Are you a new parent? As parents ourselves, we completely understand your first priority is giving your child the best supportive care.
Using a pacifier is probably on the top of your list, and you’re not alone! For ages, parents have relied on pacifiers to help calm (and do we say distract?) crying infants. Are they safe to use? Our blog is going to dissect the advantages and disadvantages of pacifiers and what you can do to ensure your baby develops a happy, healthy life.
What are the benefits of pacifiers?
There are plenty of reasons pacifiers are an excellent tool for your baby. Some of those benefits include:
- Reduced risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS): Studies have shown babies who use their pacifier during naps or bedtime dramatically reduce the risk of SIDS by more than half. While doctors aren’t sure how and why this works, it demonstrates there’s a connection between pacifier use and reduced risk of SIDS.
- Comforting mechanism: Sucking on a pacifier can calm and soothe your baby, which makes it a relaxing experience for both parent and child. You can think of it as a double win!
- Satisfy “sucking” reflex: Most babies have the natural instinct to suck, even after breastfeeding or bottle feeding. If the desire to suck lingers after a meal, a pacifier is a perfect tool to satisfy this reflex.
What are the disadvantages of pacifiers?
Pacifiers are an excellent coping mechanism for your infant, but it can cause more harm than good if not used properly. Some of the cons include:
- Harm to your infant’s dental health: The longer your baby uses a pacifier, the more damage it could cause to their dental development. It’s recommended to have your child to stop using a pacifier before the age of two to avoid damage to their teeth, jaw, or bite. Talk to us if you would like to discuss more tips to protect your infant’s oral health!
- Increased ear problems: Pacifier use may increase the risk of ear infections in babies and young children. It’s recommended to limit the pacifier after your baby turns six months old to decrease the possibility of ear infections.
- It may interfere with breastfeeding: It’s important to make sure your infant is used to nursing before starting to suck on a pacifier. It’s recommended to wait until your baby is one month old to ensure he or she is getting the nutrients needed. Once you’re confident your child is nursing well, you can start introducing the pacifier.
Are pacifiers safe?
As long as you monitor their use, pacifiers can be useful for infants and parents alike! Here are some guidelines to follow when introducing a pacifier:
- Use pacifiers that are BPA free (bisphenol-A).
- Avoid using cords to tie the pacifier around your baby’s neck or crib – it becomes a choking hazard.
- Don’t clean a pacifier with your mouth: The American Dental Association states adult saliva contains harmful bacteria increasing your infant’s chances of getting cavities – not to mention the germs!
- Don’t dip the pacifier in sweet liquids (juice, sugar water, etc.) because this can also lead to cavities.
- Try giving your baby the pacifier at nap time or bedtime to start the weaning process. Use cuddling, rocking, or singing to comfort your infant.
Share with us some of your tips and tricks in introducing a pacifier to your child. Share your tips by commenting below!
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.