eat my words before I die?

P.S. He spit out the binkie and started crying a few minutes after we took the above photo. I tried to put it back in his mouth, but he didn't want it. Instead, he wanted to nurse. :-) I'll definitely be savoring those times when I am enough.

UPDATE: He actually never really became a pacifier baby at all. It was useful for a few days, but he never really took to it. Ever since then he's been all about the real deal. I'm relieved.


HollySteffen said...

aww. well parker was a paci baby until he was like 3 months old and then wanted NOTHING to do with it. so it might be easy to break them-- he might so it himself.

...i'm envious of your nursing. =/

Liz Johnson said...

The more I think about it, the more I think that raising children is an individual thing... that no one "style" is perfect for each kid. I think that sometimes we, as mothers, are so overly inundated with various parenting techniques and mandates that we forget to trust our own intuition in the whole thing, and to allow other mothers to trust theirs. So good for you!

I've had one pacifier baby and one finger-sucker, and both have their advantages and disadvantages. We took Connor's pacifier away around 1 year, and it was the most un-traumatic thing ever. I was shocked at how easy it was!

Hilary said...

My Mom said when I was a baby (a colicky one -- wonder where my girls get it from :-)!!) that I NEEDED to suck constantly, and I had a binkie in 24-7 until I was four months old when I suddenly spit it out and was done.
I was anti-binkie originally with Annie, but by like 4 weeks old, I would've paid good money to get that kid to take one, but she was completely uninterested. Ellie needed one too, but would never take one. Now, I'm actually really hoping to get a binkie baby one of these days!! :-)

Diana J. said...

What I've learned.... Every child is different, and each child needs different things - even sometimes things that go against the system we've chosen. Our last baby hated pacifiers like poison, so we didn't have to deal with the issue, but who knows about our next? One has to do what works. Congratulations on your new little one again!

The Fifes said...

You've had a lot of good comments. I was anti-thumb because i couldn't take it away. But at 6 months he started, and it was awesome. He could put his own "pacifier" in, and it soothes him. Stopping may be a different story. We'll have to pass that bridge when we come to it. But for now it's perfect.

Rixa said...

Yeah, I might be trying a pacifier soon too, to see if it helps his fussy times and especially if it can help him sleep better at night. (Not necessarily trying to get him to sleep abnormally long stretches at night, just hoping he'll actually sleep, period!)

Sarah H said...

Thanks Busca for your comment on my blog! I know that was a long story to read. I had written originally just to write it down but then I thought I'd just share it on my blog. It feels good to be able to tell it.

As far as the paci goes, I've mostly been cautious with them, but one of my twins did take one. It was actually pretty nice! We would stick it in his mouth and he would just go right to sleep. He would only have it at nights or naps and we got rid of it when he was two.
My baby girl has been such a content baby so I don't think I even offered it. She did have a bottle every month or so, and usually took it pretty well. I always did feel a little sad to hear she took it fine--like she didn't miss me! Isn't it nice when they need you!