Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Soothie, Thumb Sucking And Pacifiers, Oh My!

What's your take on pacifiers or soothers?

There is conflicting emotions and information surrounding a parent's use of these little baby items. Do they ruin the shape of a baby's mouth and mean you will have a HUGE orthodontics bill in the future? Do they make a child stay "baby-like" longer and hinder his/her development socially? Are they portals for germs? Do they inhibit breast feeding because they confuse baby? I'm sure you've heard many more...

Most babies learn to suck their thumbs in the womb. Some, like my little Lila and Wyatt, do not. And that is very frustrating. Why? I had a heck of a time getting them to latch onto both bottles and breast. Lila, of course, had an easier time of it compared to Wyatt, but it still was very hard training her to eat. As I've mentioned before, we had to finger feed her in the NICU for about a week. That is were a thin sterile tube attached to a sterile beaker filled with milk is slipped into the mouth of an infant as they suck on a shielded finger. Some use a full surgical glove and some wear only one finger cut from a non latex glove. Lila and Wyatt looked a little strange doing this; they were such big babies in the NICU next to all the preemies! Lila took off like a house on fire after she got the hang of eating with her mouth. As you know, Wyatt found it rough.

I had to coax Wyatt to suck on a soother. Dr. S and Dr. B needed to see that before giving the green light to feed by mouth. It could be very dangerous if he didn't know what to do with the fluid in his mouth. If it went into his lungs it could drown him, start an infection, etc. . The doctors didn't want me to get my hopes up. Wyatt's brain scan was very bad. He may not have the cognitive ability for that basic motor skill. He may just lay, sleep and eat through a nasal feeding tube for the rest of his life. But I really wanted to try.

The soothers the NICU uses are a medical grade silicone called a soothie. These soothers are tough and could be sterilized over and over again without breakdown. They only had the little tiny purple ones for the preemies; they don't usually get big babies in the NICU. Wyatt has a high palette, and these tiny soothers didn't really work for him. I didn't want to use a regular latex soother or the commercial silicone ones. They cannot be continuously sterilized and after the staph infection scare with Wyatt, NOTHING but medical grade silicone was going into my baby's mouth! I ordered a couple off eBay like the ones in the picture. They are AWESOME.

Now, at almost 13 months, Wyatt's molars are pushing up and he is miserable. At night he will wake up and only breast feeding will get him back to sleep. He doesn't have a soother because I'm afraid he will chomp a piece off and choke. He's got all his other teeth and they are razor sharp. He's bit the top off several bottle nipples already. I've tried teething blankets, soft and quiet teething toys but they don't work for nighttime. Nothing but Momma will do.

So, back to the soother question. I just found out soothie makes a tough teething soother for toddlers called a Super Soothie and I am tempted. The idea of getting a full night's sleep makes me want to run out and buy a box of them.

1 comment:

Martha said...

Continue to write your blog. (I just found it, and read it entirely.) You ARE right about others needing this information. Many years ago, a very wise woman told me that God needed Christian witnesses in all situations. I couldn't understand that at the time. But through the years I see the wisdom of her words.
Now to pacifiers: Give the newborn a pacifier. Studies are now indicating a corrolation between lower sudden infant death rates and use of pacifiers before six months of age. AND keep a fan circulating air in the baby's room. That prevents air depleted of oxygen from pooling around the baby.