Pacifying Parents With a Comfort Blanket for Baby

baby-blankets-questionThis Grandma recently sat on an airplane next to a mother with an adorable fourteen month old daughter.   It is wonderful to be able to help mothers who are flying alone.  This child had a pacifier in her mouth the entire time.  If the pacifier fell out of her mouth, as soon as the child made a peep, the Mother stuck the pacifier back in the child’s mouth.  I wondered if it was because she was concerned about the child disturbing other passengers.  However, at baggage claim, she stuck the pacifier in the child’s mouth.

I do not like to see babies over the age of four months with a pacifier.

When I came home, I spoke to a long (we do not say old) who just became a grandmother for the third time.  She just came back from helping her daughter for several weeks.  She said she had sterilized the bottles and put newborn pacifiers in a Tupperware container.  (Of course, that is not all she did.  She set up the baby’s room, she cooked, she cleaned, she did laundry, she took the baby from the mother after the mother breast feed and let the mother sleep and more.)  When her daughter and her husband came home from the hospital, they told the grandmother that they decided that the baby would not use a pacifier at all.  After having grandma lessons, she knew to say nothing.  However, after the newborn had a few of her fussy periods, the grandmother quietly said that sometimes newborns need extra sucking and the parents might try a pacifier just once.  They did.  After that, the Tupperware container was close by!

When I had babies, I remember my mother’s advice that a baby needed a pacifier for sucking until about the end of the third month of life and then it should be taken away.   So, following successful advice, this Grandma had the pacifier disappear when the baby was between three and four months.  If the baby needed consoling, I cuddled the baby next to a comfort blanket first and then gave the baby the pacifier.  Since the baby was so young, it did not take much time when the comfort blanket was enough and the baby no longer fussed for the pacifier.  My daughters did their variation of making the pacifier disappear for four grandchildren by four months.  I do not recall them saying it was a difficult process.  Though, I have heard the horrors of trying to have a three year old give up a pacifier that has been glued in that mouth for three years!

My grandmother friend said that is the advice she heard too—take away the pacifier at three to four months.  Since we are of the same “vintage,” I wondered what the NEW pacifier theory is.  We know that pacifiers pacify the parents of newborns.  Should they be used in 2013?

It seems that there is a lot on the internet about breastfeeding and pacifiers.  Going on the website for the American Academy of Pediatrics, I found a new study that is interesting, that it may be helpful to breastfeeding to introduce a pacifier earlier than three weeks to a month which was the previous recommendation so as to not cause nipple confusion.  Read it at American Academy Pediatrics. Another study shows that the use of pacifiers may decrease the incident of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

We know it is to everyone’s benefit that new parents have a tool to sooth a newborn.   We have an idea of the ease of taking it away early.  So what is said on the internet about when to take the pacifier away?  WebMD says by nine to twelve months.  Other websites say even go to a toddler age.  Some even later than that.  Again, this Grandma says earlier, about four months.  Or else, the pacifier use is to pacify the parents not the baby.  WebMd has a good quote about babies about six months old and pacifiers:

Take advantage of the natural lulls in a child’s attraction to the pacifier. For many babies, that’s in the second half of the first year. Be aware that often babies don’t ask for a pacifier “as much as parents are quick to offer” it.

Yes, new parents need a pacifier to sooth a fussy baby and feel that they have control.  By four months, neither parent nor baby should need the crutch.  Then it is time to replace the pacifier “comfort” with a “comfort toy or blanket.”    The blanket can be one that was given as a new baby gift that is soft and cuddly.    However, what the blanket is made of can be dangerous to the small baby.  On the website Twinklebelle, the Mommy blogger tells what happened as a result of the lint on her baby’s fleece blanket and recommends cotton knitted blankets.

Wow! This Grandma just wrote about an organic cotton muslin blanket that is fit for royalty who could have anything that cost $18!  Check out the best comfort blanket to give baby at the post, “Our New Standard: Fit for Royalty.”

So, there is proof of three generations who have had a successful experience of using a pacifier when the baby and parents need it and taking it away early with ease.    This Grandma’s view on pacifiers is let them fade from sight between three and four months when the baby no longer craves the pacifier.    Waiting until the pacifier becomes just a habit and an attachment means more tears and more difficulty to take it away from an older baby, or toddler, or young child.

Who wants to see a five year old with a pacifier in his or her mouth?*

Who wants to see a five year old carrying around a blanket?**





*This is first Grandma Lessons exception to: don’t worry, he or she won’t have a pacifier in his or her mouth when he or she walks down the aisle.

**This is second Grandma Lessons exception to: don’t worry, he or she won’t carry his or her comfort blanket when he or she walks down the aisle.



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