Some moms never use a pacifier with any of their babies. But that's no reason to negatively judge those who do – and even if a high percentage of moms do use the things – it’s not really just a choice that moms make, like, before their first littles are even born. It's something women and husbands need to talk about.
Although my experience with taking care of kids was mainly in chasing after toddlers at the park or nannying for elementary school-aged kids, when I thought about it, it just didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me to use a binkie. (Plus, my daycare-providing mom always talked about how she didn’t think they were a good idea, so surely that influenced my choice on some level.)
Sure, those clippies to hold them onto their shirts are cute and colorful, and it’s kind of funny to see infants and tiny tots sucking away to soothe themselves as they go about their day or drift off to sleep, but to me, whatever convenience pacifiers might offer was outweighed in spades by the hassle that they would create.
Honestly, my pediatrician offered it up: “How about trying a pacifier?” “Nope,” I said. It just wasn’t for me. It seemed like one more thing to worry about, one more item to deal with.
You can ask your friends who do use them why they do, and you can read on here for 15 ways baby’s binkie will make a mom’s job so much harder.
15 Fear For The Ears
This is probably a topic to address with your child’s pediatrician. All things related to health tend to be better handled by a medical professional than, well, something someone said on the Internet, right?
But parenting sites do say that one potential downside to using a binkie for your baby is that it might increase the risk for a certain type of ear infection.
Specifically, both babies and young children might tend to develop more middle ear infections than little ones who don’t use pacifiers.
Reportedly, the risk for such infections is considered to be lower when the baby using the pacifier is rather young.
Therefore some recommend using that binkie only until your little love is about 6 months old. That’s the time during which the need to suck is considered the greatest. Then you can wean him from it after that point.
14 Creating Nighttime Neediness
This thing went around the Internet lately about a mom’s “genius” solution to a problem that pacifier use apparently quite commonly presents.
See, the pacifier falls out of the baby’s mouth once she is asleep in her crib. She wakes up, and looks for the one thing that she knows how to use to soothe herself back to sleep, and it’s too hard to find, and she cries and cries and cries until mom finally comes in and sticks the binky back in there to make her quiet down.
The “genius” hack was apparently that the mother put a ridiculous amount of pacis in the crib, therefore trying to increase the likelihood that her child’s groping hand would stumble upon one and she’d be able to get some sleep.
Would you want to sleep in a bed full of lumpy, bumpy plastic objects, though? Have you seen how much babies move and roll around in their sleep?
Maybe you could just skip the binkie and let baby learn to find her thumb instead…
13 Adding To The Confusion
One reason that many pediatricians and breastfeeding experts recommend not, say, introducing a bottle at the VERY outset is that it may lead to something called “nipple confusion,” or basically interfere with breastfeeding being successful.
Well it’s at least a possibility that giving a pacifier before breastfeeding is firmly established might lead to nipple confusion, too.
This apparently used to be a rather popular opinion – that confusion would occur – and there is now conflicting research on the topic. It’s been hard for researchers to pinpoint whether the two things are for sure related.
Some advise, therefore, at least giving babies a chance to really get used to nursing (and for a mom’s milk supply to really be established). Even at that point, it’s cautioned that moms should be careful to only give that paci after regular feedings, so the baby is still sucking enough to get enough calories and hydration, too.
12 It’s Gross
It’s true that intensely fearing germs is probably not the best way to go through life – or to begin the life of your own precious child.
I’m just saying, do you really want to intentionally introduce an item that will frequently be dropped on dirty floors and then go right back into your baby’s mouth? (Hey, maybe you think it will build their immunity or something, and that’s your goal! I don’t know.)
Whether or not the yuckiness of dropped pacifiers actually causes any illness or simply bad tastes and the like for the baby, might it cause poor mom to worry a bit about yet another thing?
We already have to put quite a bit of time and effort (and that’s the understatement of the century) into carefully monitoring what goes into our kids’ mouths in those early years. Who needs another thing to fret about?
11 All ‘Good’ Things Must End
If I’m totally honest, this was really one of the most important reasons for me in my choice not to use a pacifier with any of my own kids: I didn’t want to have to deal with taking it away.
