My Daughter and Suri Cruise Would be Fast Friends

I couldn’t help but be drawn to the conversation and buzz this week over adorable Suri Cruise and the photo of her strolling along with pacifier in mouth. I have to be honest and say my first thought was not, oh my god, why is she still using a pacifier? Everyone seems compelled to weigh in on this.

My first thought was, wow, she is a beautiful and stylish little girl. My second thought was, I wonder if she has a pacifier to match every outfit. Then, my third thought? Her and my daughter would be fast friends.

The thing is, I can completely relate. I have my very own little pacifier addict over here. I cannot imagine having the paparazzi clicking away while I try to maneuver my car out of our driveway with Little Sister happily sucking on her paci in the back seat.

I can just see the headline now: Shocker! Dr.Mom’s three year old daughter still uses a pacifier! I can only imagine what kind of scrutiny I’d be under. But hey, I’m throwing it out there for you now, no need to send the paparazzi.

I’ve talked about this before, I’m well aware of the pros and cons of pacifier use. I discuss this with parents all the time. It is well known that the sooner you wean your child from the pacifier, the easier it will be. My son was fine giving it up quite early. My daughter? She’s into security objects such as her pacifier, blanket, and stuffed animals.

I know that soon, I’ll be calling on the pacifier fairy to visit in the night, whisking away my daughter’s beloved pacifiers. In return, my daughter will certainly be gifted with a surprise to hopefully match the heartbreak of giving up a lovey and being a big girl and moving on. Soon…someday soon.

I don’t consider myself a renegade pediatrician who feels the rules don’t apply to her. Really, I don’t. Recommendations for pacifier use are just that, recommendations, and they are sound ones at that. I consider the whole child when deciding what is right for my own. I know them intimately. I know their personalities and what makes them tick.

I  know that my daughter does not have any speech issues, is not prone to ear infections, and has yet to lose those baby teeth and start sprouting the permanent ones. I know we have time. She does not walk around all day with it in her mouth. It is simply one of her soothers.

So, I am not rushing it.

I am finally strong and confident in my mommy skin. Sure, I struggle with these parenting decisions on a daily basis. I weigh the pros and cons over and over in my head. However, at the end of the day, I ask myself this: is my daughter’s pacifier use interfering with her life or causing harm in any way?

Today, the answer is no.

Parenting is a process and each child comes with their own set of timelines that don’t always align with expert opinion. As opposed to safety issues, parenting decisions such as these are not always black and white. I like to give parents more credit than just assuming they are afraid to take it away.

I’m not afraid to take my daughter’s paci away, I just don’t feel the urgency to do so right now. I know I’m going to blink and her paci days will be all but a fond memory of her childhood.

Who knows, perhaps Tom and Katie feel the same way. Besides, as I said, parenting is a process and cannot be defined by one snapshot in time.

26 Responses to My Daughter and Suri Cruise Would be Fast Friends
  1. MultipleMum
    March 10, 2011 | 3:43 pm

    We just convinced our four year old to give up his dummy at Christmas. He was an 'in bed only' addict, but an addict nonetheless. It went smoothly and he hasn't looked back. To each their own. But, as a speech pathologist, I do have to draw the line at kids attempting to talk with them in. Remove the dum for speech!

  2. Erica
    March 10, 2011 | 3:45 pm

    This is a great post. My daughter is 18 months and still likes her bottle. I don't let her sleep with it and I don't think it's damaging her at this point so I'm just seeing how it goes.

  3. Terri
    March 10, 2011 | 3:52 pm

    This makes me a little sad that I immediately took action when our pediatrician said "We have to get rid of the binky." Of course, we thought it may have been one of the sources of sleep issues (too long to explain here), so we were trying everything. I feel like some innocence was lost as we took away that security item (at the age of 2). Like you said, every child is different. Who knows, maybe we cause issues of insecurity by rushing into the removal of the paci, lovey, etc. People shouldn't get crazy over this one, there are far worse things than a paci at 3. :)

  4. Kristin
    March 10, 2011 | 4:38 pm

    Maybe it won't be as bad as you think? A few friends with 3 year old Paci users gave them up and it was no biggie. I hope that's the case for you!

