What do you mean, you might ask. Well, the two I'm dealing with right now are the pacifier and the bottle.
I don't see the harm in either.
I do feel, however, that I'm sometimes judged when people see my 13 month old drinking from a bottle. There's the issue of baby bottle decay. Well, I've read a lot about that, and working for a dental office and having gone through dental assistant training, I've heard a lot about the subject. From what I gather, the main issue with baby bottle decay is that it happens when a baby is given a bottle while they are in their crib, and allowed to sip right before bed or all night long, without getting their teeth brushed.
I did an experiment with Isaac yesterday. I was determined to wean him off the bottle this week while I'm off from work. Yesterday I gave him pediasure and formula in a sippy cup. He drank about half as much as he usually does, and he was very cranky, clingy, demanding, and upset all day. I thought he would be. I didn't expect him to be a perfect child who would be fine going from three or four bottles a day to none. I thought, "I'll be a good mom, I'll be strong. Cold turkey for us."
That lasted a whole day and a 1/2. Today I gave in and gave him a bottle. He sucked it down and cried for more. So instead of cold turkey, we're going to try 1 bottle a day (we only have the small bottles so it's technically 2, 6-8 oz of formula or pediasure).
Pacifiers. Isaac doesn't have to have his unless he's taking a nap or going to sleep for the night. If I give it to him during the day at all, it's because his teeth have been bothering him a lot, or he's fussy and nothing else I've tried seems to help. Someone once asked me, "he's not going to be one of those two year old still sucking on a pacifier, is he?" At the time I assured this person that, "no, no, we'll be done with it by then."
I think I was too quick to jump to the conclusion that Isaac will not be using a pacifier when he's 2. Ideally, for me, he won't. But, what if he does? What's wrong with that? I don't see anything wrong with that. Who am I to take something away from him if he likes it. It's comforting to him. Why am I in such a hurry for him to grow up?
I found this article about pacifiers not being the cause of crooked teeth. I found it here: http://parentsknow.state.mn.us/parentsknow/age1_2/tips/QAs/PKDEV_000890
My mother-in-law is very upset that my four-month-old uses a pacifier. She worries that we're making a sissy out of him and she says that it will give him crooked teeth. Should we be concerned?
Your mother-in-law is not alone in her concerns about your baby's use of the pacifier. Her point of view was very common a few years ago and is still shared by many people today. However, most child development specialists see little cause for worry when a baby uses a pacifier. As for the effect on your child's teeth, dentists say there is no evidence that pacifiers cause crooked teeth. Concerning the impact on your son's emotional development, rest assured that using a pacifier will do no harm and, in fact, probably will do him good.
The instinct to suck is very strong in nearly all babies, so strong that they often need much more sucking than they get through the feeding experience. Sucking is a great source of comfort to a baby, and a pacifier can provide an easy way for the baby to soothe herself at times when mom and dad are busy and not available to provide comfort. A baby's need to suck is often especially high when she is tired, not feeling well, cutting teeth, or is in an unfamiliar environment that makes her feel somewhat unsettled.
If you were to interfere with your baby's efforts to comfort himself, his need for the pacifier probably would become even more intense. But if your son is allowed to satisfy that need for comfort, he will gradually outgrow his need for the pacifier. The surest way to help your baby grow to be a strong, secure boy, is to show him that you respect his need to feel safe, comfortable, and satisfied now. As your son becomes increasingly sociable, as he learns to babble and make faces and play with others, as he begins to move around and explore the world around him, the pacifier will become less interesting to him. Of course, for many months he may still want the comfort the pacifier provides when he's sleepy and alone, but eventually he won't even need it then. He will develop new ways to feel calm and comforted-like snuggling under a favorite blanket, listening to grandma read a bedtime story, or hearing dad sing a lullaby. Keep in mind that no matter how young or how old we are, we all need comfort. By letting your child find comfort in his pacifier, you are showing him that his needs count.
A question-and-answer column with Dr. Martha Farrell Erickson of the University of Minnesota
Let me just say that the person who asked this question is not alone when it comes to other people being concerned about the way she chooses to raise her child. Things like pacifiers, formula, bottles, breast feeding, when to potty train, when to start feeding solids, and other things like that are the parents decision! Shame on anyone (except maybe a trusted pediatrician) who thinks they can tell the parents otherwise. It's hard enough being a parent without everyone telling you that you are doing this and that wrong. Of course, if the person was harming the child, that's different. But c'mon, a pacifier is going to turn a baby into a sissy? Ha!
With the 1st birthday of Isaac I've been quick to think, ok, what can I take away from him now that he's not a baby anymore? Well, he IS still a baby, and so what if I allow him to hang onto his baby comforts for another 6 months or a year? He'll only be a baby for a little while longer, I need to stop rushing it.