Friday, April 9, 2010

ControverSunday or "Binky That Fool Up"

The title refers to what Chris or I say when Charlotte is sleepy, cranky, agitated, angry, restless, or just otherwise indicating that she needs a plug in her face.

As recently as in the months leading up to Charlotte's birth, I would have told you that I do, in fact, see the pacifier as a controversial topic. I was taught in my breastfeeding class that it can cause "nipple confusion" and adversely affect my chances of succeeding at nursing. A fun fact that convinced me any baby with a pacifier in its face must not be breastfeeding, because clearly those things were mutually exclusive. I would see walking, talking kids sporting their binkies and smugly tell myself that my children will never use one of those, and if they do, they CERTAINLY won't be using them at such an the rip ol' age of two!

Flash forward a year or so, and I'm completely baffled at why anyone cares about this stupid piece of latex. I mean, maybe some babies have a hard time going back and forth between boob and binky, but I seriously doubt a pacifier has ever single-handedly sabotaged a nursing relationship. And I guess if they are overused or used too long, they can delay speech and cause dental problems. But, you know what? Pretty much anything that is overused or used too long can cause problems.

I wrote before about how scared I was to give Charlotte a pacifier the night after she was born, assured as I was that it was breastfeeding kryptonite. I guess the lactation consultants and lactivists mean well to warn us against this potential peril, but looking back, I'm a little pissed off about the time I spent listening to Charlotte scream because I just couldn't bear to put her to my raw, bloody nipple, and GOD FORBID I give her a pacifier. I totally empathize with the nurse who was rejected each time she offered me one. I'm sure she was like, "Just give her the effing binky, dumbass." Because that's what I would want to say to myself. You know, if I could travel through time. One of the last times we gave her a binky in the early days.

We did let her have it those first few weeks, but I was so wary of having her get too attached, that I weaned her off it very early on, then spent the next six months trying to get her to take one because I was tired of having to disrobe every time she needed something to calm her down. Then, one magical night, she was screaming in the car while I sat in the back seat trying to calm her down. In an act of sheer desperation, I stuck an old, lint-covered binky in her mouth, one that had been sitting in the diaper bag for months, and it worked! She fell asleep! And later that night, when she woke up at 3 A.M., I put it back in her mouth, and HOLY HELL, she went back to sleep! And we haven't looked back. Giving her a pacifier makes her sit still for ten seconds!

I still don't want to have to hand her a binky when she steps off the school bus or even in a couple years. But, as long as we continue to limit it to the car, bed time, and generally stressful situations, and she isn't just constantly sucking on one every waking moment, I'm not too concerned. She'll outgrow it eventually, or I'll make her.

What's the big deal?

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  1. Yeah, "what's the big deal" seems to be the tone of the day. I love it when ControverSunday turns into what-the-hell-ever Sunday :)

  2. I love the line about the nurse. I think about that often. I'm sure that the L&D nurses and the postpartum nurses all looked at me like I was fucking nuts. I was. I don't blame them.

  3. You just know that nurses curse the internet with every mom who comes in with these long lists of do's and don'ts.
    I've never really seen the big deal about pacifiers, which is what I probably should have written about, but especially after I had the kid. At 2am it was more "find the damn plug!" than "oh no, what about nipple confusion?" You know?

  4. Glad to know I'm in such good company!

    I mean, it's great to be educated about these things. I'm glad I took a class and read about breastfeeding. Some of the info helped. But a lot of it only served to scare me, stress me out, and make me feel guilty about my choices when it came time to make them.

    So, maybe there's a happy medium. Maybe you don't get there until the second kid.

  5. Yeah, with the first kid you're sterilizing pacifiers every time they hit the ground. With the second, you're picking them up and maybe wiping them on your jeans before popping them back in.

  6. I hated, and I mean really hated, anyone who told me while I was pregnant "you'll see" or "just relax, none of that matters" in a condescending way -- of course I don't know what it's like to have a baby! Of course you know more than me. I wish there were a way to tell expectant mother what it's really like without that layer of smugness. Acknowledging the reality of their concerns. Because the one note that's been hit in all of the Pacifier-edition ControverSunday posts so far is that we were all told they could interfere with breastfeeding, and not to introduce them until some indeterminate time of good establishment. Now that I'm on the other side of it (and hearing other people's experiences), I really think that if you can physically make breastfeeding work, you're going to (if you want to, that is), and the pacifier isn't going to hurt except in rare cases. I understand now that a lot of breastfeeding advocates overshoot, possibly because if you're drawn to advocacy, you're going to be more passionate about the subject. But it's hard to sort out the facts when you've got a screaming week-old baby on your shoulder.