Everyone weighed in on this topic and the consensus was that we should be concerned. He might not want to breastfeed! He may become too dependent on the pippy! Ho hum. My husband and I would lock eyes and not say anything. What was the point? Everyone was convinced they were right. It drove us a little meshuga at first, and then we just let it roll off our backs. We didn’t want to get dragged into a major debate with our family and friends.
Sometimes I wanted to scream, “If your way is so divinely inspired then why is your child an F student and a bully?” Feh! If I am looking for an opinion then I am going to refer to my friends who have clearly done something right with their offspring. Let me repeat, WHEN I AM LOOKING. Of course, that means nothing because everyone offers up their opinion anyway.
When Aiven was 3 weeks old, his uncle came to visit. He brought an anatomically correct bottle as a gift. It claims to have a nipple most like mom’s. He warned us of nipple confusion the moment he saw that we gave Aiven a pippy. My brother-in-law is also a new father (he has 11 months on us) and a physician. He is also older than my husband and understandably wants to share his wisdom and advice. My husband, usually pretty quiet when someone would bring this up, boldly and with finality stated, “We don’t believe in nipple confusion.” And that ended the discussion.
The truth is, some babies might get confused. Some might not. Every baby is unique. Expectant mom and new moms ask me questions everywhere I go. I must look like I know what I am doing. I think they are often looking for some clarity amongst all the unsolicited (and solicited) advice they get. I tell them what I do with Aiven while also telling them the other options we considered and why we decided they didn’t work for us. And I always, ALWAYS, encourage them to make the decision that is best for their baby and for their family. What works for one baby might not work for another, so experimentation is the name of the game until you find out what works for you (I can hear the research papers being thrown at me from some of you claiming I am wrong, wrong, wrong).
So, in my world, nipple confusion doesn’t exist. If it exists in your world, that sucks. Pun intended.
This post originally appeared on Kveller.com. Kveller.com offers a Jewish twist on parenting, everything a Jewish family could need for raising Jewish children--including crafts, recipes, activities, Hebrew and Jewish names for babies...and advice from Mayim Bialik.