Before my child was born, I was deadset against pacifiers. At the daycares, babies would drop them, spit them out, lose them, throw them, and even steal them from each other. Worst of all, some would still cry with the pacifiers in their mouths. I used to think, What is the point of these things? The babies just want their mommas.
So I told myself and others I didn't want my baby having one. Besides, I was planning on breastfeeding and didn't want there to be nipple confusion or any replacement when she might need to eat. I decided I would be the one to pacify her whenever needed. This worked really well for nearly two months. But then... as she grew out of the newborn age, she stopped sleeping all the time. This included not sleeping in the car. And we found out she didn't particularly like the car. And boy, did she scream.
My husband and I used to take turns reaching back and letting her suck on our pinky finger. We said, though I don't know why we thought it made sense, "It's better than a pacifier!"
Well, after a few days of sore shoulders and one-hand driving, I realized maybe I was being silly. I had three choices. 1) I could let her scream and stick to my guns about not using a pacifier. This would mean risking my attention as a driver and somehow keeping myself from becoming upset, or 2) I could continue to reach back, still putting us all at risk in that awkward position, or 3) I could give her the pacifier and be done with it.
So we did. I have to admit, it was great. It also called for an ounce of humility as some people gloated over us "caving in." But I learned that I couldn't always be there to scoop her up and nurse her, as I had thought before she was born. I learned that sometimes you need to be flexible. For me, it's was not worth the bragging rights of, "We never use a pacifier for our child" when that child was screaming bloody murder in the back seat. She's not happy, I'm not happy, so what's the point?
Since then, the pacifier use has grown a bit more. (I'll go into that more in a few posts about sleep/naptime.) Sometimes I worry about her getting too attached to it or weaning her from it, but I will cross that bridge when I come to it. At this age, my baby doesn't always need pacifier in the car. She'll talk to herself, play with it, wave it around, etc. It gives me a little hope that she's only using it when she needs it. It hasn't become associated with being in the car. For now, it's helping us maintain peace and happiness...and at this time in our lives, why wouldn't we want that?