My Advice for Pacifier-Using Parents

Before I had my son, I swore that I’d never use a pacifier. They were dirty, plastic, artificial soothers that caused more problems than they solved — ear infections, dental problems, breast confusion, and one big, scary addiction that parents had to wean their infants from, like a nicotine patch. If he never had a pacifier, how could he miss it? Need it? Crave it?

But then I had my baby — and before I knew it, I was a Pacie Pusher. And for, I don’t even know, a year — maybe even longer — I desperately wished for an easy pacie detox for the gripping addiction in our lives. It was such a BIG DEAL, and it wasn’t because it caused major problems for my infant/toddler (who finally kicked the habit around the 2-year mark, maybe later). He never had an ear infection, successfully breast-fed until self-weaning at 18 months, and was genuinely comforted by his little blue friend.

My issues with the pacifier were purely invented in my head: Were his teeth getting deformed (cut to me imagining future orthodontist bills)? Are those nighttime pacifier drops interrupting his sleep? What were the anti-pacifier experts warning me about this week? And don’t get me started on the panic that ensued whenever a pacifier was (inevitably) lost — always 5 minutes before bedtime. I needed it to be done, done, done.

Now that he’s been weaned from the pacifier for longer than he used it, allow me to impart some perspective:

First of all, chill out. Just chill. Unless your child is having major health issues (like ear infections) that your pediatrician directly links to your pacifier use, then I promise you it won’t last forever. The only thing I regret about our pacifier years was the amount of time I wished for it to be over. I know that certain stages feel like they last forever (diapers, breastfeeding, pacifiers) — they feel overwhelming and insurmountable, as if they’ll last until age 10 — but, please believe me, it will be over in a blink. A fraction of a second. And then you just might keep those little pacifiers in your child’s sock drawer, in memory of the sweet early years that you wished away too soon.

That being said, there are some pieces of advice I’d give to pacie-using parents:

  1. Choose a BPA-free pacifier. I’m so excited to see that Disney teamed up with Born Free — a trusted, respected company that makes BPA- and PVC-free products.
  2. Choose an orthodontic pacifier, which is shaped for a baby’s developing teeth and palate. (I did not do this, and it was a major source of my panic). Thankfully the Born Free + Disney pacifiers have an orthodontic shape.
  3. Choose a cute design, since it will be hanging out of your child’s mouth more often than not. (Again, this is why these Disney pacifiers are perfect. Aren’t they cute?)
  4. Cherish every second of those pacifier years. It will be over too, too soon.
Buy the Disney Born Free pacifiers from Babies R Us ($5.99 each).

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