Tot Sauce: The Bad Side of Binks

by Amy Nance

I thought I had heard it all about pacifier use. "It'll cause problems with breastfeeding." "It has negative orthodontic consequences." "It'll stunt your baby emotionally." Wait. What?

Just read this article about pacifier use and the purported harm to emotional development, especially in boys. I guess the theory is that if a baby has a bink (that's what I call it) in his mouth, then he can't mimic the facial expressions linked to certain emotions.

The study even discovered that college-age men who were heavy pacifier users as children scored lower on tests measuring empathy. Good news, Ladies! It's not your fault. You can blame his parents.

Seriously, though. How much cred do you think this study holds? And what about specifics? How do you define "heavy pacifier use"? An hour a day? 5 hours a day? All day/night? And what's the cut-off age? "Up to the age of 1 is OK, but anything beyond 12 months will certainly scar your child for life!"

All that being said, my son is 11 months old and we are currently trying to kick the bink habit. Not because of this article, but because it has obviously become an addiction. I noticed that if he can see one out of reach, he cries a sort of manic and desperate little cry until I retrieve it for him. Bedtime has been rough the past couple of nights without it. But we'll get through it.

So if your kid used a pacifier, when did he/she finally give it up? And how did you kick the habit, gradually or cold turkey?

Photo by Flickr member edenpictures, used under a Creative Commons License.