Wednesday, August 29, 2007

That's why they call it a pacifier

I didn't use a pacifier with my first child. I'd read too many breastfeeding advocacy articles that claimed pacis could cause nipple confusion and make nursing more difficult. At one point I bought a pacifier and offered it to my fussy baby. She spit it out and we figured she didn't care for the thing.

So I became the human pacifier, having to lift my shirt or offer a freshly Purelled pinky finger whenever Z became inconsolable. Which was at least an hour a day. Not having the binky available to me, I fell into the bad habit of nursing her to sleep. Which meant that every night I'd have to oh-so-carefully pry my infant off of my breast and sneak her into her crib. Then I'd creep out of her room while carefully avoiding all the creaky floorboards for fear of waking up the baby and having to start over again. We'd even find ourselves standing over her crib as she sucked our pinky fingers numb.

So when my next-door neighbor Sharon (my primary source of parenting advice and a champion breast-feeder to boot) started singing the praises of the pacifier, I paid attention. She encouraged me to give my second child a paci right at the very beginning--in the hospital, preferably. She also stressed to me that you can't just offer the plug once and give up. Instead, she demonstrated her patented hold-in-the-paci and pat-the-bum trick for encouraging paci love in a newborn.

It took experimenting with a few brands, but now we've got a pacified baby on our hands. And let me tell you, it is so worth it. I can offer a paci when I'm done nursing and Baby A needs a little non-nutritive sucking. When we're in the car and she starts to fuss, even our 2-year-old can pop a paci in her baby sister's mouth. When she's hungry and I need to buy myself a couple of minutes before I can feed her, the pacifier keeps her happy. She doesn't usually need it to fall asleep, but she does like to suck on it as she is winding down toward a nap.

I know I'll have to take away the pacifier eventually (I hate seeing 3 year olds with a paci!), but I don't care. If baby's pacified, I'm happy.