Pacifiers

We didn’t use one with DC1.  Ze was really a thumb kid.  I was fine with that… less plastic, you never lose it.  I don’t think we even owned a pacifier.  Plus I wasn’t making as much milk and DC1 spit up a lot more, so more suckling was required, no doubt helping with that need to suck.

The hospital sent one home with us with DC2.  One night at 3am when an unhappy DC2 was obviously not hungry but was chewing on my breast (sometime after the nipple-confusion stage), we tried it in desperation.  It worked.

I think we’re going to keep just the one, and we’re only going to use it when we’ve tried everything else and it’s obvious ze needs to suck on something other than my breast.  I keep hoping that ze will discover hir thumb, but it hasn’t happened yet.

I never understood parents who forced pacis on their kids and complained that their kid wouldn’t take one no matter how hard they tried.  And my confusion got larger when these same parents later complained that their toddler wouldn’t give up the pacifier ze had been forced to take as an infant.  But now I totally understand the use of pacifiers.  Sometimes baby just wants to suck on something and will destroy a breast if allowed.

I’m not sure if pacifiers can be used in moderation, but I’m hoping they can.  We’re going to try, anyway.  Anything* that brings sweet quiet to a dreadfully unhappy baby.

*Well, not *anything*… mommy won’t be drinking hard liquor until nursing is done, for example.

Was your kid a pacifier baby or a thumb baby or nothing at all?  If you don’t have kids, do you remember which you were?  Any fun stories to share?

 

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29 Responses to “Pacifiers”

  1. Practical Parsimony Says:

    My mother had five children and none used pacifiers or were breast fed. None were thumb-suckers.

    I was against pacifiers until my first cried and doubled up in pain. The doctor said he had a belly ache/gas and to give the child a pacifier. I did. Son refused it. But, the doctor said to force him to suck it. He was easily boken of the habit at about nine months. ONE pacifier? We had them in the car, in husband’s suit pocket, all over the house. Yet, we turned the car around and went home many a time as I searched for a pacifier and all the dozen were at home. When he was nine months, he decided throwing his pacifier or bottle was fun, especially since he usually threw the bottle against a wall at church.(no nursery) We just “lost” the pacifier before long.

    Second child cried all the time, especially if I were not holding her. She could not bear for her father or anyone in the church nursery to hold her. . I figured out later the ex was sexually abusing her. Son (2 years) was sneakily hurting her. I and the pacifier were the only friends she had. She was such a crier that she kept her pacifier until she was about 11 months. She had thrush and could not suck it, so I just never gave it back.

    Third child ( second girl) was sucking her fingers when she was two minutes old. The nurse said she was sucking fingers before she was born. Thumb-sucking was a horror for me to consider. But, I loved her so and found it quite endearing. She looked so happy and content and was blissfully quiet. It is not like a person could remove her thumb, attached as it is. When we were six blocks from home and she was howling from hunger or a poopy or wet diaper, I would say, “Oh, Alana, suck your thumb.” as I put her thumb in her mouth to quiet her. When she was almost three months old, I said that and she stuck her own thumb in her mouth! What a surprise!

    The first two children were agitated criers that could cry for hours! She just sucked her thumb and looked pleasant. Her thumb was deformed looking, sort of flat, when she was five and still sucking her thumb. She eventually quit and her thumb recovered and the teeth were not damaged. The thumb-sucker cried about 1/20 of what the others did, maybe less.

    When I gave her a bottle, i would stuff a birdseye cloth diaper under her chin to catch milk drips. She clutched the diaper. So, when she sucked her thumb, even after she was toilet trained, she had to have a diaper. When she was three, I realized i was still washing almost 5 dozen diapers. So, I packed away 4 dozen diapers and left about 6-9 for her. Some days, I would not have a clean one, one that had not been dropped in a store and stepped on, so I had to find a substitute. I had my son bring down a tshirt. It did not suit her. Finally, I had him bring down half a dozen white tshirts for her to choose. She would hold a tshirt, put her thumb in her mouth, throw down the diaper as she made a whiny, disapproving “Uh” sound. Since the tshirts were identical, we never could figure out what the difference was in tshirts. Finally, one of the older children just took her upstairs every time I did not have her diapers washed to let her try out each tshirt in his drawer as she sucked her thumb. I shoud have left more than that 6-9 out, but I had packed them away. Those 40-yr-old diapers still live here!

