Innovation: A stuffed animal with a built-in pacifier?

Got this from a public relations firm:

“Pacimals are pacifiers that attach to a plush stuffed toy. Created by an MD and a mom, the patented attachment on the Pacimal gives your baby’s favorite stuffed animal a special role in his or her soothing experience. It helps boost baby’s motor skills at a much younger age by encouraging hand and arm use to reposition. It’s also easier to hold onto, unlike typical pacifiers. MSRP is $19.99. Learn more at pacimals.com.”

Ah, well, this is an example of bad targeting since I’m unabashedly anti-pacifier and while I admit it might help very young children calm down, I find it frankly Orwellian disturbing to see older youngsters with pacifiers in their mouths.


You know what I’m talking about if you go to places with lots of families. The five year old boy who has learned to talk around his pacifier in a manner that foreshadows his later habit of talking with a cigarette or cigar in his mouth, the six year old girl who sits sullenly in her stroller (!!) as Mom pushes her around, totally uninterested in hearing anything her daughter might say.
Pacifier + Animal = Pacimal. Yech.Indeed, that’s what bugs me about pacifiers in the first place: I see them as a socially acceptable version of duct tape across their mouths. I want to hear what my kids have to say, even when they’re upset or uncomfortable, I don’t want to shove something in their mouth to get them to shut the heck up.
Yeah, yeah, I realize that some of you will bristle at this and tell me that I’m judgmental and that pacifiers are the best thing next to breastfeeding (or even better, perhaps, since rather to my surprise there are people who are anti-breastfeeding). Okay, yeah, it is my judgment.
Anyway, so I’m not a fan of pacifiers, needless to say, and so when I find out that there are going to be cute stuffies, stuffed animals with built-in pacifiers, I just can’t get any enthusiasm going and rather feel somewhat revolted by the idea. It might work for some parents, but with my three kids, a combined ten years of toddlerhood, their combined pacifier usage time is under 30 minutes. Total. Combined. If that.
I guess if you do like pacifiers, or know of parents who use ’em, then I will admit that the Pacimals are kinda cute, in a zombie-sucking-the-brains-out-of-the-skull sort of way. 🙂
Damn, I swore to myself I wouldn’t make the zombie comment. Darn you, John Carpenter, you’ve ruined my imagination! Ruined it, I say!

27 comments on “Innovation: A stuffed animal with a built-in pacifier?

  1. I guess you never had a child as oral as my boys. And they were both exclusively breastfed for pretty much the first year – my oldest didn’t really take to solids until he was closer to 14 months – and not weaned until after their 3rd birthday. We co-slept until after that. But if we hadn’t used a pacifier, I would litereally have gotten nothing else done, including getting some decent sleep. Also, they would put other, chokable things in their mouths if we tried to get them away from the pacifier. The Nuk fairy did come after their 4th birthdays, but it was a challenge. My daughter never used one, but weaning her at almost 4 was a little harder.
    That said, why a stuffed animal? For one thing, what if it becomes their favorite and gets lost? You then lost the pacifier AND the amimal. YIKES! And who (that used them) has only 1 pacifier? You need seveal for when you can’t find one or gets dirty, and at 20 dollars each, that would be insane!

  2. Katie, I think that’s the idea behind the marketing- no one is going to buy just one. Someone might start with one, but will end up getting more- one for the car, one for grandma’s, one for laundry day. And imagine how hard weaning from the pacifier will be- bye-bye pacifier, bye-bye favorite stuffed animal, all at once. If this idea takes off, some CEO is going to earn a nice second or third home in a beautiful locale.

  3. Ah, yes, the all-or-nothing style of argument which basically depends on taking the most extreme or severe *possible* consequences of doing something a particular way and then talking as though that’s the norm you could expect pretty much any time anyone does things that way. I believe it’s called “the fallacy of the excluded middle”.
    Believe it or not, most people who give dummies (I’m in the UK) to babies aren’t going to leave their child running around sucking them until the age of five or six. And guess what? I don’t give my son a dummy because I want to shut him up when he wants to say something – I give him a dummy because he sometimes wants something to suck on. Why shouldn’t he be allowed that, within sensible limits?
    So, yes, you are being judgemental. Not because dummies are the best thing since breastfeeding, but because they’re a useful and reasonable way of letting some children meet their sucking needs.

    • I agree. My 3 month old is beginning to teeth and wants to suck on things. I would much rather him have access to his paci. I kinda like the idea of stuffed animals attached to the paci. My son can stick stuffed animals to his mouth, therefore with a pacifier attached to one he could easily get the paci with out help.. I also agree with those who over extend the use of pacifiers. If your baby is beginning to talk a pacifier is a bad idea. Also a pacifier at bedtime helps prevent SIDS.

      • “A pacifier at bedtime helps prevent SIDS”? Do you have a citation or reference for this one, vg? I’m skeptical.

