Sunday, June 5, 2011

Baby Gear Top 10: Pacifiers

We have a number of friends who are joining the wonderful world of parenthood, so I'll be sharing information about our favorite gear for the newborn phase over the next couple weeks. Picks are not ranked in any particular order.

Next up in the gear series: Pacifiers! This one might seem like a no-brainer, but for some reason I (and TONS of other moms-to-be) get all caught up in whether or not to offer pacifiers. We fear addiction (the kindergardener who tantrums without her binky). And there's so much info out there these days threatening "nipple confusion" and blaming the pacifier for a baby's inability to latch properly. 

I can't discount the latter, because my child had the latch of a rabid dog from day one, so it was never much of a concern once she had arrived (though I have since read in multiple places that this idea is hogwash). And as for breaking the addiction, there are plenty of crafty ideas out there from witty parents, like tying it to a chair in the kitchen, or only allowing them in bed or the carseat. Now that I fully understand the magic that is the binky, I'll be more than happy to strap one to a chair one day, if that's what it takes to break her. But in the meantime, oh how I love thee, Mr. Binky! 

I remember the first time we gave her a pacifier. It was night 2 in the hospital, it was probably around 1am. Raf was asleep, Lana was not, and a very kind nurse was giving me a pep talk (reality check) on life as a new mom. At some point in our conversation, she stopped trying to talk over Lana's wailing and asked if I would like to try a pacifier. I gave her a concerned look and mentioned my reasons for hesitation. "Let's just try it, ok?" she says. "Ok." She plunked it in and there was immediate silence. And not just silence...comfort. I could just tell that Lana was immediately relaxed. It was like she felt safe. {Sigh.} I am SO grateful for that middle of the night pep talk.  

So, let's talk about your options...
First up, the Newborn Soothie. This is the style that you're given in the hospital. If they don't offer you one, just ask. I'm pretty sure we left with 4 or 5. It's my understanding that this is the style they go with because it most mimics the shape of the nipple while breastfeeding, so as to reduce the risk of nipple confusion. My advice? Take this one as soon as you feel like your babe might need a little extra soothing. (You know, on the second night, when you haven't slept for 30-50 hours and you're feeling like you might break without some sort of miracle cure.)

Then, once you're confident with your breastfeeding relationship, chuck these babies and quickly move on. The problem? They're just too heavy. It's too hard for a newborn to keep hold on one of these things, and I don't think that the shape helps much with that either.

When you decide you're ready to move on, get ready to be overwhelmed by options! There's literally a 5x6 foot section of wall at the baby store committed to pacifiers. It's overwhelming to say the least. Don't stock up on one kind in the beginning; it may take a few tries to find the shape that your baby prefers. We lucked out in that the first one we picked, she loved. We use Nuk brand pacifiers. They're light weight and she likes the shape so she has no trouble keeping these in. (In fact, she's quite adept at screaming without losing her binky!) Be sure to buy the age-appropriate size. They do seem to get bulkier and heavier as they age up.

The Genius is another option in the Nuk line. This one is incredibly trim and lightweight. I prefer this one as she's gotten older because it doesn't seem to have the same suck strength to it, if that makes any sense? I think it's built to be more orthodontically appropriate, so they can't get quite the same suction on it as the others. Thus, it was less effective when she was a newborn and really needed that strong suck, but works great now, since it's primarily just a security object that she uses to wind down for sleeping.

And finally, the Chomp. We don't have one of these, but it'd be really awesome if we did!

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