  5. Practical Parenting
    March 10, 2011 | 4:42 pm

    I love this! My 2 1/2 year old boy is into all things security, and I get the stares every time he pops in the paci in public. Same as your little one, he speaks well and has never had an ear infection. Parenting is a process, and so is growing up. It all takes time. Thanks for posting this!

  6. TheBabyMammaChronicles
    March 10, 2011 | 4:56 pm

    Touchy subject as most motherhood issues are isn't it? Funny what things are such a hot topic. I wish a lot of the people who worry too much about them would go take a real look at the world and start worrying more about things like the war or even the rising gas prices. Good for you for being happy in your fabulous mommy skin :)

  7. flyrish
    March 10, 2011 | 5:43 pm

    This post had me breathing a sigh of relief. Q is 26 months and still has a bottle when he wakes up and a bottle before bed. He loves that thing. And I've been a wimp about not throwing it out. It will happen. Eventually.

  8. AnnaNova
    March 10, 2011 | 7:57 pm

    have a pacifier addict here, too. at 2 yo. it doesnt bother me, but i hate when people make comments.
    i think some babies just have stronger "suckling" needs than others. it seemed like my soon always wanted sth in his mouth when he was little, and would get mad if it were a boob and he wasnt hungry :-)))
    he top teeth look like they started decaying a bit :-(((( and i wonder if Mr. Binkies is to blame here.
    a friend of mine is going to have a baby soon, so we are hoping to "give away all the binkies to the baby" coz you know, he'll need them more :-)))

  9. Cheryl D.
    March 10, 2011 | 11:15 pm

    I know this is a little off-topic, but I had no idea Suri uses a pacifier. I think that's so cool, because she always seems too "grown-up" for my liking. I mean, she wore heels during her early days at preschool! I just feel she's dressed too stylishly and too old for her years. Thank goodness she still acts like a young girl in some ways!

  10. adriel, from the mommyhood memos
    March 11, 2011 | 6:18 am

    i LOVE that you wrote this!!! honestly? when i first saw the photos of suri on the news, i was in the "are you kidding me" camp, wondering how a 4-year-old still needs a paci and why a parent wouldn't help her get over it. BUT, you have totally helped me to see the other side! :) though it doesn't really change my *opinion* (in terms of choices i would personally make) it makes me remember that everyone has different reasons for the choices they make… and the paci is no exception! you are absolutely right that it's not just a matter of principle, but far more important is considering the INDIVIDUAL needs and personality of the child. (and THAT i am all for!) love it melissa. thank you!!! :)

  11. adriel, from the mommyhood memos
    March 11, 2011 | 6:21 am

    p.s. i must admit, however, that for me there's a huge difference between a 3 and 4 year old. fair or not… in my mind one is a toddler, the other is a preschooler. just saying i'd be way more hesitant to scoff at a 3-yr-old with a paci than i would a 4-yr-old… to me, a preschooler with a paci IS really pushing it!! 😉

  12. Melissa (Confessions of a Dr. Mom)
    March 11, 2011 | 9:04 am

    @Adriel: Thanks for your honesty. I do have to admit that at age 4, almost 5, it is pushing the boundaries. But again, I look at her potential circumstances; constantly traveling and needing security items. I get it. She is a child. I wonder if it was a thumb in her mouth, if there would be such an uproar.

    I have a feeling her paci days will soon be over and in the grand scheme of things inconsequential.

    I do think it's important for parents to help a child kick a particular habit when it's time. We are fast approaching that stage over here and I'm sure I'll blog about it :)

  13. Paula @ Simply Sandwich
    March 11, 2011 | 11:05 am

    Great post! I don't know how it happened but both of my kiddos kicked the paci to the curb within the first few months so I was lucky because I didn't have to "do" anything. I think it is really important to remember that each little person will mature at their own pace and we should probably chillax and let nature take its course.

  14. Lauralee Moss
    March 11, 2011 | 12:57 pm

    The subject is interesting, all the way around, but I am most intrigued with society's interest in celebrities and the way we look to them to parenting/breastfeeding/life advice. These people act for a living. I would not take cues from them anymore than I would from the lady down the street. I guess I trust my intuition, experience, husband and pediatrician more than I do people at the mall or at the park.

