How ironic. An infant’s mother is told not to nurse for prolonged periods because “the baby is just using her as a pacifier”. And here’s a shelf of plastic substitutes with the motto. “This is what babies dream about”.
Yes, babies dream about suckling. They begin sucking when only a few months old in the womb. It’s a fundamental skill. I‘m certain they don’t dream about plastic substitutes.
To pacify means ‘to bring peace to, calm’. What a wonderful thing to offer an infant, new to this whole world and adjusting their bodies. There are benefits to ‘being a pacifier’.
A baby nursing frequently, on demand, in the first two weeks builds a moms milk supply. (Read my blog “Milk Supply”). ‘Non-nutritive’ sucking releases digestive enzymes in the gut, helps your baby relax.
Your warmth keeps an infant’s temperature even. Your baby literally breathes easier in your arms. With their spine supported and enclosed in someone’s arms, they cry less and release less stress hormones. That feels better for you as a parent.
Should babies be pacified? Yes. Nursing helps. Also, any caregiver can wash his/her hands and offer an ring finger. Take turns holding and soothing your infant.
Plastic pacifiers have chemicals that break down in time. Little cracks and seams can harbor germs. They don’t conform to the shape of a baby’s palate the way a real teat does. And they cost money. Great for business. Not so great for famililes.
Yes, there are times when you are going to be a pacifier. How is a plastic object better? The answer is, it’s not.
Go ahead and be a pacifier. Be an incubator, a cozy, a mumsy, a swaddler. Holding your baby close, seeing those wee eyelashes and pink cheeks… isn’t that what you’ve been dreaming about?