ControverSunday: The Dreaded Binky

by Ginger on April 11, 2010

in Mom Thoughts

It’s ControverSunday again folks! In case you’re new around here, I’ll let our fearless leader Perpetua explain the fun:’s how it works: write your post (today, tomorrow, whenev, we aren’t picky), leave a link to your post, and grab the badge from Accidents…and a bunch of smart, kind folks will come say hi to you.

This week’s topic is “comfort objects”–pacifiers, blankies, stuffed animals and the like. I’m tackling pacifiers specifically (mostly because Jackson has yet to show one iota of interest in any other kind of comfort item, so I’m going to keep the talking out of my ass to a minimum this week and stick to something we have experience with).

Pacifier. Binky. Sucky. Soother. Whatever you call them, they are a source of much debate, usually pre-baby. There are dire warnings of nipple confusion, and nipple preference, and 7 year olds with pacifiers, and bad teeth and messed up language development. You’re warned that if you DO plan to introduce a pacifier for any reason you need to wait until breastfeeding is “well established”, with some recommendations being anywhere from 6 weeks to 3 months after the baby is born. You’re told to begin weaning baby from a pacifier by 6 months (a year at the LATEST), lest baby develop an unnatural attachment to that plastic monstrosity.

But for all those warnings, how many of us were offered pacifiers almost immediately in the hospital? Even at my hospital, which was extremely pro-breastfeeding, we were offered a pacifier right away. The memory is fuzzy, but I think that moments after helping me get Jackson latched the first or second time, one of the night nurses offered us one. Which, as a new mom having internalized all the warnings was a little confusing to me. I mean, didn’t they know about nipple confusion??

Honestly, those nurses must just LOVE us moms who read too much on the internet before having our babies. Because pacifiers help soothe a lot of babies by allowing them to do what comes naturally to them–suck. And for those babies who don’t have any interest in their thumb (like Jackson), or those moms who aren’t willing to let their nipples be on constant call (like me), pacifiers are helpful.

Our original plan was to wait a few weeks for the pacifier (to establish successful breastfeeding and minimize nipple confusion). That plan went to hell pretty much right away–I think the night nurse gave us a pacifier for him the first night in the hospital. Which I felt a little bad about until the next day, when it was determined that Jackson was jaundiced and needed to be put under the bilirubin lights for almost 24 hours or we couldn’t take him home. The kid hated that thing. He hated the little mask he had to wear. He hated that he had to be naked. He hated pretty much all of it and cried incessantly. About the only thing that could keep him calm was one of us holding his pacifier in while we kept a hand on his chest or arm or somewhere.


Super Blue Baby

That was the night that the bink (as we call it around here) won our hearts. Because when there was nothing else we could do for Jackson, we could give him a pacifier.

Now, we were lucky. We never had any nipple confusion from the pacifier (or bottles for that matter). Jackson has never been so attached to the pacifier that we freak out if we don’t have one around. And we were able, a couple of months ago, to just go to naps & bedtime with the bink. I sometimes think Jackson could take it or leave it at this point–I think he’s probably more attached to the swaddle than the bink (which as a side note, is going to be the death of us as he’s really too big for swaddling, and can break out almost instantly, but can’t sleep well without it. Gah.).

But beyond my own personal experience–if your kid takes to a pacifier, and it helps buy some calm for mom and dad, to me that’s a win. Is there a point at which you need to wean a kid from the pacifier? Of course. But in the beginning in particular, I think a pacifier does more good than harm.

Now, go check out more of the participants of ControverSunday here–they’re all smarter than me, and their posts prove it!

Our Lady of Perpetual Breadcrumbs

Altered Sky



Two Makes Four

Now You’re in the World

Partial Disclosures

The Disgruntled Academic


Excellent Walker

Accidents will happen.


Megan April 11, 2010 at 9:28 pm

Your hospital story is like EXACTLY like mine.

And no nipple confusion for us, either. The few bottles we’ve been able to get her to take didn’t hurt, either. I wish we’d been able to get her to take MORE bottles. I would have been able to go to my grad class without leaving after an hour because she wouldn’t stop screaming for her sitters.

Ginger April 12, 2010 at 10:11 pm

I’m so thankful that Jackson never had any problems with bottles, or switching between bottle, boob and bink. I think it would have killed me what with the going back to work thing.

Lorry April 11, 2010 at 10:27 pm

I never saw a paci at my hospital, but I’m in Denmark. Pretty much everything is different here.

