"Pacifiers! Frankly I don't like plunking these things in a baby's mouth, but they sure make putting the baby (3 months) down at bedtime painless. I have mixed feelings about using a pacifier and would appreciate any pro or con reactions."

"Some children really seem to need the non-nutritive sucking, others don't. Our first child didn't seem that interested and gave it up at 4 months. Our second child still has one at 2 1/2 years, and really uses it as a comforting tool. Let your child be the guide.
Pros: You can put restrictions on a pacifier, you can't on a thumb, such as using it only at home or only at nap/bedtime. If it helps a child cope with stress, it's worth it.
Cons: It is easy to lose, drop, etc., and it interferes with their talking.'

"Although I don't particularly love the sight of a pacifier-plugged baby, I'm strongly in favor of the pacifier if the baby likes it. From what I have read (Burton Whites's The First Three Years) and observed in our (now) 15 month old, it can be an important source of comfort at a time in a baby's life when his/her major need is comfort and security (and when a parent's big and very reasonable need is a break). I think they are most useful during the first six months or so, before other needs and abilities become important (like moving around, exploring the things around them, etc.). After our son was crawling and cruising, he lost a lot of interest in the pacifier. We only offer it now at nap and bedtimes (and sometimes he refuses it then!)"

"My husband and I both sucked our thumbs until we were each five years old. When our 4 year old was born, her need to suck was strong, too, as evidenced by the knuckles jammed in her mouth! We opted for a NUK pacifier without reservations. The proponents of pacifiers have noted that it's easier to wean a toddler of a pacifier than a teenager of a thumb. We were successful in helping our daughter wean herself from her `paws' at age 2 1/2. And now we have a 4 month old son that doesn't need to suck as much, but we have used a NUK at the early stages of breast feeding to encourage more productive sucking. I wouldn't have made it through the first two months of breast feeding without it! We continue to use it at bedtime."

"Sucking is a natural reflex and urge that soothes and calms a child. Some children need to suck more than others, don't stifle your child if he/she feels the need to suck. Just use a pacifier until he/she is old enough to find a thumb or finger. One last comment, Pacifiers and thumb sucking do no harm to incoming teeth until permanent teeth start coming through."

"I am for the pacifier, it is not a crutch. Some babies need to suck more than others; think of it as exercising. Many adults also need more exercising of these muscles than others, but not much is said about that. Adults exercise through gum chewing, smoking, sucking on candy and a variety of other creative ways. Your baby has a real need and there is nothing wrong with this non-caloric solution! One other pro: It will be this method of exercising or the fingers and when it comes time to stop, you can always remove the pacifier but you cannot remove the fingers."

"I have a 4 year old that still uses hers at night, and I have to admit I'm glad our 1 year old never wanted one. However, if they really want/need one, I think it's a good idea. Dr. Brazelton has some good advice on this subject in several of his books."

"My son greedily sucked on his pacifier from birth until he got his first four teeth. I also felt guilty about relying on this plastic thing to keep him happy, but it did indeed do the trick. Then, amazingly (and this happened to my brother's daughter, too) when he was cutting teeth, he didn't want to suck. It seemed that his ability to play with objects with his hands and bring them to his mouth to chew on coincided with his teething, so he wanted to forget about sucking and move on to exploring other things with his mouth. I had his pacifier around then, but rarely did he want it, even when he went to sleep. So, above all I guess, is just relax. Your baby will let you know when she's had enough."

"Painless now, but this may cause double pain in the future when you want to finally take it away for good. It's a tough battle. 3 months is young enough to try it without the pacifier. The baby will get used to it."

"I don't believe one should use a pacifier all the time or simply to `plug up' a crying child. In our house, our 14 month old son has one in bed only. When he wakes up in the morning he hands it to us to put away until bedtime. There will be a lot of people who will hassle you in subtle and non-subtle ways about your pacifier use. Any one who makes you feel bad or guilty for what you choose has an issue with their own `mothering' style or self-esteem or something. As long as it doesn't become a 24 hour crutch, what you do in your home for your child is your business. I think the issue of pacifiers, bottle/breast, cloth/disposable, family bed/crib, homeschool/public, vaccine-immunization/or not, vegetarian/non-vegetarian, and a dozen other issues go together in terms that they are choices for each individual to make. Personally I'm about 50% in compliancy with each `side' and can se pros and cons of both points of view. So to you: Use it as you see fit and feel comfortable. To everyone else: Please refrain from pre-judgments and rude comments and quit acting like `Mothering' is a right wing religion."

"A pro reaction to pacifier use is if you are using an Ortho type such as NUK, it certainly doesn't cause any harm to development of teeth and it is such a peace of mind saver, so why not. Most dentists will let you know all about pacifier use so I recommend calling a periodontist and ask his opinion."

