Pacifiers: the good and the bad

May 2, 2019

Another one of those divisive decisions in parenting — to give Baby a pacifier or not. For those of us that give in, the day we will need to take it away is always looming.

Given that the sucking reflex in babies is strong, it’s hard not to give in and travel down this road. Those of us who have used one know how calming it can be for our little one, virtually a must-have.

The Mayo clinic reviews the advantages and disadvantages of pacifier use…

PROS:

  • Soothes a fussy baby
  • A distraction from a negative situation
  • Assists in helping baby fall asleep
  • Eases discomfort during flight by popping their ears
  • Helps reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
  • Easier to stop than thumb sucking

CONS:

  • You face middle-of-the-night crying when the pacifier falls out of her mouth
  • A possible increase in the risk of middle ear infections
  • Dental problems with prolonged pacifier use (past the first few years of life)
  • Breastfeeding interference – best to wait until your baby is 3-4 weeks to give the pacifier to make sure there is no conflict

If you choose to offer Baby a pacifier, keep these tips in mind:

  • Choose a silicone one-piece, pacifier. Two piece pacifiers pose a choking hazard if they break.
  • Keep identical backups on hand.
  • Let your baby set the pace. If she isn’t interested, don’t force it.
  • Keep it clean — at least until your baby is 6 months old and her immune system matures.
  • Don’t sugarcoat it, never put any sweet stuff on a pacifier.
  • Keep an eye on it, replacing them often, and looking them over for deterioration. Use caution with pacifier clips, be sure to keep them on a short string so as not to get caught around your baby’s neck.
  • Pulling the plug between 2 and 4 is typical. Sometimes you have to be creative when it’s time to say goodbye.

And we can’t end without sharing Baby Center’s list of 172 Pet Names for the Pacifier! Who knew?

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