Our Philosophy on Pacifiers

One of the “mommy questions” I get asked most often is if we use a pacifier or not. If you had asked me before I had a baby if we’d use one, the answer would have been totally different, so I thought I’d share my thoughts for other new mamas trying to figure it all out.

When we first had Amalia, I was totally against using pacifiers to soothe her because I was worried that she would become overly dependent on them. I have a few friends who have kids that can’t sleep or calm down without one and it is a huge problem for them. If it falls out, game over. And that happens multiple times a day! Like most things in motherhood, I learned a thing or two very quickly and changed my tune.

There were times when she was tiny when she wouldn’t go to sleep no matter what we did. You know how it is in those early days… At one point in that first week, I was napping and Anel was putting her down. He gave her a pacifier and she magically stopped crying and went right to sleep. It was like magic!

When she woke up and I went to feed her, she couldn’t latch and I completely freaked out, blaming the binky. We swaddled her up, took a deep breath, and finally got her to latch. After that one incident, we never had a problem again. We were able to use the pacifier and she could breast feed with no issues. It became a lifesaver on those days when she just couldn’t fall asleep.

After that, the question came up of when and how often to use it. When our baby nurse started (read more about her here), she had the philosophy that it was ok to use one, as long as they don’t get dependent on it which matched my thoughts exactly. I love this quick read from a pediatric dentist who also agrees. She taught us how to do that.

Basically, if Amalia was very fussy and wouldn’t go down at night, we’d give her a binky. We used it only when she really needed it, and no other times.

I love these Smilo ones because they lightly glow in the dark which makes them easier to find if the lights are very dim. Usually when we’d give it to her, it would fall out as soon as she fell asleep and we would leave it as is. We never forced it on her and we got lucky that she liked it but didn’t love it.

After last week’s flight to Bermuda, I’m so glad that we had the binky in our back pocket. When we took off, I nursed her, but on the landing she wasn’t hungry. Her ears were feeling the pressure and sucking helps babies with this. I was able to give her a pacifier and help that problem which was so nice.

We used this one from Smilo in stage 1 so it’s the perfect size for her little mouth, and has a handle so I wasn’t worried about dropping it on the dirty plane. I love Smilo products because they’re actually created by parents who double as pediatricians and engineers. They just get it.

What are your philosophies on pacifiers? How do you use them with your baby?

Thank you to Smilo for sponsoring this post. All opinions, as always, are 100% my own. Photos by Carter Fish.

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  1. Jeanie Marie said:

    I think this is a great way to use the pasi, my first only took it the first 4-5 months when fussy/bedtime, but always spit it out, he just naturally stopped taking. My second seems to like it more, but we limited to extremely fussy/sick/sleep times the first year and now in his second year has it only in bed for sleep.

    10.13.17 · Reply
    • Oh wow that’s great to hear. It sounds like you have it down to a science!

      10.13.17 · Reply
  2. Justina Kenyon said:

    I cannot get over how cute Amalia is! I don’t have a baby (and might not ever), but I love reading your motherhood posts because they are so thoughtful.

    10.13.17 · Reply
    • Awww thanks Justina! I think she’s pretty cute too 🙂 And glad that the posts are relatable for non-moms too xx

      10.13.17 · Reply
  3. As a former thumb sucker I always felt that a pacifier was not the worst thing, as I was *this close* to needing a pallet expander since my thumb sucking lasted way longer than if I had had a pacifier that was gotten rid of at an appropriate age!

    My daughter used one for sleep time only.My son on the other hand hated the thing from the moment we tried to give it to him. Which sounds find but he had colic & nothing soothed him. We had a lot of rough nights of him being mad, even once colic had passed. When he teethes he won’t chew on anything- that has been the biggest downside to no pacifier. He’s just miserable.

    So there’s a lot of of negatives about them for sure but there’s also a lot of positives. My general motherhood attitude has really turned into do the best you can but there’s no such thing as the “perfect” mom.

    10.13.17 · Reply
  4. JRB said:

    I have a feeling that we’re going to need one because this little girl has had her thumb or hands in/near her mouth in every ultrasound since 12 weeks (and I’ve had a lot of ultrasounds). It doesn’t really bother me…I had a pacifier until 2 and I gave it up just fine (long story, but my parents told me we had to give them to the squirrels for their babies, lol).

    10.13.17 · Reply
    • Hahah that is so stinkin’ cute! And love the squirrels story 🙂

      10.13.17 · Reply
  5. Lily Park East said:

    I think this is the perfect approach and philosophy – thanks for sharing! xx

    10.13.17 · Reply
  6. Anne Fahlgren said:

    Our daughter wouldn’t take a pacifier, but she became a thumb sucker fairly soon after she found her hands, so you never know what they will do. She sucked her thumb until she was 5, and then she quit cold turkey, which I was really glad about since I sucked my thumb until I was 6 and it was really hard to get me to stop 🙂 I never needed brace though, and our pediatric dentist said that the thumb sucking didn’t negatively affect our daughter’s teeth either.

    10.13.17 · Reply
    • Amalia is starting to suck her thumb this week too! I’m hoping that breaking her of it won’t be terrible but I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it 🙂

      10.15.17 · Reply
  7. Morgan Roberts said:

    Loved this!

    10.13.17 · Reply
  8. Maryann said:

    Before I gave birth I was against them and my mother was completely against them. But around 5 weeks and her crying in tb car for no reason or just because she wanted to be held and soothed I tried it. She likes it but doesn’t love it but it gives her the opportunity to soothe herself without being on me and it gives me a break and creates less stress. I told my mom, who was very open about having a problem with it that it would be easier for me to break her from the pacifier than it was for her to break me from sucking my thumb- which I did till I was almost 9! It’s what works for you and your baby. It sounds like you have I handled nicely. She’s a doll !

    10.13.17 · Reply
    • It sounds like we have a similar paci situation: Likes it but doesn’t love it… which is ideal IMO. Amalia is starting to suck her thumb now and I’m getting nervous. Eek!

      10.15.17 · Reply
  9. Karlie Karish said:

    Love this post! Our first baby is due in December and my husband and I have been back and forth about the pacifier thing. He doesn’t really mind either way, but I don’t want our baby to become too dependent upon it. I love this philosophy and may use the pacifier this way! I love all of your posts but definitely your motherhood ones. It’s nice to not feel so alone in motherhood! It’s nerve wracking the first time! So many decisions to make. Thank you so much 🙂 Also where can I find the Smilo pacifiers?

    10.14.17 · Reply
    • Congratulations, Karlie! And thank you so much for your sweet words. I’m glad my posts are helpful. Hopefully even more so when your little one comes 🙂

      You can buy Smilo directly on their site. We really like them!

      10.15.17 · Reply