  15. JDaniel4's Mom
    March 11, 2011 | 1:10 pm

    If JDaniel's pacis hadn't stop working due to his teeth cutting holes in them, he would still have his.

  16. Sherri
    March 11, 2011 | 1:30 pm

    I love that you are comfortable in your mommy skin, even when you also have the doctor skin underneath! I think you are so spot on, that most of these things are recommendations not ultimatums. My daughter had no interest in them at all, while my son loved his.

    And you know what? They both turned out just fine.

  17. The Planet Pink
    March 11, 2011 | 6:06 pm

    In the grand scheme of things, no big deal. We are going to spend our entire lives trying to break our kids of certain habits. Some are going to be more "out there in the open" where everyone can see, others won't be. Regardless, not one of us is going to graduate this "parenting gig" with a perfect record. Time to start cutting each other slack. :-)

  18. Yuliya
    March 12, 2011 | 8:54 am

    Since the latest bout of teething and all night nursing session that went with it, Aliza has been nursing WAY more at night. And I use the term nursing loosely here since I can tell it's almost entirely for comfort. This morning I was just saying that I want to give her a pacifier for night time…now since she's never had one, she probably wouldn't take it but would I be introducing a new problem to solve instead of dealing with the existing problem?

    PS I wonder if she has one to match every outfit too!

  19. Stefanie
    March 12, 2011 | 10:00 am

    As always, VERY WELL SAID!! :) I know we sometimes forget this, but there really is no "everything you absolutely must know to be the perfect parent of any and every child" manual. It's a learn as you go (..and remember to enjoy the ride) kind-of thing… Thanks for the reminder!

  20. Laura@OutnumberedMom
    March 12, 2011 | 2:17 pm

    Once again, wise, wise advice, Dr. Mom!

  21. Liz
    March 12, 2011 | 2:44 pm

    Maybe since her paci doesn't seem to match up with the heels she often dons? :) the child is a fashion plate, complete with heels!

  22. Making It Work Mom
    March 13, 2011 | 7:41 am

    We are totally a paci family. My son only had his until he was about 1.5 and then easily on his own gave it up. He also has never had a security item (he is just cool like that). My girls on the other hand were totally different. They both gave them up on their 3rd bithdays with a visit from the Paci fairy with a special gift. They are both huge security items girls. I hate when parents take the paci away at age 1. Why or why would you do that when the child can't possibly understand the reasons (I don't even understand the reason). I firmly believe that if the child has made it past about 10 months with the paci then you have to wait to get rid of it until you and your child can have a rational conversation about it and they have some understanding that they will be giving it up. It seems like such a trust issue if you would just pluck the paci out of their mouths one day at 12 months and say that is that.
    Anyway that is my rant for the day. I am happy that you are confident and secure enough to do what is right for your child!

  23. Cheryl
    March 13, 2011 | 10:01 am

    I have to say, I'm very grateful all my kids refused the pacifier. And I believe it's one of those parenting things where if it doesn't apply to you, then MYOB. Because if I'm being honest I never quite get it when I see three year-olds at the park with pacifiers. And I have to step back and realize I don't know the whole picture.

    Thanks fo rsharing your story!

  24. Jessica
    March 13, 2011 | 10:28 am

    I think this is a great post, especially coming from you, as a doctor. We always get so caught up in what we should be doing and what others think of our parenting choices. Thanks for the reminder that we all just need to do what is best for our children and our families. Good luck with removing the pacifier when you are ready, I think my oldest would have used hers in grade school if I had let her.

  25. Lady Jennie
    March 15, 2011 | 1:03 pm

    My first and third are pacifier addicts and my second was never that interested. For DD, we had a tétine cutting ceremony (that's pacifier) when she was 3 so she was able to start school without. But my youngest will have started school when he's still 2 (born in Nov) so I'm going to let him start school with it. They said it was ok. Now I just have to potty train him.

  26. Rachel
    May 9, 2011 | 2:49 pm

    My little brother and I are 16 years apart. So one day, when I came home from college, I had the honor of getting rid of the pacifier.

    Fortunately, I could do no wrong, and he never asked for the pacifier again.

    I wish everything were that easy….