Suck on This

My daughter is 19 months old and still uses a pacifier.

This, I have become aware, is a highly controversial situation secondary only to the socialization of our health care system.

We really weren’t going to use a pacifier.  Until, of course (like so many things we weren’t going to do), we had a baby.  We realized, that first day in the hospital (or, at least I think it was the first day, it’s hard to sort through the haze of physical and emotional exhaustion/trauma/happiness/confusion that was that time), that we were spending a ridiculous amount of time with one of our fingers in Naya’s mouth to soothe her, and thus, relented when a seasoned nurse offered us a pacifier.

And no, it didn’t lead to nipple confusion or compromise our breast feeding relationship.  She went strong until she self weaned at 18 months, which is fodder for another entry (or 20), I am sure.

And no, it hasn’t delayed her speech development.  The kid talks all the time.  All. The. Time.

And yeah, there have definitely been people who make an issue of it– however (un)subtly.  Taking it out of her mouth, or making comments like, “She doesn’t want that, she wants the real thing.”  (I realize that some women really will nurse their kids for hours on end to provide this kind of nurturing comfort, and I salute them.  That, however, is not on my personal itinerary.)

For the most part, it has been something she’s only wanted when sleeping, spending time in her car seat, or feeling sick.   Thus, it has become a mostly private thing, and one with which my husband and I haven’t been all that concerned.  We figured that, like most developmental things have so far with Naya, it would work itself out.   Sure, we won’t mind giving up the foraging for “suckers” under the crib each night before bedtime, making sure we have a spare in our pocket before we leave the house, and the obligatory midnight trek to the baby’s room to replace the one she’s dropped in her sleep, but as a whole, it’s really not that big of a deal.

It’s really not that big of a deal.

Naya’s most recent bought of teething (4 at the same time!) has spurred new enthusiasm for her suckers, however, and she now brandishes them wherever she goes.

This, of course, leads to a lot more (very) public scrutiny.

Last week, the woman at the Y nursery tried to take it out of her mouth the minute I handed her over to them.  “You don’t need this, do you?”

Yeah, actually. The screaming when you take it out of her mouth would probably indicate that it’s an issue for her.

Last week another mama helpfully volunteered the information that their pediatrician recommended she take away her child’s pacifier after the first birthday.

Yeah, our pediatrician really hasn’t made a big deal about it, but thanks.

So of course, being the consummate worrier, I have been thinking about this constantly, and mentioning it to my husband.  We weigh the pros and cons.  We know we don’t want her going off to kindergarten with it, but at the same time, it sure is convenient that she has something so simple to comfort her, and it has proved invaluable on our relatively frequent travels by plane for keeping ear pressure in check.  So, we tentatively agreed to table the discussion until she’s at least 2.  We won’t offer it, but we won’t refuse it either.  In the meantime, there’s a very good chance that (like so many things) she will work it out for herself.

But, of course I’m still going to worry.  It’s what I do, right?

Then, on Friday, she started asking for “Beherrrr.”   I figured out that “Beherrrr” was her pacifier, but couldn’t figure out what the association was for days.  Every time she asked for her pacifier, it was, “Beherrrr?”

Then on Sunday morning, during a particularly fragile time of tears (about what, I can no longer recall), it all came together when I placed the beloved pacifier in her mouth.

“Thas Beherrr.”  she said as she instantly stopped crying.

THAT’S BETTER.   Her pacifier is her better.

So yeah, the pacifier stays, and all you naysayers can suck it.



Filed under Jen

4 responses to “Suck on This

  1. Aw! The “better” part kills me a little.

    People who are Not Your Child’s Parent need to remember that. My toddler isn’t a binky fan, but she *has* actually managed to train me to submit to her “I’d like to nurse every five minutes throughout the day for comfort and entertainment” wishes. And, man. I’m about as pro-breastfeeding as they come, but she’s 25 months now and a binky sounds darn nice. (She’s not interested, alas.)

    I’m glad your little one has her Better!

    • You know, most of the time I’m pretty excited she has her better too! I had mixed emotions when Naya self-weaned. I was so ready in many ways to be done– to wear normal undergarments, take medicine without thinking about it in relation to breastfeeding, to have that second glass of wine, etc., but there are times when I really wish she hadn’t– like this week when she had an ear infection and I wished for the magical cure for all that ails that is nursing. Which just goes to show that there’s no perfect answer for anyone or anything as far as parenting goes, hey?


  2. Ravi Hasanadka

    At 22 months, I say the same. Suck it . . . That’s better.

  3. Pingback: Pass the Coffee, Please. | Pax (Ro)mama

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