Here’s another issue destined to spark a bit of conversation in a gathering of new moms – to pacifier or not to pacifier? Personally, I’m in the pro-pacifier camp. I’m on my second child at this point, and I’ve found a pacifier a great sleep aid for both children. It’s a big priority for me to teach my children to go to sleep on there own, but without “crying it out”. I use rocking or the swing to lull them to sleep while they’re newborn, but soon progress to wrapping my babies and putting them in the bassinet awake, but drowsy – with a pacifier. By 3-5 months, I have a baby who virtually goes to sleep on his own. Around 6 months, I add a lovey blanket to the equation, which strengthens the sleep routine. Yes, from time to time I have to wake up to give baby back his pacifier in the middle of the night, but my children have slept through the night (i.e. without pacifier put-backs), much faster than any of the women I know who don’t use pacifiers and don’t use “crying-it-out”. Those women almost always have to breastfeed their babies if they wake up. Obviously, popping the pacifier back in is MUCH faster and daddy can do it too!
What about taking that pacifier away? With my older child, we simply cut the tip of the pacifier off the day after her first birthday. By that time, she was only getting the pacifier for naps or bedtime (a trend that started around 8-10 months). When we gave her the de-tipped pacifier, she thought it was odd and pretty useless. By the third day we simply didn’t give it to her and she didn’t ask! She’s been pacifier-free ever since! My second is just five months old, so I can’t vouch for him, but we’ll be trying the same trick!
P.S. Pacifiers also come in very, very handy when you’re trying to comfort a baby that you can’t pick up at the time – in the car, getting a vaccination, running through the house with 5 things in your arm and the phone ringing, etc!