I’ll be honest: One of my favorite moments of the day is when I get my 21-month-old up from his crib and he says “nigh-nigh” to his pacifier in the sweetest voice imaginable. Of course, this could also be because he just granted me 13 solid hours of evening mama-time and uninterrupted sleep.
So, why is it that when I think about this too much I feel guilty?
The whole concept of pacifiers has always riddled me with guilt. I know pacifiers are endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics as wonderfully appropriate options for soothing babies (with the added benefit of reducing the risk of SIDS). Still, I also heard stories of pacifier habits that were impossible to break well into childhood—and I couldn’t help but think the easiest way to avoid that battle was to never get started. #naivemommoment
Then another, more urgent struggle emerged: During a sleepless night a month into my son’s life, my husband and I desperately sanitized a pacifier to offer the baby. And—wouldn’t you know it?—that did the trick and we were all granted the best night of sleep in weeks.
In the year and a half that has passed, my son has willingly weaned himself off his pacifier. Except for naps and bedtime. Now, those are the times when we’re both dependent on the comfort of his beloved “Wubba.” (Unsolicited shoutout to the WubbaNub. ?)
The truth is, he still needs the sleep. And I still need him to sleep—especially now that I’m seven-months pregnant with more sleepless nights right around the corner.
As a result, there’s no day when it feels right to wage the Wubba war.
Some days, this bothers me. I feel like I’m failing him in some way—perhaps setting him up for a life of dental problems (not something to really worry about for a while) or speech delays (ditto) or, I don’t know, something that would be frowned upon by Sigmund Freud. (As one more contemporary parenting expert told HealthLine, “Parents are often far too eager to stop things like pacifiers, security blankets, bottles, or anything else that soothes and comforts.” Take that, Freud.)
Other days, I’m reassured by simply recalling the things that worried me this time last year: When was he going to crawl? What were we going to do about this dairy intolerance? How could we get him to stop throwing everything from his plate?
Now those concerns are all distant memories. (OK, OK, we’re still working on the throwing.)
What that reminds me is that most things with parenting aren’t problems until they become problems; and spending too much time proactively worrying about them doesn’t do anyone good.
Besides, why should I lose sleep over the pacifier if getting more sleep is the whole point?