Funny that I don’t know a single person (here or in the States) that had breastfeeding sabotaged by a paci…. I do think we were really lucky that Bean had NO issues whatsoever going between boob and bottle. She’ll drink anything out of anything, pretty much. Very nice.

Ginger April 12, 2010 at 10:13 pm

Jackson was the same way. Luckily! (although now he wants to drink out of my cup and wow does that get messy with a 7 month old!).

Perpetua April 12, 2010 at 3:43 am

Nurses must get a kick out of new moms. Or they must want to strangle us. Either way, we were exactly the same regarding the nipple confusion fears, but no one at the hospital offered us a bink because they are super-pro-breastfeeding, and even if they know that confusion isn’t a huge issue, they still go along with that teaching.

Our pediatrician, meanwhile, thought we were nuts for not using one, especially when E screamed bloody murder during his early exams. And in the end bfing didn’t work because my body putzed out. Ho hum.

Oh, and I share your swaddle fear, except regarding the bjorn. He won’t ride in ANYTHING but the bjorn now, stroller included. We are screwed.

Ginger April 12, 2010 at 10:19 pm

Oh man, I wince at the thought of the bjorn being the ONLY carrier. Especially since J is already 21 pounds and I’m not sure my back could handle that!

Ellen M April 13, 2010 at 8:16 am

We had to give up the swaddle at 6 months, and the Bjorn at 12, but A. has adjusted reasonably well.

The nurses at my pro-breastfeeding hospital didn’t suggest a pacifier — but I wonder if they didn’t give him one anyway. What I didn’t know certainly didn’t hurt anyone.

Ginger April 14, 2010 at 5:52 pm

We need to get past the swaddle, I just don’t know how. We’ve tried on a few occasions with various methods but I must just be too much of a sleep wimp to handle it yet.

Partial April 13, 2010 at 9:37 am

I’ve been doing more reading around the whole “nipple confusion” thing, and stuff I’m coming across, as well as the opinion of our pediatrician seems to amount to the whole concern being highly overblown.

But who knows, I’m biased as Squirrel won’t take a pacifier.

Ginger April 14, 2010 at 5:49 pm

Yeah, I don’t know that I’ve heard of anyone firsthand who actually experienced nipple confusion from a pacifier. Maybe a bottle, but not a pacifier. I think it probably does happen for some people, but not nearly as many as the warnings would have us believe.

Carrie Meadows April 13, 2010 at 1:03 pm

We really pushed the paci with our son, and eventually, he took to it. And never wanted to give it up. It was a life saver, and an annoyance at the same time. We ended up with 1 dozen identical pacis, all over the house. For the first few months, it was a great soothing tool, and we also used it after feedings, when he’d had plenty to eat but didn’t want to be done yet. Then, around 6 months old, he started waking up for it int he middle of the night. Repeatedly. We said threw them all away and left it behind, cold turkey. It was a rough 2 days, especially when putting him down, and then it was all over. I would do it the same way all over again.

Ginger April 14, 2010 at 5:53 pm

I think cold-turkey is what we might try too, if we do it soon. I think there’s a window between maybe 5-8 months where that might work without TOO much trauma, before the crazy attachment happens.

Heidi April 14, 2010 at 9:37 am

My first had one in hospital without me asking for it. We had a few issues getting her started on the breast, but I attribute that more to her being preemie and me having a tsunami like let down. By 6 weeks, it was more of an amusement than a soother for her.

My second, I had to beg for one in hospital. The nurses were telling me not to ket her feed for more than 20 min per side, but she just wanted to keep sucking! And then they tell me that a puggy would not be the best thing for her? Ack! Give me the damn puggy! I am not going to let her scream. Once again, no issues feeding. And once again, by 6 weeks, it was more of an amusement than a soother for her.

So guess I lucked out on both fronts: they didn’t mess with the breast feeding and they self weaned from them early. Then again, they wouldn’t take one to go to sleep with either…

Ginger April 14, 2010 at 5:31 pm

Especially for those kids who have a near constant need to suck, pacifiers are a life saver. I wasn’t willing (or able past a certain point) to be the only way for Jackson to soothe. We were all happier with his pacifier.
Lucky for you that your girls self-weaned–I’ve heard horror stories about trying to wean from the pacifier, which is part of why I’m glad Jackson only uses his at nap and bedtime!

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