        • I can try and find the link but basically what it said was that babies who fall asleep with a pacifier don’t go into a deep sleep and will be able to wake themselves when their breathing changes

  4. Hi All!
    I am the founder of Pacimals, and I appreciate the objective opinions you’ve expressed here. I wanted to address two of your concerns: 1. the pacifier and toy getting lost – that is actually exactly what doesn’t happen, it’s large enough that it doesn’t get stuffed under the couch or dropped under the car seat and lost. The pacifier snaps off and on for easy cleaning…and…replaceability, so if one does get lost they can easily be replaced. 2. the stuffed animal does many useful thing, such as position the pacifier, but as well, when it comes time for weaning – and frankly I’m with you all with the 4 year old shopping in the mall with the pacifier – you can permanently remove the patented joint without altering the toy and they still have their favorite little buddy for soothing even after pacifier time is over. Thanks for the comments, an happy holidays.

  5. For my son, a pacifier has saved the day on more than one occasion! I was one of those parents that said, “My son will never have a pacifier”…but I have since learned that you should NEVER say never. You just never know what your child will be like. My son has a strong sucking reflex and it’s amazing how a pacifier can calm him down when he’s upset. While I wouldn’t have my son carrying around a pacimal at age 5, I think if he likes it at a year old, then why not!

  6. When my children were babies, I was always racking my brain trying to figure out ways to invent a pacifier that would stay in my baby’s mouth. I can remember before my kids could actually pick up a pacifier and stick in their own mouth, they would cry every ten minutes when it would pop out. Every product that I invented in my mind ultimately was unsafe and ridiculous. I have to admit that the invention of a pacifier attached to a stuffed animal is something that I never thought of and although it is odd, it might work for a little bitty who does not have control of their hands yet. They can pick up big things and control them but can’t operate their little fingers and grip.

  7. I had a few more thoughts…My own children both used pacifiers in their beds at night/nap time because it soothed them and satisfied their need to suck. But I will say… I am now right in the middle of trying to get my almost 4 year old to give up his passy in his bed. Although it is not a social nuisance becuase no one sees him in his bed, we just feel like it is time for teeth reasons etc.. If anyone has any tips or tricks on how to get rid of a pacifier, they should make an instructional video on the subject and post it up for sale at http://www.MindBites.com. You might be able to earn some money for your charity of choice or yourself in the process. I would pay at this point any amount of money to buy a video on the subject as I am knee deep in trying to the crack the code.

  8. Pacifiers make me sick. Stupid invention for lazy parents! Your kid is crying for a reason, but your boob in his mouth.
    I hate this product. Thanks for the blog.

    • Anon, you are an idiot. If you constantly have the baby on youre breast, they will over eat and become obese. A pacifier is simply a way for them to curb their need to suck and not over eat while doing so. Over eating also contributes to colic and reflux, making the baby more fussy. Don’t judge until you know what you are talking about.

  9. I’ve been pretty neutral about pacifiers. I never thought I’d use them, but I know some parents who swear by them. My first daughter never took a pacifier, and I was happy about not having to deal with that dependency.
    However, my second daughter, now one month old, has horrible reflux and sucking on the pacifier after she eats is something that helps keep the acid down (she’s also on meds). Using my breasts for comfort suckling only leads to over-eating, which makes the reflux worse. I’d rather have to wean her off a pacifier later than listen to her scream in pain all day and night.
    Of course, everyone has their own opinions. Just don’t be too quick to judge all circumstances at first glance…

  10. My first daughter loved a nuk and my second would only take the real deal. I’m not a fan of parents who thrust a pacifier in their baby’s mouth at the onset of tears or that let their children grow to the point of speaking while still chewing on their beloved binkie, but I think it’s rash and offensive to say that pacifiers are wrong and any parent that uses them is neglectful.
    Everyone is different and every situation is different. My nephew was horribly collicky and he had the most loving, doting and exhausted parents one could imagine. Was it wrong for them to use a pacifier now and then?
    How about homosexual male parents who cannot simply toss a breast in their baby’s mouth?
    The mom who just had a double masectomy?
    I completely agree with Essie that you shouldn’t be so quick to judge.

  11. I totally agree with you about kids using pacifiers/binkies far too long.
    Unfortunately, whether it is because a child can’t find their thumb, or because the parents make a concious choice to deter the thumb, or, if it’s simply because a mom is so engorged that comfort sucking isn’t doable and only leads to the tummy overfilled and causes spitup… and I don’t mean a simple dribble, choking, and other problems, sometimes a pacifier is needed to satisfy baby’s (note key word here, people, is BABY) need to suck.
    in our home, we reserved pacifiers for sleeping and helping soothe teething pain (these were times the breast simply didn’t help for our kids).
    So do breathe and try not to judge the moms of babies (and I mean under 6mo) who have binkies… along with moms with teething babies over 6mo, or moms with kids under 2 with babies who use them to fall asleep/for teething pain (those molars hurt and a nice frozen binky helps soothe the gums so they can nurse more comfortably)
    But feel free to judge away at a child crawling, running, just sitting around sucking for no purpose (not teething, not falling asleep).
    And even so, remind yourself… not your kid.

