I often envy new moms these days for all the amazing products, services and resources that are available to them and specifically how easy it is to obtain these in our modern technical world.
Imagine, only 13 years ago when my first daughter was born, we were one of the first of our friends who got dial-up internet! But I’m now starting to realize that moms these days are at a bit of a disadvantage because of this modern technology and by how quickly information, advice and comments can be spread
around the world. A message that used to take years to get across, now takes hours! Results from scientific studies done on every topic from swaddling and breastfeeding to co-sleeping and sleep training are published on a regular basis and through the power of the world-wide-web, moms are bombarded with these studies and the horrific effects it has or doesn’t have on their babies:
“swaddle your baby, it helps them sleep better”
"don’t swaddle your baby, its leads to SIDS”
“co-sleep with your baby, it gives him security”
“don’t co-sleep with your baby, it will give him independence"
and my personal favorite “don’t sleep train your baby, he will lose trust in you, he will not love you, he will lose brain cells!”
It’s no wonder that moms these days are at a higher risk for postpartum depression than ever before. They are bombarded with
conflicting information on what to do to offer the best care for their baby and child. Not only are they getting this from family and friends but now from strangers on Facebook, Twitter, the media, books and even scientists.
Over the last 15 years, they have made so many changes as to what is “the best” way to put your baby to sleep, “the best time to start solids, “the best” time to introduce cows milk, “the best” time to move baby into his own crib and so forth. The changes have been made so often, that parents are lost with what is the right thing to do. Parents with children the same age will chat for 20 minutes about their babies and realize that they have been told to do things so differently. It seems that even the professionals are confused!
My message here is “STOP THE MADNESS!”
Stop listening to and making judgemental and hurtful comments!
Stop forcing your beliefs on people!
Stop letting people force their beliefs on you!
Stop trying to be the perfect parent in the public eye!
Be the best parent you can be in your baby’s eyes!
You know your baby best! You know your family best! You know you best!
I’m not saying parents shouldn’t research and educate themselves about their new baby, but it’s important they take everything they have read and learned with a grain of salt and develop a plan that works for their family! As long as you are parenting from your heart with love, compassion and understanding, you WILL be the best parent and that’s all that matters!
Please…Stop the madness!
As much as I hate soothers/pacifiers, I did use them for all 3 of
my children. Parents are often faced with the dilemma of “To soother or not to soother!” As a professional, this is a question that’s very hard for me to answer because it is such a personal decision. But what I can do is give you some information that may help you to decide whether a pacifier is right for you and your baby.
First off, it’s important to understand that babies are born with
a very strong, natural urge to suck. This is called the sucking reflex and some babies are born with a greater need to suck then others. Reflexes are involuntary movements or actions stimulated by the brain to help your baby survive. This sucking reflex is not only an instinctual survival reflex that assists with feeding but also helps babies to soothe and calm. Some parents can be confused with sucking as a message of hunger or a message of needing comfort. If you know that your baby is nutritionally satisfied but still seems
to have a strong urge to suck, a pacifier may be the solution.
Although babies are born with the Babkin Reflex, which instinctually allows him to bring his hand to his mouth, some babies are not as skilled as others to bring his hands close enough to suck on them. Also, to help minimize excessive wakes from the babies startle reflex, many babies are swaddled for the first few months with their hands kept close and tight to their body, which again doesn’t allow your baby to suck on his fingers. Nonetheless,
many professionals would prefer parents to offer their baby a pacifier as its use can be much more controlled by parents and it is much easier to wean off of then a finger would be. A pacifier can help your baby to calm, soothe and fall asleep more easily and independently
Unfortunately, there are some disadvantages of using pacifiers.
If breastfeeding, there can be some nipple confusion. Your baby will need to suck on a pacifier differently then he sucks on a breast. Therefore, if you use the pacifier too often, this could cause some confusion when baby returns back to feed on the breast. Not to mention, that if you are resorting to the pacifier too often, your baby may become very dependent on it and need it more often than you would like him to have it. Lastly, because your baby won’t be able to put the pacifier in his mouth on his own until about 6 months of age, you will be the one putting it into his mouth until then.
Regardless the use of a pacifier may not be unavoidable and may
help your baby learn to soothe and calm much easier and quicker. However, as one of my biggest philosophies…there’s always a better way!
Here are a few tips to help you use the pacifier with your baby
but still maintain some sanity!
If you are giving your baby a pacifier for the first
time, you may have to try a few times and sometimes hold it for him until he learns how to suck and hold on to it. You may also need to try a few different pacifiers to learn which one he likes the best.
When offering the pacifier, try to limit how long your baby has
the pacifier in his mouth. Once he is asleep, try and remove it from his mouth. If you can believe it, many parents will try to prop the pacifier to keep it in baby’s mouth, however this is not only dangerous but also creating a very bad habit that will be much harder to break. Your baby only needs the pacifier until he is calm, so try and remove it once he seems asleep.
If you have given your baby the pacifier 2-3 times and it continues to fall out very quickly, then it is not doing what it should be doing so refrain from continuing to use it, at least for that particular time. I usually give families a 2 x2 rule. If baby drops his pacifier 2 times within 2 minutes, then his fussing is likely in response to something else. You may need to ensure that there is not another issue like hunger, wet diaper or gas. Make sure that you have looked into these issues before attempting to offer the pacifier again.
Once your baby is about 4 months, you can start using the “guided
approach” with your baby. When offering him the pacifier, use his hands to get the pacifier and put it into his mouth. This will teach him that he can actually do this on his own and although it will take a couple months, he will eventually learn that he can get the pacifier himself.
For older babies who can put the pacifier in their mouth on their
own, use short pacifier clips to clip a few pacifiers to his bed sheet in the same area every night. This will help him find the pacifiers in the dark when he wants it without having to call out for help to find the lost pacifier.
So, all in all, use of a pacifier may be necessary to help your
baby self soothe however, try to eliminate the pacifier completely by 12 months age. By 6 months, many parents will make sure that the pacifier is only used for sleep times and then around the 10-12 month mark start to wean from it completely.
For a variety of pacifiers and clips delivered right to your door, visit wells.ca
This is a great place to ask your questions. Anything from prenatal to preschool. From feeding to sleeping...ask away!