To Pacify or not to Pacify

There is no doubt that babies need to suck. The question is: what should they be allowed to suck on? Arguments for and against the use of a pacifier are sometimes contradictory, and it’s hard for parents to make up their mind.

For the pacifier is the fact that studies have shown its use at night reduces the incidence of SIDS. A pacifier is also something you can control and remove from a baby, unlike their thumb. Because of that, it is believed that babies stop using a pacifier earlier than babies give up on sucking their thumb. Some people also claim that sucking a thumb makes more damage to the teeth alignment than a pacifier, so it’s good to use one to prevent thumb-sucking. And finally, some breastfeeding mothers get sick of feeling like a human pacifier when their babies want to keep sucking even though they are not hungry and not drinking milk anymore.

Against the pacifier is the fact that it shouldn’t be used for the first 6 weeks of a breastfed baby’s life to avoid nipple confusion until breastfeeding is well established. Babies who use a pacifier at night tend to wake up more because they drop it and need a parent to plop it back into their mouth. Also, some people believe that toddlers tend to give up on the thumb more naturally since you can’t crawl or walk on all fours or explore the world as easily with a thumb in your mouth, whereas you can with a pacifier. Finally, a lot of people think that a pacifier just makes a baby look dumb, especially when they get to older toddle age.

As for us, we were mostly against the use of a pacifier, mostly because it is most unnatural. We didn’t buy one… Until yesterday. We finally gave up for one reason only: Elliot cries non-stop in the car. I can’t breastfeed in the car! And after a 30-minutes trip with his thumb in Elliot’s mouth, Zak’s skin was shriveled and painful, so we started to wonder. We bought a pacifier and after spending a few minutes trying to figure out what that thing was in his mouth, our 2-month old started sucking happily away and forgot to cry. Since we rarely use a car, we figured that using a pacifier ONLY for that use wouldn’t do much damage, much less than crying for 30 minutes straight.

Hopefully we’ll manage to limit the use of the pacifier to the car and not start slipping down this slippery slope!

P.S. It’s amazing the number of latex or rubber pacifiers for sale out there. Don’t buy them! Silicone is the best choice as it is hypo-allergenic, stable and easy to sterilize.

2 Responses to “To Pacify or not to Pacify”

  1. Danielle Says:

    Ma première fille a sucé son pouce et j’ai eu du mal à l’en déshabituer… jusqu’à 5 ans. Mes deux derniers ont eu la suce et pour tous les deux, nous avons tout naturellement réussi à faire correspondre le changement de la bassinnette vers le lit de grand avec l’arrêt de la suce, vers deux ans et demie. Tout comme nous limitions l’usage de la suce au lit ou au transat, voire au siège d’auto. Je préfère d’ailleurs le caoutchouc brun au silicone… il est plus résistant aux multiples lavages et stérilisations… selon mon expérience personnelle. Mon deuxième ne s’étant attaché ni au pouce ni à la suce… si j’avais un autre enfant aujourd’hui – non, non, svp – je lui offrirais la suce avant tout! Surtout pas le pouce!!! Vade retro satanas!

  2. sophie Says:

    Je préfère le silicone parce que le latex peut entraîner des allergies, et le caoutchouc apparemment ne serait pas aussi bon pour la santé. On en est venus à cette conclusion après avoir fait de longues recherches sur la toxicité des plastiques, notamment sur ce site : ou on dit :
    “Choose silicone nipples instead of rubber, which can leach carcinogenic nitrosamines (silicone is clear, rubber is yellow).”
    Le silicone est inerte et ne libère pas de particules qui seraient absorbées par le bébé…