When Screams Threaten, What Do I Do?

Since becoming a parent, I’ve naturally begun to pay a lot more attention to families, especially those with young children. Before we had Squeaker, I always hated to hear someone else’s kid screaming in the middle of my nice dinner. Now, I’m the one leaping to smother my child’s shrieks before they disturb my fellow diners’ date nights (lucky sons-a-guns). I’m still hyper-aware of inattentive parents who ignore their loud children, but I am much more tolerant of circumstances and less quick to judge. My husband and I agree: we want to take the baby out into the world, and begin working as early as possible to teach her appropriate and expected behavior. So, as I cast around for ways to lessen the aural impact of my daughter’s joyful public play (or cranky public meltdown), I see one thing that seems nearly universal to me in the under-one set: they’re all running around with a binky.

My daughter, on the other hand, simply will not take a pacifier.

I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing for us, or for her. As with everything in parenting, there are pros and cons to consider. For example, besides the obvious benefits (blissful silence and better sleep), one study of about 500 babies recently showed that pacifier use during the “last sleep” can reduce the risk of SIDS. On the other hand, there is some concern that offering a pacifier can interfere with breasfeeding, lead to dental problems like misaligned teeth or recurrent ear infections – and those possible problems are in addition to the fact that you’ll have to wean the kid off at some point.

When Squeaker was first home from the hospital, she would suck on a pacifier. For about 3 minutes. We subscribed wholeheartedly to the 5-S model (swaddling, swinging, side/stomach positioning, shushing, and sucking) and quickly put it into practice with our baby. Some combination of the first four would almost always (and still does) help us to calm Squeaker down very quickly. The sucking, however, she wanted nothing to do with unless food was a involved. She did start sleeping through the night without the benefit of a binky.

As she’s gotten older, she amuses herself by putting everything and anything she can grab into her mouth (shocking, I know). Although she’s not an uncommonly chatty or noisy child, sometimes I wish I had the option of a quick comfort option that would keep her occupied and quiet. She’s recently started shrieking with joy while she bangs rattles on hard surfaces, which is hilarious in private and occasionally nerve-wracking in public.

On the whole, though, I’m glad she doesn’t take the pacifier. It’s one less thing for me to lose!
viv binky