Mommies find it so easy to control a squalling child with a pacifier. As the name suggests, a pacifier does pacify your child when he is crying or is uncomfortable. While it could sound like a magic tool to calm your baby down, this whole binky thing has facts and myths doing the rounds. So here we are getting it fair and square:
1. Pacifiers May Lower The Risk Of SIDS:
Yes, apparently the binky can save your baby’s life. As it seems, the intermittent movement of your baby’s mouth as he suckles the pacifier keeps him in a lower sleep-state. This lessens the risk of your baby stopping to breathe and keeps the airway open. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends using a pacifier while putting your baby to sleep at night until your child is one year old. You don’t have to force your baby to be on the pacifier if he doesn’t want to. It is advised that you don’t begin using a pacifier until your baby is one month old or until breastfeeding is established.
2. Pacifiers Don’t Cause Dental Problems If Weaning Off Before Two Years:
Not at least in the first two years of your child’s life, since your child’s mouth is malleable this time around. So any changes that a pacifier might bring in, the baby’s mouth can rectify them. But this is not the case in toddlerhood wherein a pacifier could lead to a condition called malocclusion or misalignment of teeth, such as an open bite in the front or a cross bite in the back. Also bear in mind that it’s not only the age at which your child suckles a pacifier, but also how aggressively they can suckle on the pacifier. Babies who suck pacifiers gently, apply less pressure on their front teeth, but those who do so vigorously can have problems with their bite around 18 months. Kids may have a risk of maxillary constriction which is characterized by crooked, protruding, or crowded teeth. You could use an orthodontic pacifier for your baby, but make sure your baby weans off it by the time he turns two.
3. Pacifiers May Cause Ear Infections:
Babies who have been using a pacifier are more prone to ear infections than those who weaned off of them at six months. The probable reason behind this is that the pressure changes in the ears that occur due to constant suckling. The pressure changes may prevent channeling of the fluid through the canal that connects the middle ear to the hind part of nose and throat. When the fluid collects here, it can cause infections. However, there hasn’t been ample evidence to support this theory. But if a baby suffers from recurrent ear infections, pacifiers have been thought of as probable causative.
4. You Can Use A Pacifier Even If Your Newborn Is Breastfed:
5. A lot of mothers might have concerns about nipple confusion thereby they shun the use of pacifiers. It is why AAP suggests that pacifiers be introduced when your baby is one month old and breastfeeding has been well established. Moreover, babies feel the need to suckle even if they have been well fed. So using a pacifier may not do any harm as long as you are not keeping your baby hungry.
6. Keeping the pacifiers hygienic:
Your baby’s pacifier might wield fungi and bacteria on the nipple when seen under a microscope. It is recommended that you always wash the pacifiers with hot and soapy water on a regular basis. Store the clean and dry pacifiers in zip-lock bags for extra protection against germs. Also, replace the pacifiers on a regular basis.
7. Weaning Off Pacifiers:
Moderation is the key. Remember that your child can be comforted by your kind words, cooing, and gentle touch. Diverting attention to something interesting and socializing also does the trick. If you have introduced pacifiers, then weaning off is easy if your child uses it in moderation. Excessive use could lead to pacifier-addiction.
8. A few tips on pacifier safety:
- Don’t attach a pacifier to her crib or stroller or make it visible at all times.
- Don’t attach pacifiers through strings or cords longer than six-inches to avoid strangulation.
- Avoid fancy pacifiers which have attached parts such a mustaches. These attachments can be choking hazards.
- Don’t dip pacifiers in sweet or sugary substances as they may harm your baby’s developing teeth.
- Never give you child a pacifier when she is hungry.
Yes, pacifiers will calm your baby down. But you should know when and not to use them. Let us know your baby’s pacifier experiences in the comments section below.