Saturday, October 23, 2010

I'll never....

Like most people, before Ollie was born I had a long list of things I'd never do as a mother. I still do, actually. But now that I actually AM a mother there are a lot of things on that list that I'm moving from the "I'll never" category to the "If it works, I'll do it!" category. Giving my baby a pacifier was one of those "I'll nevers".

With all due respect to all the pacifier loving babies out there, I've always thought that babies that use dummies look, well, dumb. I hated the idea that a small, easily lost item might be the essential comforter to my child, and I was a thumb sucker - and thumbs are free, so I enthusiastically endorsed them.

When Ollie was first born, and began his short stay in the NICU the nurses there noted that he was a committed rooter and sucker (a great quality in a baby unfortunately held in the NICU, as it made him a natural breastfeeder), and they asked me right away if I wanted them to give him a paci. I declined, for the reasons I mentioned above, but also because I knew from prior reading that an artificial nipple could cause the dreaded nipple confusion, and I was bound and determined to protect his breastfeeding potential.

Once we got home it was clear that although Oliver had the desire to be a thumb sucker, he didn't have the dexterity. Over the first four months he found many different ways to stuff his digits in his mouth, but none of them satisfied his need for comfort, and I started to get tired of being the only pacifier that soothed him.

One desperate afternoon, after being couch-bound for months of nursing for non-nutritional reasons, I made a frantic trip to the drug store and picked up two pacifiers. I ran home, sterilyzed, then stuffed one in Ollie's mouth. Annnnd.... he hated it. Spat it out immediately. I was a little relieved, honestly, because as much as I wanted to find something that would comfort him I still felt really strongly that I didn't want that thing to be a paci.

A few weeks later though, I found myself going through the same desperate motions with another brand of soother, and then another, and then another. The more soothers he rejected, the more I came to believe that soothers are a blessing from heaven and the key to solving all of the problems in my home.

One hot and sunny summer afternoon Ollie, my sister-in-law and I took a long walk to a natural products store in our neighbourhood. As I was checking out with the products I had made the trip to purchase, I noticed the Natursutten at the counter. A TEN DOLLAR soother (but of course, made of natural rubber and blah blah blah). Obviously I was totally sleep deprived at the time, because I snatched it up and added it to my bill. I got it home, got it clean, and at bedtime discovered that my son is only comforted by my breasts, and the most freaking expensive soother you can find in the city. Of. Course.

So now Ollie's one of those paci babies, despite my assertion that I'll never give my child a pacifier. There are restrictions on his use - only at bedtime or naptime, and only in bed or in his stroller. And I'm hoping to take it away once he's sleeping all the way through the night. I mean, I still think it looks dumb, but it also keeps him calm and quiet at bedtime, and it is hard to argue with that!

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