"The `pacifier issue' was the first inkling I had that people can get very emotional over what choices we make with our kids! My mother-in-law hates pacifiers and tried to tell me I couldn't use one around her! We have use a pacifier for quieting our daughter (now 5 months) down, or if we're in church or a restaurant if she's getting over tired and we're not able to put her to bed right away. She seemed to have such a strong need for non-nutritive sucking, and since she's bottle fed she seemed to need another comfort technique. We have confined it's use almost exclusively to her crib, and she doesn't really seem to need it other times. My sister did this and her little girl learned to associate the `pookey' with the crib. This is a difficult issue since nobody wants to `plug' their kid for parental convenience only, but we really feel it's given our daughter comfort and also a way to calm herself down if she's irritable or tired."

"I used a pacifier a lot when my baby was young, now she is a year and rarely touches it. In fact she spits it out. It is easier to take away a pacifier than it is a thumb at a later age. It is also good to establish appropriate times for a pacifier and not let the child have it everywhere or all day long."

"We never used pacifiers with our two girls. I nursed them or rocked them to sleep and then put them in bed. When it was time to wean our first daughter we got into a bed time routine. At first I nursed her a little and then patted her on the back till she was asleep. Gradually I nursed her less and less and the patting with some soothing singing put her to sleep. Our first girl and our 2nd do not suck their fingers or thumbs either. I felt that this method worked for me but did require a great deal of patience but we all felt it made for a happier baby who never had to cry herself to sleep."

"Have someone occupy her attention and work fast! No one to help? I made funny noises and faces at my son to keep his attention off of his hands or feet. It usually worked while working on his hands. The feet were more difficult due to ticklishness, so I would continue with the noises, faces and funny little songs while having a toy handy. It didn't work all the time so I would give up and try to finish when he was asleep. Now he's 20 months old and holds still for me as I clip and lavishly praise him."

"I really don't see anything wrong with pacifiers. There are so many intimidating things in a child's world, that a little bit of security would help smooth things over. I have a 20 month old who still uses one, and I'm really not worried that he'll end up going to school with it! It helps to calm him when he's stressed and who of us adults doesn't use or identify with something when we need to relax? I'm sure your child will put it aside when he or she is ready."

"I thought I'd never use them, but my third baby seems to need one. He's 8 months now, and I only use it at naptime or bedtime (I got tired of the comments out in public!). I think some babies need it to calm down - others suck on thumbs or fingers. I have friends who had the `bottle fairy' take away bottles when their daughter was old enough to do without them, so I'm thinking about the `pacifier fairy' when the time comes....."

"Maybe you could substitute some other type of `lovey' - like a stuffed animal, or a soft diaper to lay her face on. I find playing soft lullabies on the tape deck calms my 4 month old. She'll fuss for about 5 minutes. Next month your baby should begin to put her fingers in her mouth and you can dispense with the pacifier."

"My experience was positive, although I also had misgivings about the use of pacifiers. We did not give our baby a pacifier all day long, but saved it for naps and bedtime. Sometime around 13 or 14 months she just stopped using it - it was not a struggle or a problem at all. She just didn't want it anymore. I have been told by a speech pathologist that pacifiers do not cause speech problems, but thumb sucking does cause problems. With this in mind, I surely would avoid the temptation of thumb sucking by using a pacifier if your baby seems to want to suck something. Even if it becomes a problematic habit, it is easier to get rid of a pacifier than it is a thumb!"

"I see nothing wrong with using a pacifier at nap and bed time. If it comforts the child and helps the child get to sleep, why not use it? My daughter would sometimes wake up at night and all that was needed was to put a pacifier in her mouth and she went right back to sleep. Now, there is rarely a night we have to get up with her. My daughter also realizes that her pacifier is only for when she is in her crib. Therefore, I do not foresee a bad habit coming out of this."

"I do most of the infant care at our church nursery and I have found that the baby's who are nursed are calmed down much easier with their pacifiers than the baby's who are on bottles. I nurse my 3 month old and supplement and he will not take one at all. But would you rather be tied down to a bottle for comfort? You chance possible tooth decay faster than using a pacifier - they say using one might alter your child's `bite' - but if you can have a little assurance the infant will be comforted and sleep well, I wouldn't worry too much."

"The night after my son was born, he had a fairly lengthy bout of crying in our hospital room. Frustrated by my inability to calm this first baby of mine, I called the nurse. She suggested trying a pacifier. It worked like a charm, and really seemed to satisfy his need to suck. He's six months old now, and uses his pacifier occasionally during the day. It still serves as a calming device for him. In my opinion, babies have an awful lot to deal with during the course of the day - the business of living can be quite frustrating at times! If the pacifier helps to make things a little easier now, I'm all for it."