    My two-year-old granddaughter needs something to hold also when she sucks her thumb. She carries a nursing bra in public with full approval of my son and his wife. It is so cute.

  2. NoTrustFund Says:

    #1 used a pacifier for naps and in the car. It was great and we took it away cold turkey at 2. Naps suffered for awhile but now are fine. To my dismay, #2 had no interest and instead is a thumb sucker- does not nap well and cries a lot in the car. Plus- how do you get rid of the thumb when the kid is older? #2 is only 1 so I’m not worried yet but….

  3. Club Thrifty (@ClubThrifty) Says:

    Our first kid was a HUGE pacifier lover. We had to pry that thing out of her hands when we finally got rid of it. #2 had no interest in the pacifier or the thumb, so we never forced it on her.

  4. Amanda@LadyScientist Says:

    Kiddo is a pacifier kid. I introduced it in self defense when he was 2-3 weeks old. He would destroy my breasts and, if I had let him, he would have stayed attached 24/7. Kiddo is now almost 15 months and we’ve successfully (and without much fuss) gotten him down to using it at just naps and bed time. I don’t know when we’ll worry about getting rid of it altogether, but that’s a job for Future Amanda to figure out and right now it works.

  5. Perpetua Says:

    Both my kiddos used pacis, and we were always very careful how to use them. It wasn’t to save my boobs, but sometimes they wanted to suck but not nurse, esp my #1 who could get touched out (even babies can get touched out – he hyper stimulates to touch, and has since he was born). They had them while sleeping or on car trips or the airplane. When they were small babies, we also used them in “emergency” situations (church, or dinners at people’s houses, you know places where you might want your baby not to shriek). But as they grew older, it was only car/plane/sleep, and we never found it to be a problem. It’s true my kids kept their pacis pretty old (over 2 but before 3) and it never became an issue until after they were 2. In both case we were horrified we let them keep them so long, but it was a laziness thing. And you know, who cares. My son kept his paci until he was almost 3 (we traded him the paci for a firetruck – we picked out something he really wanted and put it on a shelf where he could see. We told him he could have it any time he wanted, but he had to throw his paci away first. That way he got to think about it and chose and it wasn’t a power struggle with us. He threw it away, took the truck, and never looked back.) and now he’s 4 and I bet you can’t tell the difference between him and a kid who never had one. I think it would be different if he had in his mouth always as a baby and toddler (which can cause problems) but with restricted use, there aren’t any long term consequences that I know of.

  6. Cloud Says:

    Pumpkin was a pacifier kid, Petunia is a thumb kid. Sure, the thumb makes things easier early on- she never loses it!- but the pacifier is waaaay easier to stop. We just had the binky fairy come and take them away and leave a treat behind (a big coloring book). We did this when Pumpkin was 3. Our dentist is glad she quit when she did, but sees no harm from having let her go as long as we did. And she was a pretty heavy user of the binky. I have no idea how we’re going to break Petunia of her thumb habit. I sucked my thumb as a kid, and it was pretty much peer pressure at school that finally broke me of the habit.

    I say embrace the pacifier habit, and don’t worry about it.

  7. bogart Says:

    I forget when DC took up paci use, but we used it extensively and enthusiastically from whenever he did until he was … nearly 4? For me the tipping point (in embracing as opposed to tolerating their use) was when I realized that a toddler with a pacifier in his mouth is a toddler who is not putting dog poop (or, our more likely choice, horse poop) in his mouth. Win!

    We were woefully derelict about even trying to take it away until we went through about 3 nights in a row when he was waking up approximately hourly, unable to find it and needing help. OMG. Thus was it decided he was done with pacis and that they needed to be passed along to a younger child (the explanation given to him, of course in reality we threw them away). Once gone, they were mentioned (by him) precisely once, and their absence was a total non-issue.

