When infants refuse to stop crying and parents run out of ideas to calm them down, pacifiers can become a savior. Babies cry for innumerable reasons & pacifiers along with breastfeeding and top feeding can help soothe them.
There are many parents who depend on pacifiers to placate their baby but some parents are totally against it as well.
What is a pacifier and important things to remember
Pacifiers are teats made with plastic or silicone mouth shields and a handle.
- The word ‘soother’ has been used for hundreds of years to signify anything that relieves a baby while he is teething or crying a lot and pacifiers are a type of soother as well.
- Before giving your baby a pacifier, it is important to clean and sterilise it.
- Make sure that your baby is using it correctly as he may swallow or choke on the silicone bit of the pacifier.
Read: Pacifier and Soothers: A complete Guide
What to keep in mind when choosing a pacifier?
- Which pacifier is best should be decided by the parent based on trial and error.
- No two babies are the same and some babies readily accept a pacifier while some may reject it completely.
- Most pacifiers come with silicone or rubber parts and a plastic or silicone mouth handle.
- Latex or rubber pacifiers are softer than silicone ones, but they don't last as long.
- Some pacifiers come with honey or sugar water fillings. This is not recommended for the baby as it may cause infections.
When can I start using pacifier for my baby?
- Doctors in India don’t advise the use of pacifiers as it may cause ear infections or gastroenteritis.
- However, if you really feel like your baby needs one, consult your pediatrician first.
- If you are breastfeeding, you should wait for a month or two to introduce a pacifier to your baby. Continued breastfeeding is advised as it helps your breasts to regulate and produce milk.
Related: How to manage bottle feeding when traveling?
Will using pacifier interfere with breastfeeding?
- Experts and pediatricians suggest not using pacifiers until you are able to start top feeding the baby as it may interfere with breastfeeding
- Introducing a pacifier in the initial stages might hamper the breastfeeding process as the baby will find it easy to use a pacifier than feeding from the breasts.
- This will even interfere in the duration of feeding.
Advantages of using pacifiers
#1. Pacifier may help the baby go to sleep peacefully.
#2. In case of premature deliveries, doctors advise the use of pacifiers as it will help them to make a routine of regular feeds rather than tube feeds.
#3. This helps the baby to start normal feeding sooner which also means that baby has to spend lesser time in the hospital.
Read: Will using the soother or a pacifier interfere with breastfeeding?
Disadvantages of using pacifiers
#1. The main disadvantage of using pacifiers is that it might cause middle ear infections. Limiting baby time to use pacifier will guard against ear problems. Using it only for sleep might reduce the number of instances of getting an ear infection.
#2. Pacifiers can also cause stomach infection gastroenteritis, if not sterilised properly.
#3. If pacifiers are used for long periods of time, there are more chances of teeth becoming crooked.
#5. Use of pacifiers may lead to thumb sucking once weaned off from pacifier.
#6. Using pacifier is also one of the main reason of delayed speech in babies nowadays.
Does pacifier prevent SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)?
- A pacifier could save your baby's life. According to www.Mayoclinic.org, using pacifiers are linked to a decrease in the chances of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Experts believe that babies who suck on a pacifier might not sleep as deeply and would wake more easily than babies who don't, making them less susceptible to SIDS.
- Another theory is that sucking on a pacifier might help open up airspace around a baby's mouth and nose, which ensures she gets enough oxygen.
Because of the reduced SIDS risk, the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that pacifiers be used for babies under age 1 at naptime and bedtime. It is wise to wait for the baby to at least be 2 months of age and has learned how to breastfeed.
Is it safe to give your baby a pacifier?
Simply put, introducing a pacifier to your child isn’t unsafe. However, as your baby gets older it may be a little difficult for your child to let go of it and break the habit. If your child is struggling to give up on pacifiers, you should consult your doctor.
If the points mentioned above have been helpful to you at all, think twice before introducing pacifiers to your baby.
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