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.