    In contrast with your experience with DC1, my brother sucked his fingers (two of them) for years and years and years and years.

    My grandmother at some point suggested that his (my? I am not sure if I was a thumbsucker or not) arm(s) could be put into a brace/case to make it impossible for him (me?) to do that, and when my mother mentioned this to the pediatrician, his reply was, “It will be possible to straighten out his teeth later, but not his mind.” Or in other words, what a crazy idea (of my grandmother’s, obviously. But she, in turn, was of course just working from the “wisdom” of her era/generation).

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I think cayenne was also popular with that generation.

      I wonder if they should add a book to the “Hands are not for hitting, Teeth are not for biting” series… “Poo is not for eating.”

  8. EarlyToBed Says:

    My son was a pacifier kid. It brought him great comfort, and we didn’t give it too much thought. I was a thumbsucker. It brought me great comfort until my 3rd grade teacher put an end to it by humiliating me in front of my classmates. I don’t get it. Why interfere with self-soothing?

  9. mom2boy Says:

    I was a thumbsucker long enough to remember being a thumbsucker. I eventually quit on my own and nothing horrible happened to my teeth. I remember getting a lot of comfort from sucking my thumb. I remember adults asking me what flavor it was. I remember not liking that question at all.

    I had already decided that whatever Tate chose, pacifier or thumb, would be fine with me. He chose neither of course. (I still don’t want to hear about how you can “get” a crying baby to take a pacifier. Ever.)

  10. MutantSupermodel Says:

    #2 would only take a pacifier from #1 or from dad. We ended up having a lot of them because those things get more lost than socks.

  11. rented life Says:

    My brother was a pacifier kid, and I often hear the story about how I apparently flushed it down the toliet and the stores were closed and he cried and cried and cried all night. (I don’t remember this but mom and dad seem a bit scarred from it!) I didn’t do the thumb thing, but I did my pointer finger. I don’t totally know why I preferred that. Mom had made me a pillow that I liked to have with me at the same time–not a blanket kid. (I don’t think brother was a blanket kid either.) My cousin’s daughter largely skipped the pacifier thing too. They had one but she was less interested in it.

    • Debbie M Says:

      “Pacifiers” have that name for good reason.

      I also sucked my index finger. My little brother did it, too (probably copying me). My sister had pacifiers. I stopped sucking my finger during the day when I started school–only because people made fun of me. I still sucked it when we had to put our heads down on our desks and I could hide behind my other arm.

      I stopped sucking my finger at night when I was twelve because duh! Don’t you have to stop sometime? I was practically a teenager! And there are sleepovers! I tried sucking my other index finger instead for a while (instead of going cold turkey). I figured it would be easier to quit sucking my wrong finger, which felt much, much worse, and not even good, really. But actually, I just got used to it and started liking it, so I had to stop cold turkey anyway.

      Don’t blame my parents for this. They tried all kinds of things. I do remember the hot sauce. It’s just a few horrible minutes, and then it’s good again. I may have been a bit stubborn. :-)

      I do have an overbite; all of us kids do. But then we all have our dad’s big teeth and my mom’s small mouth, so no telling how much is genetic and how much is due to the finger sucking. (At least my top teeth don’t have one tooth totally behind all the other ones like with my bottom teeth.) My index finger still turns in slightly, though I could probably fix that (or have fixed that) by holding it the other way while watching TV and stuff (like wearing braces). It’s not noticeable if you’re not looking for it. I was going to say that the skin on my index finger is a little dryer and a little more wrinkly than that on my other fingers, but that’s no longer true. I’m 49 years old, and all my fingers are a little bit wrinkly! The finger I sucked actually looks slightly less wrinkly now, so that’s weird.

      I also fingered the wrinkles in the bed sheets. I did not have to stop doing this because there is no taboo on that, perhaps because it doesn’t involve any risk of ingesting germs. I only find myself doing that every so often, though. Just when the sheet happens to feel good, not when I’m feeling needy.

      So, I’m probably a worst-case scenario, but but surely having to stop sucking my own finger at age 12 with no one forcing me was character-building. (Next goal: I stopped biting my finger nails during high school. Much easier. Worse side-effects, though–now I have to clean them and trim them. So now I think ahead about the side-effects of the habits I decide to break.)

