Before H was born I swore I’d never give her a pacifier. When J and I travelled in Europe we’d see all these toddler and preschool aged kids with dummies in their mouths and we both, in the way that only couples without children can, decided right there and then that not only would our children never have a pacifier into toddlerhood, they also wouldn’t have one period.
We were quite successful with that with our first child. She was a boob fiend and I didn’t mind. Until she was 4 weeks old and we were trying to drive from Albuquerque to Las Cruces, and what should have only been a 3 hours drive became 7 hours because my baby hated the car and I couldn’t let her scream for long.
We bought a pacifier then, in hopes of soothing her. We’d pop that dummy in her mouth and she’d scream so hard as if we were killing her. I desperately tried to get her to take it all weekend as we visited friends and family, in hopes that the drive back was easier.
Well, she didn’t take it, and the drive was no easier. I guess that is what we deserved for being so sanctimonious before ever having kids.
When B came along I had a package of Nuks on hand, just in case. I actually didn’t even realize there were other types of dummies at this point.
B had a strong sucking reflex, but would get royally pissed when he’d want to suck and there was milk, which he wasn’t looking for. So I gave him a dummy and that was that. He mostly used it in the car, and sometimes at home. But there wasn’t much rhyme or rhythm to it.
Right at 5 months he had mostly lost interest in it, other than in the car, and so we decided to pull the plug – quite literally – on him, and tossed all the pacifiers. It was quite uneventful.
Then there was M. Sweet, darling M.
I was prepared with him. When he turned out to be similar to his brother, I didn’t even question myself on giving him a dummy. I sent J to Target and he came back with every brand of dummies they had, and we found what worked best for him.
Of course, then we went to physical therapy after his lip and tongue tie revisions and the differences between nipple shapes was explained to me and we started working on him being able to get a good latch on a soothie (the ideal paci in terms of latch).
He’ll take a soothie now, but not for long. His favorite is MAM, but we’ve found a good compromise with Tommee Tippee (its nipple allows for a better tongue curl and latch).
Thing is, Sweet M loves his paci. We’ve got a million of them because things get harry when we can’t find one, and we simply never have enough.
Sometimes he nurses to sleep, but often he wants a dummy in his mouth and to be laying on my chest to fall asleep.
So as you can see, I’m not quite ready to pull the plug on him. It’s a comfort item for him. Kind of like chocolate and wine are for me. It’s not a loving thing to take those things away.
I hope he naturally outgrows it. I really do.
But I also no longer have those strong feelings that I did nine years ago before I was ever a momma.
So if M is still taking a dummy when he gets married, future daughter or so-in-law, I apologize. But I get it now. Why toddlers and preschoolers still run around with them. Because I’m not sure I will know how to break the habit for him if he doesn’t do it himself. And more so, I’m not sure I will want to set an arbitrary age of when it should no longer be comforting to him: because how can I decide that?
And thus, the plight of the paci.
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