Saturday, January 24, 2009

"She's just using you as a pacifier."

I hear this now and then. And it's true! Since my daughter still refuses-- despite my repeated efforts-- to take a plastic nipple, she often gets the real thing instead. I believe strongly in the value of non-nutritive sucking to relieve a baby's tension and even mitigate pain.

Lately, though, I find myself bristling more and more when someone makes the above comment to me. It's not the words themselves, which are of course true. It's the derogatory tone that accompanies them, the implied criticism-- the implication that I ought to be enlightened to my baby's "manipulation."

No one stops to think that a pacifier is a substitute. A highly-convenient substitute, but a substitute nonetheless. Yet did anyone ever look at my son sucking away on his pacifier and say, "He's just using that thing as a breast"?

Why do we act as if the pacifier were nature's way of settling a baby, and non-nutritive suckling at the breast a bizarre aberration that needs correction?

4 comments:

Plucker Family said...

L...it's only a problem if it bothers you...IMO. With Laurel, it did bother me...maybe that's a problem with me...but, for my sanity...I was glad when Laurel finally took the substitute for my breast...I couldn't take the constant attachment...again probably a problem with me:)

L said...

Oh, I would MUCH prefer that she take the pacifier, but you've got to do something. Did you say Laurel finally took it at three months? I haven't given up hope!

Plucker Family said...

Yep....somewhere around that time. Now she is so advanced she'll pick it up and put it in her mouth in the crib...really helps get her back to sleep. A life saver for me;) I'll pray that this works itself out....maybe she'll start thumb sucking...???

Susie said...

Who ARE these people? Seriously, my mom would probably say something like that, but she's my mom and we can say thoughtless things to each other on a fairly regular basis without much worry, but who ELSE would say something like that? I think that's a pretty aggressive thing to say to somebody, no wonder it grates.