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In this groundbreaking book, White identifies the five stages of a child's social development, pinpointing how parental attitudes and behavior affect children's personalities and their interactions with others from birth through adulthood. Graphs throughout.
COMFORTING A VERY YOUNG BABY
Using a Pacifier
While some parents simply want nothing to do with pacifiers, generally those who use them have a much easier time with their baby, especially during the first six months, then those who do not. This is not to say that you will necessarily have more trouble comforting your baby if you do not use a pacifier.
Some parents try pacifiers and then announce that their baby doesn't like them. I suspect that in the majority of such cases, either the parents have ambivalent feeling about using a pacifier or they didn't know how to introduce it to their baby. Occasionally, they may be using the wrong type of pacifier. Many people expect a newborn to be able to retain a pacifier and to suck on it for several minutes at a time. In fact, during the first weeks of infancy, very few babies are able to retain a pacifier for longer than a few seconds. Their tongues seem to get in the way and pop the pacifier out. This can lead to trouble, because often new parents feel they have to at least run hot water over the pacifier before they use it again. With a screaming baby in your arms, the situation easily becomes nerve-wracking. There is a knack to retaining a pacifier, and unfortunately it is not an inherited knack. You have to be patient as the baby acquires the ability to hang on to a pacifier. Within a month or so, most babies learn to retain one for minutes at a time. One requirement for success is to determine, by trial and error, the type of pacifier your baby prefers. Fortunately, pacifiers are cheap. Also, be sure to introduce the device without delay. The most common mistake new parents make is waiting too long before trying to get their baby to use a pacifier. Once the baby gets into a rage (which can happen quickly), she probably won't even notice that a pacifier is in her mouth. You should offer the device when the baby is uncomfortable but before she is out of control. What do you do if she gets out of control? Use the elevator move.
The Elevator Move
This technique was developed by my wife, Janet Hodgson-White, some three years ago during our New Parents as Teachers work. Here is how to use it. Hold the baby, facing you, firmly against your upper body. Then try to duplicate the effect you experience when you are in an elevator and it stops abruptly (but not too abruptly). To do this, while you are holding the baby firmly against your upper body, lower yourself quickly a few inches by bending your knees. Repeat the motion many times, hesitating momentarily between knee bends.
Usually after five to ten knee bends, the baby will become less agitated and will notice the pacifier touching her lips. Ordinarily, she will clamp onto it and start to suck vigorously. Unfortunately, that may not happen the first time she quiets. Keep at it.
Copyright © 1994 by Burton L. White Associates, Inc.