      • Practical Parsimony Says:

        LOL…funny comments. My daughter said she could only suck one thumb, not the other. When she had to be hospitalized with an iv, the doctor was going to put it in her arm that had the good sucking thumb. I told him she would be a happier baby if she did not have to try to bed that arm. He put the iv in the other arm for her comfort.

      • Debbie M Says:

        Totally. One thumb feels right, and the other is wrong.

  12. Ana Says:

    both of mine used pacis occasionally. Both stopped being interested 4-6 months. We used them for non-hunger soothing needs; both of mine had periods when they didn’t want to nurse (with #2, he would sometimes scream and cry more when I tried to nurse him, I had oversupply and he had reflux) or when nursing was impossible (i.e. standing on an extremely crowded crosstown bus). I’m sure the city is littered with our discarded pacis, you only have 1? Like others above, we had 2 in the diaper bag, one in each coat pocket, in the Ergo carrier pocket, every floor of the house, etc…
    #1 transitioned to a very strange habit he still has at nearly 3—he sucks on a cloth burprag…a very thin fabric specific style only available at one specific chain store (and lately he only wants the blue ones with no stars…the “regular” blue one mommy), that he basically stuffs in his mouth until it gets gross and wet & he kinda…latches on…to it. He needs it for sleep, naps, and whenever he is anxious/scared/sad (almost always, very volatile emotions, this one). It started when we would have one over our shoulder when feeding him his bottle and he started playing with it, covering his face with it while he drank, and eventually putting it in his mouth.
    #2 is a thumbsucker. Started around 2 months. Definitely a lot easier. he’s not quite one yet, but I’m already worried about breaking the habit—I sucked my thumb until age 5 when peer pressure cured me almost immediately.

  13. Que Sera Says:

    Mijo needed a paci but never figured it out and got pretty happy after a few weeks and hardly cried. He didn’t suck his thumb either. Mijito used it in the first weeks when he was crying a lot and it helped, but he now gets very angry if we try to give it to him, so he hasn’t used it since 6 weeks. Maybe he’ll be a thumb sucker? Right now he’s a fist sucker.

  14. karifur Says:

    Neither of our kids had any interest in pacifiers or their own thumbs. However, they did have a special taste for mum & dad’s fingers. I remember one road trip with just me and the oldest (about 4 months old at the time) where I spent about 20 minutes of the drive with my right arm stretched out backwards so he could suck on my pinkie because it was the only thing that would stop him crying and there were no rest stops or exits where I could pull over to feed him.
    Good times.

  15. Sara Says:

    I wasn’t a pacifier baby… I was a bottle baby. The kind where you use the disposable plastic bottle liners (don’t know if these still exist or were just in the 80s) apparently I always had the bottle hanging out of my mouth even long after the milk was gone, and on a few occasions managed to suck the plastic liner up through the nipple….. so I guess that’s pretty odd!

  16. mareserinitatis Says:

    I breastfed my second one, and after he was six months old, he refused a pacifier because he wanted the real thing. I was fine with that as my older one had used one for far too long, IMO.

  17. darchole Says:

    For me as a kid it was neither. I apparently had a habit of destroying the pacifers…somehow?

    I wonder if the no paci/thumb tendencies are an early sign of being “gifted” like not needing a lot of sleep? I also didn’t take naps very much either.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      If it is, it’s not one I’ve seen addressed in the gifted books I read, but who knows. My assumption was that it was related to how much sucking the kid is getting with feeding compared to how much sucking the kid needs. (Based on my N = 2 and my milk flowing much more freely this time around, because obviously that’s the only difference.)

  18. First Gen American Says:

    Mine were both sucking thumbs in the womb so you can’t blame me for forcing them. I thought my kids would have horribly large noses from the ultrasound pictures and then the technician told me it wa snot their nose I was seeing but their hand In their mouth. One quit on his own by 3, the other needed some help at 5. That nasty nail polish stuff worked. He didn’t want to d it anymore due to Kindie stigma, but couldn’t quit on his own.


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