June 1, 2020

Should we use a pacifier or not?

When it comes to the topic of pacifiers there is a lot of myth and not as much truth. Many say the pacifier is a horrible thing to get your child stuck on. Others say it ruins teeth, others say it creates dependence etc. So how can you know what you should do?

Well let’s address the benefits and the uses, as well as the concerns of using pacifiers so that you can make an educated decision about whether or not you should use a pacifier:

Whether or not you choose to use a pacifier is really up to you and your baby, so let your baby be your guide.

Why a pacifier?

Babies love to suck, it has been said that it is an inborn trait, or a natural phenomenon that helps them survive — they’ve even been photographed sucking their thumbs in the uterus. A baby who seems to want to nurse or consume another bottle after he/she’s just been fed may need something else to suck on. Believe it or not, often times a baby is not actually hungry, but sucking is soothing, so they want to suck. Many parents overfeed their children by thinking that the baby must be starving, and that food is the answer because it soothes them. A pacifier may satisfy him or her just as easily, or you can help the baby to find its thumb.

Are they the only answer?

Pacifiers can soothe a fussy baby, but often reading, singing, or cuddling the baby will work just as well. However, a pacifier is a simple answer and one that even hospital nurseries use because they do not have enough staff to read to, sing to, or cuddle every baby that needs soothing. If you don’t want your newborn to have a pacifier in the nursery, alert the staff in advance. However, you should know that a day or two of use in the hospital won’t hook your baby on pacifiers, it simply makes sense not to introduce something you aren’t going to use at home.

What is wrong with pacifiers?

Some parents don’t like the thought of having a 3-year-old walking around with a “binky” in their mouth. However, what parents often do not realize, or take into account is that if used judiciously, and only when your baby really needs it, your child is unlikely to become overly dependent on a pacifier. So, if your older child still wants a pacifier, it is not the pacifiers fault as much as it is yours for creating that dependence.

How do you avoid creating that dependence?

If you’ve fed, burped, cuddled, rocked, and played with your baby, and the baby still seems to be fussing, go ahead and try using a pacifier. If used intelligently, and not as a substitute for nurturing, there is nothing wrong with offering your baby a pacifier. But they should be used for your baby’s benefit, not yours. Always ask yourself, am I doing this for me? Or for the baby? If you find yourself sticking a pacifier in your baby’s mouth so that you can finish up what you are working on then you will later find a child who can only be comforted with a pacifier, even when they are three or five years old.

Do pacifiers really interfere with the development of a baby’s mouth and teeth?

It’s unlikely that your child will continue sucking his or her pacifier well into the childhood years, when it might threaten proper dental development. So, while many claim that pacifiers ruin mouths it is not a likely scenario. This is because during the years your child is likely to be using a pacifier, she only has his or her baby teeth; permanent teeth generally don’t start appearing until around age 5 or 6. So, if you can use the pacifier wisely, and not create that dependence, therefore wean your child from it before their permanent teeth start to come in you should be fine.

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