When Lucy was a newborn, we were all about the pacifier. I believe that the sucking reflex is a natural comfort for babies, and it was true for Lucy - it soothed her in her bassinet next to our bed. When it fell out of her mouth (before she developed the wonderful skill of grabbing it herself and putting it back in!) she would cry, and I would be thankful for glow-in-the-dark pacifiers. I was on pacifier patrol, and it drove me absolutely crazy (just not as crazy as trying to sleep next to a screaming baby, so what choice did I have?). Then a very short time later she moved to her crib at night. She was now downstairs in another room, as it was at our old house. She was sleeping for longer stretches, but I'd still have to get it for her now and then. She was never a thumb-sucker for whatever reason.
Before too long she could locate it, even in the dark, and she was set to go. By the time she was one, she was only having it in bed at night and during naps. Rarely did she have one in her mouth, unless something crazy was going on and she needed extra soothing.
Now that she's all adjusted to her new bed (I still have to make her quilt which I may start this week), we decided to change another variable. The collection of pacifiers always at the ready suddenly vanished this evening. When Lucy went to bed, we read her a story and kissed her goodnight. She was laying down peacefully, and when I shut the door I peeked in through the small opening to see her hunting everywhere among her blankets and all the other bedtime stuff to find it. I can only imagine what she was thinking: "I know it's gotta be here somewhere!" She got up, looked under her bed, laid back down with a book... I left her alone, and a little while later I heard a noise. She had gotten up to get a toy from across the room. As soon as she saw me she ran back toward the bed and put her head on the pillow as if she was there all along. "No more toys, it's bedtime." and she ended up staying in bed with a book. It took her a little bit longer to drift off, but Lucy is sleeping without a pacifier FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HER LIFE. No screaming either.
I couldn't resist - I took these in a dark bedroom with just the hallway light on. Since it was so dark, I knew I had to use a long shutter, and therefore also a tripod to avoid moving the camera, and a remote shutter release. Yes, I went to all that trouble which only took about 2 minutes... I might be a bit crazy, but I think it was worth the extra effort, because it's next to impossible to get a good picture of a sleeping angel like this - especially without a pacifier in her mouth.
The pictures were so red due to lack of adequate lighting, but a little fixing up on the computer and voila! Adorableness.
Anyway, I think pacifiers are great inventions and I plan on giving one to our next baby from day one if s/he seems to want one... but who knows. My friend's daugther who is Lucy's age never cared for them and slept fine without one. I'm not saying they're bad or good or when is the appropriate age to take them away. That differs with every individual child and/or parent. I will say that I hope they stop using them by the time they can ride a two-wheel bike... but for US this was a good time to try this step, and it was successful. Considering she's never gone a night without one, we're pretty proud of how well she handled the change.