TV shows, cartoons, commercials, your mother and your next door neighbor – they all tell you the same thing: your baby needs a Pacifier. The Pacifier is good. You “must” give your baby the pacifier, there’s no other way to do it.
But does your baby really need a pacifier? Certainly not, and even though I am not going to quote any studies or anything else than my personal opinion and a bit of common sense and knowledge, I will hopefully make you understand that indeed Pacifiers are not a must for your baby and they might actually cause more trouble than solve problems.
The general consensus is that Pacifiers help babies relax. They keep on sucking on those plastic bits and they seem so calm. No more screaming, no more shouting, no more temper tantrums… just silence and serenity. The babies love them, why shouldn’t you give yours one?
Well, because babies don’t love them, in the first place! No baby that I know – or parents that I have talked to – just gave the pacifier to their baby and they joyfully accepted it. Not, it was a long and difficult process of getting them used with them as all babies will initially spit them out, refuse them and even cry when you try to give it to them. Tricks to make them accept them faster are varied and usually unhealthy: from the kind-of-acceptable “put it in milk before giving it to the baby” method to strange ones like soaking them in syrup, honey or other foods, these are nothing but tricks that we use to get the babies used with the pacifiers.
Why are we doing this and we’re basically lying to ourselves that it’s a good thing? We do it to shut the baby up. Really, that’s the only real use of the pacifier, in my opinion.
Is the baby crying without a reason? Give them the pacifier! Is the baby screaming? The pacifier will fix that. Do you want to watch your favorite show? The pacifier’s the answer.
Just like with feeding the bottle to the baby, the pacifier is the easy way out. Less stress for you, a silenced baby, everybody’s happy. Or is it?
Using a pacifier comes with a bunch of possible problems related to it, like:
– teeth problems
– nipple confusion (aka just like most men nowadays, they start to prefer plastic to the real thing)
– long lasting bad habit
It might be difficult to get the baby used with the pacifier, but it’s a lot more difficult to have them stop using it. My parents joyfully told me that when I was little I had no intention of giving my pacifier away so they had to sprinkle hot paprika powder on it to make me stop using it. This is absolutely outrageous and just shows how difficult it is for a baby to stop using this little demon.
Based on my own experience with my little wonder who is now 14 months old – and was never given a pacifier – there are no reasons for me to wish to turn back time and get him used with it. People said that he will instead suck his fingers and that’s an even worse habit, but it didn’t happen. It had a couple of months when he indeed sucked on his thumb and we were worried that it’ll turn into a habit, but it’s been months now since he did that, so we can cut this off the list.
We were also told that he will scream and cry way more without a pacifier. I don’t really know how things would’ve been otherwise, but I am still here, sane and stress free as my baby didn’t seem to cry more than your regular kid. On the contrary, since his mouth wasn’t always full, he is laughing a lot, talking a lot and, at 14 months old, he already knows to replicate some animal sounds, has a dozen or so words that he constantly uses and and always talks the baby gibberish that my wife and I absolutely love.
In other words, I see no reasons why a baby would actually need a pacifier. We did just great without one and I am sure we’re not alone here. So don’t take the easy route and choose the pacifier to silence your baby – that’s not why you had him or her!