Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Human Pacifier

A post I wrote up for last week, but didn't publish.

Margaret is still young enough to pass as a baby, so I haven't heard many intrusive comments. However, a year ago someone tried to tell me that I would end up as a human pacifier.

Um... Ok... How is that bad? Why is comforting my child something that is distasteful? Isn't that part of the whole "mom" thing?

Then I thought about pacifying. If I were to write a talk for church on Sunday, I wouldn't say this because it's cliche, but I'll say it here: Merriam Webster defines "pacify" as, "to allay the anger or agitation of" and "to restore to a tranquil state." I really can't see the wrong in that.

So I'm going to continue being the human pacifier that I am and keep pacifying the human in my care. Plus there's so many extra benefits: I don't get lost, or fall on the floor, or need sanitizing, etc., like the plastic kind.

"Emotional needs are still needs." I heard someone at LLL say this. It completely changed the way I thought of parenting. Yes, Margaret occasionally nurses for comfort. She needs comfort- she's only been on Earth for a short time. The world is big and scary and she needs a home base that isn't- and I'm that home base until she moves out and creates her own.

Need quick responses to comments?
Kellymom.com has examples of nice, diplomatic ways to handle questions
Here are some responses- some with slightly more lip
Here are more responses if you're feeling particularly snarky (not that I'm promoting the snark)

And, of course, Hathor's take on this:


  1. Great post! It definitely gives me food for thought with my next kiddo...if I can get past the biting stage...

  2. "Human Pacifier" is such a misnomer. It implies that the pacifier came first, and the breast is a new substitute for it. But of course we know that the breast came first, and then 6,000+ years later, a synthetic breast, a plastic device, was introduced to replace it.

  3. I love nursing. I hope to go to age 2 with this next baby, provided I don't get pregnant and lose my milk again. However, I do think it is CRUCIAL to point out, especially for those who are unaware of the difference between causation and correlation, that just because studies show that toddlers who were nursed were smarter, more socially well-adjusted, etc...doesn't mean that nursing is the exclusive CAUSE. There can be hundreds of factors involved in how a child turns out, and making women feel like their child will be dumb or misbehave because they don't breastfeed past 6 months is unethical. I think the correlation has just as much to do with the love, affection, and attention nursing toddlers get as the actual act of breastfeeding. And mothers who nurse longer are more likely to be from a higher SES, more educated, and probably have better parenting skills.

    I'm all for ignoring people that think you shouldn't breastfeed as long as you want, or even putting them in their place if they're annoying, but it's important to not go to far toward "nursing will make your child perfect" and other statements. Not saying you do that. But it might be worth noting that there are other ways to be a good mother if one can't nurse.

  4. Can I just say that this post rocks!? Especailly the fact that you say breastfeeding moms don't need sanitizing when we fall on the ground. So true...


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