It could be reliving to see tears disappear from your baby’s eyes once you pop a binky in your baby’s mouth. We cannot deny the fact that a pacifier works exceptionally well to comfort and calm your crying baby. That is the reason why many parents consider pacifiers in their must haves along with baby wipes, diapers, strollers, etc.
But are pacifiers really good for your baby? Read to find out the pros and cons of using a pacifier.
Pros of Using A Pacifier
- Soothes the baby: There is no doubt that sucking helps to pacify a baby. It’s a source of comfort for a crying baby. It helps in putting the baby to sleep. Until the baby is old enough to find any other way to soothe herself, this is the only way she may find solace and peace
- Develops the suckling reflux: Using a pacifier can satiate the need of sucking of the baby when the baby has been well fed but still feels like sucking. Sucking is a natural need of a baby
- Health Benefits: A dummy is helpful for a preterm baby. Research has shown that a dummy given to a premature baby right after birth have lesser health complications and it encourages sucking and tend to stay shorter in hospitals. Another study has revealed that premature baby tends to gain weight faster who suck on dummies.
- Reduced Rate Of SIDS:Pacifiers reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), although there is no proven results how pacifiers prevent SIDS. Use it to put your baby to sleep, but if it falls off do not put it back if the baby is asleep. Read more about SIDS here
- Can Be Used As A Distraction: It can be used to temporarily distract baby during vaccinations or blood shots, though it is strongly recommended that a pacifier not be used to delay feedings
- Easing Ear Pains: Sucking on a pacifier during flights may ease the ear pain caused due to air pressure
- Can Be Disposed Off Easily: They can be disposed easily once you decide to stop using it, thumb sucking habit is quite difficult to break
Cons Of Using A Pacifier
- Can Cause Ear Infections: Using dummies for longer periods may cause ear infections, since it enables bacteria to move from the mouth to the tubes in between the throat and ears, prevents mucus from draining. This is most common in babies aged six months and over, therefore it is highly recommended to cut off the use of dummy before this age
- Nipple Confusion: Some people believe that use of pacifiers could cause nipple confusion in babies – and causes the baby not to work hard for the milk that actually fills up her tummy
- Tooth Problems: Ideally, you should wean your baby off a pacifier before her first birthday, but if that does not happen, the binky must go by the age of two. Tooth problems can self correct themselves once the use of pacifiers is ditched for 6 months. If the habit continues by the time a baby turns 4, it could cause serious trouble for your baby’s teeth
- Can Deprive Baby Of Nutrition: It may refrain baby from what she actually needs; food and nutrition. As it would be difficult to know whether the baby needs breast milk or a pacifier
- Can Cause Infections: Usage of dummy is linked more cases of chest and stomach infection, though the actual reason is not known
- Can Cause Face Changes: There are chances of some changes in the shape of the baby’s jaw and mouth if used for longer periods
- Can Affect Speech:It could affect baby’s speech development if your baby tries to talk, or makes sounds with dummy in mouth, always remember to take dummy out when she does it
- Interrupted Sleep: Parents might have a disturbed sleep if the baby wakes up and needs to have dummy put in her mouth once it falls off to go back to sleep
- Weaning: Weaning off a pacifier can be really difficult sometimes- especially if the baby is very habitual of the same
Best Practices For Using Pacifiers
If you want to use pacifiers for those trying times, make sure that you wait at least a month after the baby is worn – that will save the little fellow all the confusion regarding samples.
- Try buying branded ones, stay away from those flimsy 3-at-the-rate-of-one offers on retail
- Use age specific pacifiers, and to figure out what your baby likes the most, give her various shapes to try
- Always keep pacifiers clean, do not touch the nipple, and never coat anything on it. Running water is enough to clean it
- Tying a pacifier around a baby’s neck could prove a choking hazard – never do that
- Finally, try weaning the baby off the pacifier by the time he is ready to celebrate his first birthday
Many parents wish they hadn’t introduced a pacifier as it is difficult to wean off, while others find it to be a life saver. But also remember a binky can be thrown away easily, but thumb follows everywhere you go!