Why create a dependency from which your child will then have to be (perhaps quite reluctantly) weaned, ya know?
If there were perfectly acceptable alternatives, such as cuddling my baby, letting her learn to suck her thumb, and so on and so forth, why would I want to give her an object that I would then need to tell her she all of the sudden wasn’t allowed to have anymore?
What would happen when she saw other kids out and about with their binkies and got upset that she couldn’t have hers?
Pacifiers can easily become a habit, there may be dental concerns if they’re used too long into childhood, and they just clearly can’t be used forever!
10 It’s Embarrassing
Even if moms set out to only use a pacifier during the first, say, 6 months or maybe year of their baby’s life, we all know that’s not exactly what always ends up happening, right?
Hopefully, you don’t live your life trying to make everyone else agree with you or praise you all the time, but might moms have to deal with some harsh judgment from others if their toddler (or older child…) is running around at the park (or school…) with a binkie in his mouth? Whether or not others judge harshly (think of other kids’ reactions, too…), a mom might have sort of a complex about it herself, I suppose.
Would you feel like others are judging you harshly or making you or your child feel bad because they are “too old” to have a paci? Would you feel self-conscious about it?
One time a toddler about the age of my oldest child excluded her from playing at the park because she was a “baby.” This kid was saying this during breaks from sucking on his own pacifier – and I’d bet his lashing out was because other kids were giving him a hard time for still using the “babyish” binkie.
9 They Need Nutrition
I always wondered how new moms are so confident that the particular sucking their infant desires is a pacifier and not, like, milk.
Doesn’t it just make for one more thing a mom has to worry about and try to keep track of and discern?
Young babies are very frequent nursers, and after experiencing first-hand what it’s like to be a mom to two infants, I just don’t really get how you could be totally confident that allowing your little one to suck on a pacifier wasn’t decreasing the time they ended up spending at the breast (or in some cases, bottle).
New moms tend to have the primary focus of making sure their babies are getting enough nutrition. It’s all about making sure they are gaining enough and growing enough.
I just wouldn’t want to wonder.
Plus, a baby spending lots of time sucking at the breast is what brings in a new mom’s supply of milk.
8 ANOTHER Potential Hazard
Trust me – you’ll soon understand if you’re about to have a baby or toddler on your hands. Everything – EVERYTHING – has the potential to become a hazard.
The second I let my guard down and don’t really, really carefully monitor every item that is brought into my home, my toddler’s shoving a poof ball from that “cute” card Auntie gave him up his nose. The minute I decide it’s not a big deal that those little finger puppets (also gifted by Auntie, by the way…) are probably okay even though they have small parts, my little one chews one of the eyes off.
Even things that are safe at first fall apart into tiny, choke-able pieces – such as the silicon spouts to sippie cups, the threads holding stuffed animals together, and, well, everything!
Parents have to constantly be on the watch and remove or discard any items that are falling apart or are in some way no longer safe for use.
Pacifiers are one more thing that will have to be checked out and monitored to make sure they don’t present a danger or need to be replaced.
7 As If We Need More Dishes
Dude, I don’t know what I would do in my life if my kind and wonderful husband didn’t mind coming home to quite a few dishes every single evening and bravely tackling the washing. So. Much. Washing.
And I do some of it myself during the day!
But if I want to get out of the house at least briefly most days, get my work done, and survive on a basic level, I just don’t have time to also wash every tiny plastic bowl and cup and spoon and fork right after it’s used (or tossed on the floor by a pudgy-wudgy little hand).
There’s just already so much stuff to wash. And adding a binkie into the equation is one more thing.
I know, I know. It seems small. What’s one more thing? But I bet if you use a binkie, you’ll have more than one – because you’ll need to have a clean one (or five) handy to give to your otherwise inconsolable child once the one he had is dropped (AGAIN).
Everything counts – I know moms who refused to ever even use sippy cups because they just couldn’t handle having any more baby crap around to buy and store and wash.
6 Those Clips Don’t Work
To set this one up, I do have to say that I have never actually used a pacifier clip to attach a pacifier to a baby’s clothing.
I have, however, used one to simply attach to the baby’s clothing with nothing even on it – and even then, it came right off.