"I wasn't going to use pacifiers. My daughter got one in the nursery while I was recovering. She and her brother are 10 months old now and they use their pacifiers as they are available. sometimes they aren't used at all; sometimes they are in constant use. It seems the desire to have something in the mouth can be quite strong. (Do pacifier users become gum chewers, smokers, or obese as adults in greater proportion to non-pacifier kids?) I'd rather they suck on a pacifier than a bottle. Pacifiers have no calories."

"We probably feel the same way! I used the pacifier with both of my children but I threw it away by the 4th month before they could become attached to it. I've read they won't affect the teeth, can't do any harm, but I can't stand seeing 2 year old's walking around with them. If your not comfortable with the situation, use only as a last resort, and throw it away before your child becomes attached."

"None of my three children (they are 7 yrs, 5yrs & 9 months) enjoyed pacifiers. I nursed my older ones for their first year and am doing the same for our third. If you're nursing, take a little extra time and let your baby suck, it seems to satisfy that sucking instinct."

"Relax! Babies need to be pacified. At least they aren't sucking their thumb. It is much easier to throw away a pacifier when they are ready than their thumb."

"If there were many bad things about pacifiers, you would hear about them. It is actually a good thing because it exercises the mouth to prepare for eating solid foods later, it provides a teething device when they begin to teeth, it is a toy, and most of all, it provides security. The one thing a vulnerable, helpless baby needs. I honestly don't find, in my personal opinion, nor have I read, anything negative. My 6 1/2 month old really enjoys a pacifier. It doesn't replace you, or food, etc., but it can pacify a baby. Just remember that a baby's natural instinct is to suck. So why deprive them of that."

"I have 4 children. The oldest now 13, and all used pacifiers. I believe the urge to suck is an innate need and only helps them to be able to satisfy this need. When I looked at pacifiers as ugly objects or listened to others criticism I, too, disliked them. When I decided they helped satisfy a need and cause my kids to feel secure, pacifiers appeared less foreign."

"I hate the idea of encouraging a baby to put a foreign object in it's mouth - if a pacifier is OK then they will probably start experimenting with other things. Nature has provided babies with a great pacifier - their own thumbs! They've been using them before they were even born. It's just the right size, always handy and they can't lose a thumb in the middle of the night. It may take the baby a while to aim for his mouth, but at 3 months, with a guiding hand from mom or dad, he'll be able to find it and soothe himself to sleep."

"Our boys (ages 34 months and 17 months) adore theirs. About a year ago we restricted the use to upstairs in our house (or bed if at a hotel or friends house). Our doctor says not to worry about their addiction until they're between 3 and 5 years, and my mother-in-law is sure her 4 kids wouldn't now all chew their nails if they'd had a pacifier as a baby' it was taboo then."

"When my daughter (now 15 months) was an infant, I also used the pacifier at times. I understood the need to suck is one that most infants don't fulfill entirely by nursing. All baby's are of course different. But I soon learned that my daughter was not very interested in the pacifier and it soon became something we only used when she was very fussy and couldn't seem to be calmed any other way. As soon as she was old enough she found her thumbs, and has not considered the pacifier since then. Thumb sucking is a whole other issue, but it's obvious with my daughter that she has bound her own way to satisfy her sucking need and also to comfort herself."

"There are 2 schools of thought on pacifiers - one that infants need to do a certain amount of sucking every day, and another that any sucking other than for feeding is a learned habit. Not even the `experts' agree on which is correct. What they do agree on is that infants like to suck and in the absence of a pacifier will frequently turn to their fist of thumb. If cuddling, rocking and feeding your baby does not comfort him or her, the use of a pacifier (especially if baby is teething) will not cause any permanent harm. It is generally easier to wean a child from a pacifier rather than a thumb or fist. Remember that as `mom' you are the expert on this baby. Trust yourself and your feelings on when the pacifier is necessary."

"Thousands of well adjusted adults used pacifiers to comfort them as infants and toddlers. Some for 2 or more years. I'd say, `don't sweat the small stuff' and respect the child's needs and preferences. The baby is only 3 months old now - soon you will be pleased to have a routine that works and many more issues to deal with."

"You do the best job you can as a parent. My daughter had a pacifier until 4 1/2 years old when the dentist talked with her and she voluntarily threw them away. Now at 8 years old we're talking orthodontia. Is some of it connected with a pacifier - who knows. My son is nursing and has no need of a pacifier. And studies show that kids who nurse to over 2 years old have a better than normal jaw development."

"As a nursing mother of an 11 month old who has never used a pacifier, I cringe when I see babies with plastic nipples in their mouths. How much more natural to have a baby fall asleep in your arms and/or at mommy's breast. I have found most people to be very tolerant of baby `noises' as opposed to using a `plug' to quiet them. Babies have a strong need to suck and are calmed by it but I prefer to `pacify' my baby at my breast rather than with an unnatural object."

