When I had my first child, I was elated. He was cute, he was chubby, and he had lungs that could go on for hours when nothing could console him. At times like this I battled with the idea of giving him the pacifier. For some rhyme or reason, it seemed like it was a taboo thing to do.
As a first-time mother, I had idealized motherhood. Magazines and Instagram would show perfect color-coordinated pictures that depict the experience to be calm, peaceful and pretty. I soon realized that it wasn’t quite the case. The struggle of the first few months is real, and yet so little was talked about it.
One day, when the crying became quite unbearable, I bought a soother and let him suckle on it. It actually took a while for him to get used to the pacifier. Soon, he took a liking to it, and hurrah! He was soothed to sleep. For a moment, we felt relieved, only because we finally had a bit of a breather for ourselves to focus on other aspects of his well-being, as well as our own well-being!
Pros and Cons of the Pacifier
When I had given my baby the pacifier, my mom said, “I never gave any of my children the pacifier!” Her words punched my gut.
But I learnt to let that guilt go when I read up more about the pros and cons of the pacifier. Here were some findings:
- Reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome): It helps to open up the air space around the baby’s mouth and nose
- Useful if travelling on airplanes: Ears pops are very uncomfortable for babies. This occurrence reduces greatly when your baby is sucking on a pacifier
- Teaches baby how to self-soothe: Less reliance on the mother to comfort him or herself
- Help preemies develop better: Research shows that it helps preterm babies to graduate from hospitals faster
- Help mothers get through PPD: Having a tool that can ease the burden of new motherhood can help mothers through post-partum depression
- Attachment to the pacifier: After the age of 1, the child could be unhealthily attached to the pacifier as means to feel comfort
- Reliance on pacifier to sleep: If used as a clutch, the child may take longer to learn how to sleep on his own
- Risk of ear infection: Frequent sucking of the pacifier can change the pressure behind the ear, causing some build-up of fluids in the middle ear. However, this usually happens for babies after age of 6 months.
- Dental problems: Prolonged usage can affect teeth development. If used till the age 4, it can create problems such as overbite or cross-bite.
How to Use the Pacifier
Weighing the pros and cons, I realize that the usage of the pacifier, is a matter of moderation. Too often and too long will cause unnecessary stress when the child enters toddle-dom. I realize the best time to use the pacifier was after 1 month, and to wean him off it when he turns about 16-18 months.
When using the pacifier, it’s important to keep it clean and sanitized. Wash the pacifier with safe baby-friendly soap and sterilize it frequently. We used the pacifier to help him go to sleep but the moment he fell asleep, we would gently remove the pacifier from his lips.
When going out with my baby, I usually have with me a portable pacifier sterilizer case – the JJOBI Trolls. It eliminates 99.9% of germs on the pacifier in 5 minutes. Very handy when going out, because you don’t want to know the number of times your baby might chuck the binky aside. It also becomes a convenient carrier case for the pacifier.
It is very straightforward to use – simply pop the pacifier into the case and let the UV LED technology do its magic. There’s no heat, no smell, no noise and no ozone released – making it both safe and eco-friendly.
Post Pacifier Days
We weaned the pacifier from our little boy when he was about 18 months. Admittedly, it was difficult. However, children are highly adaptable, and it was not long before the pacifier was entirely forgotten. Now, he’s approaching 3 years old, happy, healthy and bouncing all the way. We have no regrets.
You Do You
It may or may not be a cup of tea for every mother, but I just want to let you know that there is no fault in giving your baby a pacifier. Guilt is a terrible feeling to have for a young and new mother. There is little need to compare ourselves with other mothers when in fact, sometimes people don’t share the real struggles of motherhood. Do the things that will work for you and your family. Invest in products that can help you have peace of mind.
Happy mother, happy baby.