Friday, April 23, 2010

binky, sus, dummy, the plug, sucky-do, baby mute button

I have a love-hate relationship with the pacifier. I love that they sooth babies ( them sleep longer), but I also love seeing babies smile and babble, both of which are hindered by a pacifier.

When Max and Maya were born I didn't want pacifier use to hinder their ability to breastfeed so I had specific instructions in my birth plan that they were not to be given them in the hospital. So of course, the first time I saw them post c-section, they had pacifiers in their mouths.

Once the babies came home from the NICI I was so grateful for my sister Laura and my mom's help. I don't know what I would have done with out them. But, we were certainly at odds about the pacifier. At one point I gathered up all the pacifiers in the house (which some how magically multiplied) and put them in a plastic bag with the label "TO BE USED ONLY IN CASES OF EMERGENCY". Of course, I often came into the room to find one or both babies with a pacifier in their mouth. My mom would explain, "Max looked like he wanted to suck". Laura was much more brazen (as she tends to be, which I love) and would just roll her eyes and me and put a pacifier into a baby mouth. (It must also be mentioned that my mother-in-law, Patsy, also came to help out with the babies right after their stay in the NICU. While I'm quite certain she thought I was crazy she went along with all my new mother crazy ideas.)

After I was on my own with the babies (during the day, of course between 6pm-7:30am I also had Lonnie's help), I managed to keep them pacifier free for several months. I had been told by my pediatrician, La Leche League and lots of internet research that early introduction of a pacifier can interfere with establishing breasfeeding and I didn't want to risk any more complications.

The problem was that my babies already had problems with establishing breasfeeding. They weren't allowed to breastfeed in the NICU. I'd also had a c-section after my water broke but before I really went into labor, lowering my ability to produce milk. It took us four months of pumping and bottle feeding before Max and Maya finally decided to get their meals at the source. My friend Laurie (also a mother of twins) told me that her doctor told her to give her babies a pacifier to strengthen their suck. At that time I was desperate to do anything to improve their ability to nurse so I decided to give it a try.....and that is how we gave into the pacifier.

We started giving Max and Maya a pacifier during sleep time at about five or six months old. We would also occasionally give them their pacifiers during church or on long car rides. I must admit they were great. The baby fusses, you give them the plug and they calm down....everyone is happy.

The babies will be two years old next month and I am starting to think it is time to give them up
for good. In someways I will really miss them. I love that the moment that Max or Maya receive their pacifier they know it is time to snuggle. I also must admit that I like being able to pull them out when the babies are having a particularly whinny day and I am running out of patience. But I think the time has come. I'm a bit worried about their teeth and I am also worried that I haven't been able to find replacement pacifiers that Maya likes here in New Zealand and her pacifers are starting to get nasty even after various attempts at cleaning them.

Any ideas about how to get rid of pacifiers while maintaining sanity? I've heard about using the pacifier fairy (basically exchanging the pacifier for a toy) but I'm not sure that would work with kids this young.