"Parenting is a hard profession and being a baby is probably no piece of cake either! So the answer is simple: If a pacifier makes life easier for both of you and your baby then by all means, use one! And if society's disapproving looks bother you, then limit use to just the crib and the car seat if you want. Your baby is not going to care who shakes their head - the choice is yours. With so many real concerns to address as a parent, we shouldn't sweat the small stuff."

"Some of all that helpful material I got said babies have an instinctive need to suck, even aside from feeding. So don't feel guilty for using a pacifier. I think my baby even practiced using her fingers as she learned to put it in her mouth herself! You may want to use a NUK brand one (it's a specially shaped nipple). Don't tie it on a string (you'd never want to find your baby caught in it)."

"I don't really like pacifiers either, but with newborns in the hospital - use of `plugs' seems automatic. As new parents we didn't know the difference, so we continued their use at home. but after the first few months I questioned whether it was more of a habit for me or for the baby. I started to pick up on cues from the baby that maybe she would like to be held, rocked or sung to and only used the pacifier when absolutely necessary. By 7 months she was completely weaned and at 8 months hasn't required a pacifier since. I think it's worth a try. Good luck!"

"I was real leery of using pacifiers, too, but sometimes they're the only way to get a baby settled down. We used them only at nap or bedtime - they were left in the crib. That way our daughter didn't get in the habit of popping it in her mouth all the time. Also, we didn't give it to her unless she really fussed for it. If she was dozing off without it, we just didn't use it. We'd let her go a couple of minutes and see if she'd settle down without it. Eventually, our daughter went for longer and longer periods of time between needing her pacifier. By the time she was starting to crawl, she didn't use it at all. She'd developed a routine for bed time that didn't include the pacifier. The main thing, I found, was not to emphasize the pacifier. Use it when you need to, but don't automatically plunk it in the baby's mouth. Maybe some extra cuddling at bedtime will work when they get older, instead of the pacifier. In any event, the baby will give up the pacifier when they're ready.

"I wouldn't worry yet about the bad effects of a pacifier. All babies have the need to suck, if you don't provide the pacifier, there is the chance the baby will suck on other things (less desirable). My son weaned himself of the pacifier at 10 months. We never made an issue of the pacifier and neither did he."

"There are times when `if it works, do it', applies. For us it was no problem. Our first born son took a pacifier until about 9 months. He was nursed freely and lengthily on demand (except when I was gone to part time work, the pacifier really helped papa then!) and stopped gradually on his own. His cousin, a third child, was bottle fed and his mom had surgery and chemo- therapy early in his life. He was never seen without his pacifier (except at meals) until age 3 plus. At 3 months don't worry but perhaps plan ahead to ways of supplanting the pacifier by age 1 or whatever. Just use it when you really need it."

"Dr. T. Berry Brazelton believes a child finds comfort in his thumb (why not a pacifier too). I nursed my daughter - she fell asleep. She never used a pacifier because she got plenty of natural sucking. She sucked on her whole hand occasionally."

"Our son, now 18 1/2 months old, used a pacifier until he was about 7 months, then refused it completely. I wouldn't feel guilty or worried about your 3 month old using one. I think it must be a great comfort to such a little person - we all seem too concerned that our babies become independent too early. I think you should let your little one use the pacifier and he or she will give it up when they feel secure enough to do so."

"Babies need to suck a lot - but I agree it can look awful. Our little girl uses her pacifier when trying to go back to sleep or when fussy in public. Otherwise I just let her use her fingers which is an important exploration for her. If not over-used, they can be very helpful."

"A baby of 3 months needs to suck and it does make quieting your baby quick and easy. But don't make it your only option. Use other calming techniques. A hug is great for both baby and mom. Don't let your baby get too attached to the pacifier and get rid of it before your child is old enough to miss it. My daughter stopped taking a pacifier on her own at six months and at 10 months she wouldn't know what to do with it."

"I am very pro pacifiers. I am always amazed at how intolerant we are towards a baby's oral needs while we allow ourselves chocolate, food, drink, gum, cigarettes, coffee, etc., to meet our oral needs. A baby derives great pleasure from a pacifier - they need that stimulation - particularly if it is an oral aggressive baby. Both my children were oral aggressive and a NUK helped calm them down. When I nursed them it was easier on me, too, when because they got oral satisfaction from a NUK too. My son had his NUK until he was 4. There were times he needed it. If I had taken it away he would have found a thumb or blanket and I found a NUK was less objectionable than those. At 4, the "Binky Bird" came and carried his NUK away and he gave it up painlessly. Now at 5, he is a happy and very contented child. Let them satisfy their oral needs now - better than too much food or even cigarettes later. A child will throw it out if it doesn't want a pacifier."

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