  12. Kat: Why do you see it as a problem if a baby over six months, or a toddler, has a pacifier when they want to suck? I realise teeth eventually become an issue, but that isn’t until well after six months.
    My son had a dummy during the day until he was two and a bit. He wanted something to suck on. Why should it be a problem for him to get it?

  13. I am anti-pacifier too. They do seem like a baby muzzle to me. To the mom who wishes it didn’t fall out, why not attach straps to it around the baby’s face just like a muzzle! You won’t get that pesky crying every 10 min. This is what I always see at restaurants, parents shoving them in a baby’s mouth every minute because it fell out. Most of the time baby isn’t even crying, so is there really THAT strong of need to suck if baby can’t even keep it in their mouth? I think it’s just part of lazy parenting. If your baby cries while you are out and is fed & changed, bounce, rock or talk to them. Try wearing them in a sling close to your body. How can you be so sure that baby isn’t wanting more food? Breast milk digests very fast and there also is no overfeeding a breastfed baby. If they are colicky, swaddle them. Also, a pacifier helping with SIDS sounds silly, ” to help give distance between blankets and their nose”. Shouldn’t you not be introducing blankets in the crib anyways?
    Breasts are my binky too! I think the desire to suck is more a desire for comfort. When my baby is close to my breast he is more emotionally fulfilled and doesn’t need a pacifier at all. He can comfort suck for an hour before bed or nap time. I had my child to give him love and nurturing, not to make him fit into my former lifestyle and to expect it never to change. There is such a short time in his that he will need this. I cherish the moments with him at my breast and know that time is fleeting.
    Yes, there are exceptions. Not every mother is lucky enough to be a SAHM in this day and age. Gay fathers also don’t have a breast, but they do have comforting arms and voice. A pacifier isn’t the only way to comfort a child, just the only impersonal way to do so IMO.

    • its not always about wanting to suck or needing to “muzzle” your child. My son is beginning to teeth so he will start to suck then gum his paci which causes it to fall out, at which point he will want it back. He grabs for it but cannot hold it by himself so I have to keep giving it back to him.. not because I’m wanting to muzzle him

  14. Suckling is a natural and important behavior for infants. Even Dr Sears (super attachment parent who originally coined that phrase) says that pacifiers are a good way to soothe baby along with other methods such as babywearing and swaddling. Putting the baby to the breast is always best but my child wanted to suck constantly and didn’t always want a flow of milk behind it. Pacimals are great and when it comes time to wean and your baby has a stuffed animal that smells familiar they’ll learn to soothe in no time!

  15. Thanks for the link to pacimals! 🙂 My LO is also very oral & needed to suck lots. Just like anything, it’s a tool & there are always good & bad ways to use a tool. PPl who don’t wean before age 3 (or really 2) are a little silly to me, though.

  16. I have 3 wonderful kids and all 3 have used binkies. Judge me all you want, but I am really suseptable (sp) to infections. With all my kids I would get breast infections if they nursed to long. My dr. specifically said the baby was taking to long to eat therefore the prolonged exposure to the bacteria in the saliva caused the infection. with my daughter it got so bad by the time I made it to the dr office it was quite serious. My BP was really low, my temp was really high. They kept me there for 3hrs with an IV drip of antibiotics and left the pic line in overnight and brought me back the next day for another 3hrs of IV antibiotics before the presc. for oral antibiotics. so with that being said, I will continue to use a binky if my babies want one. it has NOTHING to do with laziness or trying to keep the lifestyle I had before having kids, that is pure nonsence!!!

  17. Yes, I was against pacifiers at first too, until I got into natural parenting. In nature, children are always close to the breast and suckling lowers their bloodpressure, and cortisol levels. Just for the same reasons you wouldn’t let a baby cry it out, to prevent those high stress levels and cortisol from rising, you would also want to use a pacifier to do the same. (Unless you want the baby on your breast as much as the natives do, I think not!) So pacifiers are very natural, in fact. They make natural ones out of all rubber too, those looked less horrible to me than the all pastic ones, and that is what our son uses. I think attaching the pacifier to an animal is actually great, because it mimicks the breast and it is harder for them to walk around with. Excellent idea!

  18. Pacifiers can be great for babies. It’s important to not be judgmental of how others raise their kids. For my infant, it was impossible for her to breast feed with her pierre robin and took everything through a g tube. So a pacifier was detrimental to her need to suck.

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