Thursday, 19 April 2012

The Human Pacifier

"If you nurse them every time they cry", she said, "You just become a human dummy".

A dummy - as if I were...lifeless, still, inanimate, unresponsive, and easily and cheaply replaced.

Worse still, perhaps, an idiot, a stooge, a fool.

I know that Fools have a long history of being wiser than they seem...

Nevertheless I prefer to think of myself as...

A Human Pacifier.

pac·i·fi·er   [pas-uh-fahy-er] 
1. a person or thing that pacifies.
2. a rubber or plastic device, often shaped into a nipple, for a baby to suck or bite on.

OK. I'll take definition 1.

I am 'a person or thing that pacifies.'

pac·i·fy   [pas-uh-fahy]
verb (used with object), pac·i·fied, pac·i·fy·ing.
1. to bring or restore to a state of peace or tranquillity; quiet; calm: to pacify an angry man.
2. to appease: to pacify one's appetite.
3. to reduce to a state of submission, especially by military force; subdue.

Yes... I 'bring or restore a state of peace'. I can see that, most days, when the boob presses 'pause', and the screams or the fights or the tears subside, and the calm or the love or the contentedness return. Suddenly...peace. She rolls her eyes upwards to me, and a little crease of a smile appears at the corner, to show - this is quite funny now, although it wasn't then. It's amazing how quickly she is 'appeased' - bumps, losses, appetites - you name it, I can pacify it.

I don't use military force, but I can very easily reduce to a state of submission a person who thought they needed to wear pyjamas over their coat but who just wouldn't fit in their car seat that way. Who wanted the doll but lost it in the heat of battle. Who got scared of the man with the beard. Who woke up tired. Consider yourself soothed, comforted, appeased, subdued, pacified.

No, I'm no dummy, but I am a bringer of peace, and this takes some doing, most days. Some focus, some effort, and just a little bit of love. It's worth it though. She can't 'self soothe' - since she doesn't really know what 'self' means, and I think - without wishing to rant - that my arms, breath, smell, thoughts, words, body, feelings, presence, love - add up to more than could ever be bought in a box. 

So yes, I am a Human Pacifier. I'm happy to be the restorer of peace, tranquility, quiet, calm; a warm haven to bathe in at leisure and learn about comfort and love. As I hold her I feel her return to her centre; a human - just one - is pacified. Stillness. Contentment. A whisper of breath reaches my face, and I wonder, could this peace spread slowly outwards, like a sigh, like a trickle of milk?



  1. I love this! Thanks MamaMule - it's so well written! I was thinking about your While I Nurse You To Sleep post earlier too as I was lying on our bed waiting for my son to nurse to sleep (took ages...). Thank goodness for the support you provide. X

    1. Oh thank you Ellie what a lovely thing to say!
      My daughter took nearly 2 hours to nod off tonight (it's just a phase, it's just a phase)... She had been begging to go to bed from about 4pm but once she actually got there she just sprang back to life and, in between boob after boob after boob, sang incey wincey, repeated the phrase 'my scooter' over and over, and occasionally blew raspberries on my head, or bit me, depending on her preference. :)
      The things you do for love!

  2. This is lovely. Well-written and beautiful. :-)

  3. I'm a human pacifier, too! When my boys are melting down, or simply in need of some centering, we nurse. I call it hitting the reset button, and it often pacifies me as well as them :-)

    1. Yes, you are right, the peace definitely spreads straight away to the mummy! I wish I had included that idea now. Thanks for reminding me x

  4. Ah, I never understood why BFing mamas say "I am my baby's pacifier" or whether that was a good thing... Now I get it! This is really beautiful. My babe is 4mo and quite the fussy nurser and pretty much never comfort nurses, but sometimes at night we have a really peaceful breastfeeding session and then I love it. I can't wait until she gets a little older and does turn to the breast for comfort; everyone keeps telling me that she will... anyway, love the post!

  5. Enjoy those moments ..... Its was a lovely read and brought back so many memorys xxxx we nurse for such a short time in our lives (I know it does not feel like it at 3am !)