Unless the baby is so young that they are not able to grasp things in their hands yet, I can’t imagine these things really staying on long enough to actually, like, work.
I do see them being used a fair amount of the time, so maybe I’m missing something. Who knows.
I’m just saying that basically, this accessory claiming to make it easier for a baby to keep his pacifier close by (and not on the dirty ground, or gone and lost forever on the street somewhere after he chucks it out of the stroller) might very well just complicate things even more by acting as yet another thing to be lost and tossed and kept track of.
5 Lacking In Language
This is not based in any scientific study. I am not an expert in child behavior or development, as in I don’t hold any degrees in these subjects.
I do have two young children though, and they are both avid talkers. And I wouldn’t want them to spend a good portion of their first year with something stuck in their mouth for comfort (or simply out of habit) because I wouldn’t want to miss out on all the exciting sounds and language development that could be happening.
Maybe there’s a better and worse, or even right and wrong, way to use pacifiers, I guess? It’s just that I often see kids, both infants and babies getting into toddlerhood, who have the things in their mouths like all the time. Isn’t there some danger that this might interfere somewhat with social interaction and language development? I really don’t know, but I’m not interested in performing that experiment myself.
4 Even More Gear To Grab
It was pretty hard to make it out of the house when I had just one baby. Now I have two.
In order to get out to do basic errands, enjoy 45 minutes or so of fresh air somewhere, and similar such outings, I have to have quite an exact procedure in place.
My diaper bag, first of all, is always fully stocked and ready and waiting by the front door. That means it takes at least a bit less time and effort to reach the point at which we will all have everything we need to exit the home. There are snacks to be prepared and packed up. There are sunscreen and socks and shoes and jackets to get on. Someone usually has to use the bathroom or needs a new diaper before we can make it out that door. And then sometimes someone gets upset or demands to get her shoes on BY HERSELF.
If I had one more thing that I had to be sure to bring with me each time (especially in those early months of life!), I think I would just give up and stay at home all time. And a pacifier would be that one more thing. NO thanks.
3 Adding To Mom’s Duties
So I have to feed the baby (at 4 to 6 months onward, in most cases). I have to nurse the baby. I have to give the baby water with his meals. I have to provide stimulating play and interaction. I have to make sure he is safe and secure at all times. I have to teach him about the world, how to talk, and how to behave. I have to help him with all the basic things, like sleep… and pee… and poop… and spit-up… and hygiene…
And I also have to be on the watch for that pacifier to pop out a million times within each day and pop it right back in before the tears start? No thanks.
Moms already have a LOT to do. If you look at it one way, using a pacifier with your little one is sort of one more task to take care of.
2 Gone And Forgotten: Now What?
Okay, so let’s say you have your little one trained to quiet down immediately once that pacifier is available. In fact, she’s come to expect it.
So what happens when you rush out the door, you’re in the grocery store or a crowded restaurant or, well, anywhere, she starts to become that special brand of fussy, and you realize that you don’t have her paci?
Are moms maybe almost sort of setting themselves up for this inevitable problem of needing to have a very specific item with them all the time – or else?
I know that motherhood is about dealing expertly with the unexpected, improvising, and generally rolling with it the best that you possibly can.
Still, though, I have to think that it might be easier if you hadn’t trained your baby, and yourself, to rely on such a very specific tool for comfort.
1 The Skill Of Self-Soothing
Okay, so maybe I’m getting a little too philosophical with things here, but hear me out, if you will. Isn’t a really important and central skill in life learning how to calm yourself down, feel well, and in other words “self-soothe”?
In introducing the concept that an outside object should be used to accomplish this task, is it maybe sort of going in the wrong direction from the outset?
Kids, I know, often cling to special objects for comfort, during the earlier years of development, particularly. This is often considered normal (and pretty cute, as he drags around that tattered blankie) stuff for tiny tots.
Still, though, people have to learn to soothe themselves, and might a pacifier be sort of a crutch or even unnecessary interruption to that learning process? They won’t always be able to use this tool. Plus, is it really “self”-soothing if they have to have this item in order to do it??
If a mom’s job is to guide her child to live a well-adjusted life, some might say there are better (or easier) ways.
Sources: BabyCenter.com, Parents.com