That is the question.
The use of a pacifier can be a very heated discussion. When I was pregnant with my first child, I was pretty adamant about the fact that my child would not use a pacifier. In fact, I got a few pacifiers for my baby shower and thought, “I won’t need these.” I didn’t want my child to get used to needing something in his mouth and have it forever. I see kids with pacifiers that are at least 4 years old and that seems a little bit of overuse. Additionally, I didn’t want to have child’s mouth to be shaped by the pacifier.
Well…I was wrong, again
My oldest son came home with us from the midwife 5 hours after he was born. He slept 6 hours the first night, which was wonderful. The 2nd and 3rd night consisted of my husband and me taking turns using our pinky finger as something for him to suck on to calm down. From 10pm-4am, on the second night of my son’s life, he cried and fell asleep for only a few minutes at a time. My husband and I would fall asleep with him for a few moments only to be awakened 5-15 minutes later by more crying. We would take turns catching a few moments rest. I even called my mom at 12:30 am, hoping she would be awake, and asked what to do. The bath she suggested didn’t work. The third night, he was awake crying, again, from 10pm-2am.
The next morning (day 4) I was so tired and distressed I called the midwife asking what to do, while I was on a quick errand. She suggested for me to go home, try to feed him, put a pacifier in his mouth, and sleep with him on my chest. It was wonderful! He slept and the time of using the pacifier to pacify him was born. For many months, he had to fall asleep on me to be happy, which was fine because I needed those naps. Even now he falls asleep better for his nap when he falls asleep on me, on the couch.
My second son came home with us from the midwife when he was 8 hours old (I needed more rest that time). He slept pretty well from the beginning. For a while, he couldn’t fall asleep on me. He preferred falling asleep on his tummy in his bassinet. Additionally, although I tried to have him use a pacifier to calm himself down, it never worked. He spit it out each time. He preferred our pinky or his hand. Now, he is 4.5 months old and he still doesn’t like anything such as a pacifier, which I am happy about. Right now, he is getting teeth and he prefers a spit up rag, his hands, our fingers or a set of play keys to stuff in his mouth.
At this time, my husband and I are trying to slowly eliminate the pacifier from our oldest son, who will be 2 at the beginning of November. We have gotten him down to asking for the pacifier at naptime and bedtime. Most mornings we still have to sneak it from him and hide it. In the afternoon, he tends to just forget about it in his hurry to have a snack after his nap. About 2 weeks ago, we tried to get him to go to bed without it. After an hour of crying and him being at the point of hysteria, we came to the compromise that he could have it at sleeping times. I hope we can kick the pacifier habit soon.