Monday, February 28, 2011

The Words 'Binky' and 'Paci' Annoy Me for No Reason.

[I read a lot of ‘mommy blogs’ before I was a mom, before I was even married! I’m not sure why; I definitely couldn’t relate, but I found them terribly interesting; and a good way to see what being a mom is really like. That said, this is probably a topic that no one but moms will want to read about. It’s one of those things you can’t believe you’d ever write an entire post about until you’re actually doing it. Yep. I’m pretty much a mommy blogger. Sometimes, anyway. Weird.]

Gabe is a vigorous sucker. We know this because the lactation consultant informed us (Also, he had a good flanging skills, but was uncoordinated in his sucking abilities. That’s baby book material, right there.)

We realized when he was a few days old that he would calm down if we stuck one of our (clean, well-manicured) fingers in his mouth to suck on. We were basically his human pacifier, but were trying to hold off giving him a real pacifier, since the jury is out on the whole nipple confusion thing and I didn’t want to do anything to risk it.

At three weeks old, Gabe was introduced to his new best friend:


(We tried several other kinds, including the ever-popular giant green ones, but Gabe wouldn’t have any of it. Nuk or nothing, baby. Oh, or my fingers.)

The pacifiers were a godsend, really, since they calmed him when he was crying and helped him fall asleep much more quickly. Nothing but love for the pacifier, man. They saved my sanity some nights.


However, I have this intense (unreasonable?) fear of having a huge struggle with Gabe to get rid of his pacifier when he’s a toddler. Tears, tantrums, sleepless nights…I’ve heard some terrifying stories from friends who’ve had to separate a toddler and his pacifiers.

Which means I’m pretty set on weaning Gabe completely off his pacifier, well, now. He’s going to be six months old tomorrow (!!), and it’s commonly thought that if you take the pacifier away before a baby is six months old, he won’t develop an emotional attachment, so it won’t be as hard as taking it away when he’s, say, 18 months old.

I was talking to a friend about my intense fears of the toddler-pacifier meltdown, and she said her son had no problem when they cut them up together when he was a little over a year old. Which made me even more confused.

Because, well, if it's going to be easy, why make things difficult now?

And, the thing is, the pacifier works. And he doesn’t use it much now: only to fall asleep about half the time, and doesn’t sleep sucking it. (Unless we’re tired and our patience is wearing or if he graces us with a public scream-fest. Good times.) I usually try to get him to fall asleep without it, but sometimes he just can’t calm down until he’s sucking on something (babies are funny creatures). I take it out after his sucking slows down, and he falls asleep without it. Without fail, though, it calms him down, which is worth gold in my book.

(I’ve been encouraging Gabe to suck his own fingers, but he’s just not interested. And I've challenged my assumptions a bit about just why I shudder at the thought of  Gabe the two-year-old with a pacifier, and it could very well be that I don't want others judging me. Sometimes I think the fear of judgment is more harmful than the judgment itself. But that is too deep a thought for this post.)

So now,  I must make a decision. Do I make life difficult now? Or do I put it off until he's ready and it's easier - even though he may never be and it may become a battle of wills and involve tears, blood, and late nights. (Okay, so maybe there won't be blood. Gosh, I hope there won't be blood.) ALSO, what about this whole emotional attachment business? What if Gabe suddenly decides he wants the pacifier during the day? While he's awake? What then?

(What's that you said about needless anxiety? Hush, you.)

Lumping on Dad.
One-month-old wee Gabe and his best friend, the pacifier. And his papa.
Moms, what is your story of taking the pacifier away from your pacifier-loving baby or toddler? Was it hard? Easy? When did you do it?
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