The Pacifier – To Binky or not to Binky, that is the Question!

The first night home from the hospital with our first baby was just the beginning of the sleeplessness that was to come. Our precious baby woke up every 15 minutes for hours on end…

I was fortunate to ‘know’ that cluster feeding during the night is common and normal for a breastfed newborn but it didn’t help the exhaustion that I felt, or the soreness that my nipples were experiencing despite the good latch!  I wondered aloud if our baby was broken, or there was a mistake made at the hospital and we were given the wrong baby…. His parents love sleep, whose kid is this?

Before very long, I insisted that my husband boil a pacifier- “Get me a binky or I’m returning this baby and NEVER doing this again”. My overwhelmed and exhausted husband complied, against his wishes and we introduced the pacifier. Before that, we had decided we wouldn’t use a pacifier… why introduce a habit we don’t need? I was so grateful for the wishing well gifts at 3am! We all survived the long nights, and did in fact do this baby having thing again… many times!

There is much controversy about introducing the pacifier…. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests waiting to introduce the pacifier until breastfeeding is well established, about 3-4 weeks, so baby isn’t missing feedings at the breast with the pacifier, altering the natural supply and demand of breastfeeding. A quote from the AAP states: ‘’Pacifiers do not cause any medical or psychological problems. If your baby wants to suck beyond what nursing or bottle feeding provides, a pacifier will satisfy that need. However, a pacifier should not be used to replace or delay meals. It may be tempting to offer your child a pacifier when it is easy for you. But it is best to let your child decide whether, and when, to use it’.

Whether to introduce a pacifier is a personal parenting choice and the decision should be an informed one… But like so many things, from conception through college, we all need to be open to a change in the plan, since all the variables can’t be predicted!

  • If you do decide to introduce a pacifier always use a single piece pacifier to avoid a potential choking risk from 2 piece types.
  • Inspect the pacifier often of cuts or tears, and keep the pacifier clean by washing with warm water and a mild soap.
  • NEVER tie the pacifier around your child’s arm, neck or the crib as this is a strangulation risk.

Talk to you pediatrician about when and how to wean your child from the pacifier.

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