I love the expression on Jade’s face in the first few seconds after I put her soother in her mouth. Her eyes scowl slightly and her mouth opens in a grimace, as if to say “Why on earth would I want to suck on this plastic thing?”
Then, if I hold the soother there, she starts sucking, making the soother squeak and wiggle against her face. If she sucks on it for a while, it leaves little red parenthesis on her chubby cheeks.
Sometimes I wonder why I’m giving her the soother. I picture myself fishing for it in her car seat when she drops it, crawling under the crib to find it late at night, popping it into my own mouth to clean it when she drops it at the grocery store. In three years or less, I’ll be trying to convince her to give it up. So why do I pop it into her mouth again when she tries to spit it out?
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When to Start a Soother
Sunshine didn’t have a soother until she was about three months old. Then I noticed she was using me as a soother—late at night, after she’d finished nursing, she’d still be attached and if I tried to move, she woke up. Getting a soother solved the problem, as I could slip the soother into her mouth and she’d stay asleep for several hours.
I don’t remember when we started Lily on her soother, but it was much younger. She also didn’t use it for as long as Sunshine did; we dropped it on a walk one day when she was about eighteen months, and she never looked back.
When Jade was four weeks old, I got out her soothers. Dr. Sears recommends waiting until six weeks to introduce soothers/bottles (if you’re breastfeeding) to prevent nipple confusion, but Jade was such a good nurser I didn’t think it was a problem. She’d had a few really fussy nights—nights when I’d spent two or three hours changing her, nursing her, bouncing her, changing her, rocking her, swaddling her, nursing her, bouncing her, until I was ready to cry and she still wasn’t sleep.
She seemed to want to nurse, but after a couple sucks she’d come off wailing. So I got out the soother, hoping that maybe it would help calm her. It did.
Why to Use a Soother
In The Baby Book, Dr. Sears says, “Babies have an intense need to suck, and some have more intense needs than others. Babies even suck their thumbs in the womb. Next to holding and feeding, sucking is the most time-tested comforter.”
I’ve noticed with all three of my daughters that there were times when the soother definitely soothed. For Sunshine, this included times of transition such as the arrival of a new sibling or our move to BC.
With both Sunshine and Lily, we used the soothers mostly for bedtime and naptime. We also used it in the car. It’s hard to comfort a baby who is strapped into a car seat just out of reach of Mommy. Older babies can play with toys or look at books, but younger babies are left to wonder why Mommy won’t hold them right now. A soother has definitely made it easier to travel with Jade.
Sometimes, I feel guilty giving Jade a soother. I should be doing something more or something else that would make her happy. Dr. Sears says, “Ideally, pacifiers are for the comfort of babies, not the convenience of parents. … Always relying on an alternative peacemaker lessens the buildup of baby’s trust in the parents and denies the parents a chance to develop baby-comforting skills.”
I try to make sure that the soother is my last resort—the item I pull out only when bouncing or changing or nursing doesn’t work to soothe Jade.
Were your children thumb suckers or soother suckers? How do you feel about soothers?
Thanks for hosting & God bless!
Thanks for dropping by! God bless you too. 🙂
My son was such a ‘soucey’ boy. I left them all around him in his crib so he could just reach out and grab one:) Sometimes I just needed to sleep:)
I’ve heard of that trick… it didn’t seem to work for us!
My babies loved their binky! I had no problem giving them as I have never seen an adult running around with one in their mouth, lol!
It did soothe and comfort them and so that worked for me. They never once sucked their thumbs. My mom said my siblings and I never did either. Maybe it’s genetic, lol!
Also wanted to remind you that the “Making Your Home Sing Monday” linky party is live and ready for your posts! Thanks for hosting today!
That’s true – they all outgrow soothers (and other baby habits) sooner or later! Thanks for hosting MYHSM – I love dropping by and reading your posts. I’ll have to work on something to link up! 🙂
I tried every soother in the stores – we were going to buy shares for soothers because of the number we went through – NOthing… NO soother soother any of my three children. Rocking, singing, patting or cuddling and lots of nursing. That’s all that worked. And I tried.
Interesting. We used Avent soothers for Sunshine and Lily, which were hard to find (and a unique shape). They were very particular about the soother, too; a different style just wouldn’t cut it! I guess each child has their own preferences. 🙂
I had one daughter who LOVED her binky. Of course, I also traveled between the mountain of relief and the valley of guilt. Moms do that about everything. If you use a soother, you have to train them to stop later. If you don’t, you train them to self-soothe earlier. No guilt. A mom does what is best for her and her child – at that moment! It even changes for every kid. My daughter who loved her soother took it out of her mouth around 9 months old, threw it across the room and was done.
That’s funny that she weaned herself! Lily pretty much did the same thing, though at 18 months instead of 9. And Sunshine fought it when we took her away at 3 years. 🙂
My oldest was a soother baby, but weaned himself cold turkey at 9mths old. While I was happy I didn’t have to do it when he got older, it made it VERY difficult to transition him from carseat to crib if he was asleep; and from nursing to crib if he fell asleep. We managed though. My youngest, however never liked it. He would take it the odd time in the car, but mostly just spit it out. I gave up trying around 3 months. He found his fingers (middle and ring) and soothed himself that way
Interesting how some babies are thumb suckers and others prefer soothers. None of mine have found their thumb so far… but Jade definitely has moments when she wants her soother and moments when she doesn’t. 🙂
Both my boys took them and my youngest still does it sure has helped me get some sleep bc they were both comfort suckers for sure!
Yes, sleep is very important so that makes the soother important too! 🙂 Glad it helped your boys.