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Carol Perkins: Cures for sleepless nights part 2, the pacifier

Previous Column: Cures for sleepless nights

By Carol Perkins

A baby who sleeps through the night is rare. That is why parents readily accept suggestions from those who have been in their shoes and read how-to-books on the topic.

One device that helps babies relax is the pacifier. We know they automatically stick things in their mouth, whether their hand, a toy, a cracker on the floor, or their thumb. Some parents (in my day) feared it might cause buck teeth or create other oral issues.

Back in the 60s and 70s, this fear had merit because the pacifier was rubber (made of things we wouldn't want a baby to gnaw on today) with a plastic shield and plastic ring. If a child fell on it, he could mash his mouth or lose a tooth. Since then, the pacifier has gone through many changes.

The first year or two of a baby's life are the pacifier years.

Even when the child throws it over the back of a church pew, down a set of bleachers at a ballgame, out the car window, or outside in the dirt, Mama or Daddy dives for it. The five-minute rule applied to pacifiers until parents discovered germs. We wiped it off and popped it back in the mouth! (Have you seen adults put it in his/their mouth first to clean it?)

Although in a different form, the idea of a pacifier is far from new. One old-time method was to make a little ball at the end of a rag, tie it, and dip it in sugar water.

Speaking of dipping, a parent might even dip a pacifier in a bit of whiskey. Pediatricians would likely frown on that as well as giving babies Benadryl for Children.

Desperate for sleep themselves, some parents will search Google for help.

When a child decides to throw away his pacifier, he may be rewarded for being a "big boy" or "big girl." If parents decide it is time, they may face a battle of wills. As long as they don't try to take away the "blanket," the toddler will survive being traumatized.

In case you might need this information for a quiz show, Christian Meinecke created the pacifier in 1901. Wonder which shark on Shark Tank would have invested in this innovation?

Carol's most recent book, based on a true story, The Case of the Missing Ring, is available through Amazon, both paperback and ebook. You can contact her at

This story was posted on 2021-03-12 03:16:07
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