It’s funny how such a seemingly insignificant object can create a world of doubt in my head. Seriously, I feel like the “Pro” team is playing a game of ping-pong against the “Con” team. It goes something like this:
Pro – vs – Con : 0 – 0
+ Pro : Studies have linked the use of pacifiers with a reduced risk of SIDS. –> 1 – 0
– Con: The continued use of pacifiers into toddlerhood increases the risk of recurrent ear infections and misaligned teeth. –> 1 – 1
+ Pro: When it’s time to wean the baby away from his/her sucking habit, it’s easier with a pacifier than with his/her thumb. (I remember my mom cutting off the nipples to all of my sister’s pacifiers to show her that they were broken. I don’t think that cutting off a child’s thumb would be a good solution 😉 ). –> 2 – 1
– Con: If the baby falls asleep consistently with the pacifier, it may take a lot more time for everyone to be sleeping through the night as if he/she wakes up to find that the pacifier is gone s/he’ll likely cry for it meaning that mommy or daddy will need to get out of bed over and over again to put the thing back in their baby’s mouth. –> 2 – 2
+ Pro: A pacifier can satisfy a baby’s need to suck (giving mommy’s breasts a break!). –> 3 – 2
– Con: If given as soon as the baby cries, the pacifier may steer a parent away from the real reason their child is crying (such as hunger). –> 3 – 3
And the list goes on…
Though I’m still unsure whether I like them or not, I do use pacifiers. But I use them on my own terms. I’ll use it if:
- My son is inconsolable (usually because of gas) and I know he is neither hungry or soiled.
- My son has gotten to the point of being overtired and is otherwise unable to fall asleep (yup, I’ll have swaddled him, rocked him and turned on his white noise before giving it to him).
- When boyfriend and I are in the car and my son’s crying his head off. I’ll go sit beside him in the back and stick in his pacifier because a hysterical baby is a risk for a car accident.
What about you? Do you have a clear position on the use of a pacifier?