Baby pacifiers have always been considered a mandatory attribute for the baby. Some people believe that they are harmful, others stand on the opposite side. Medical specialists do not have an unequivocal opinion concerning this issue, therefore, only parents decide whether to give a pacifier to their child.
What’s the Sense of Baby Pacifiers?
Even before birth, the child has a sucking reflex. When sucking the mother’s breast, the baby is satisfied. Thus, pacifiers are substitutes for the breast. By itself, a pacifier has no relationship to feeding. So why is it needed? And is it indeed needed?
Some experts believe that at an early age (up to 6 months) the use of a pacifier is justified, but then it is desirable to wean the child from it. But in this question opinions do not always coincide.
Pediatricians believe that sucking a pacifier is the satisfaction of the sucking reflex. But this reflex will gradually disappear, so there is no cause for concern.
At the same time, some psychologists have different opinions. They believe that the infant has a strong need for physical contact with the mother. And this need cannot be satisfied with the pacifier. The best way is to give the baby a breast, not an artificial substitute. And the more physical contact the baby has with the mother at such a tender age, the better it is for the formation of a stable psyche.
Breastfeeding specialists believe that a pacifier is the enemy of the nursing mother and baby, because the child stops eating on demand, often replacing the need with sucking a pacifier. As a result, the mother’s milk quantity decreases. The child is not gaining weight. This is especially true of the first month of life. Here, many experts agree that it is simply contraindicated for a newborn! In the first month, the baby should receive only the mother’s breast whenever he/she needs it.
Why do Parents give the Child a Pacifier? There are Various Reasons
- The baby is crying.
- If it is cold outside, the baby’s pacifier will not let the cold air get into the baby’s mouth.
- The child is naughty when parents dress him/her.
- The child falls asleep better.
- The child has eaten recently, but begins to cry again.
- Baby cries after bathing.
- The baby sucks a finger.
- The child is naughty.
That is, a baby pacifier every time serves as a means of comfort. Obviously, in these situations, giving a pacifier is easier than trying other means to calm the child.
What do Experts Say about Baby Pacifiers?
- The baby is crying? First thing you need to do is to try to figure out the cause of the discomfort. Perhaps some wrinkle from the diaper rubs the skin. Maybe you need to change the diaper. Perhaps the stomach hurts. Maybe the baby is hungry, etc.
- If the air enters the child’s mouth during a walk, then look for the reason why the baby’s mouth is open. If the child has a stuffy nose, do not walk with him in cold weather.
- Many children do not like to be dressed up. Be patient. 4-5 months children are recommended to be dressed while sitting, because babies do not like to lie in the process of dressing.
- Pacifier for falling asleep? The child falls asleep perfectly near the mother’s breast. No pacifier is required.
- The child has recently eaten. But it is possible that the baby is still hungry and wants a bit more.
- Sucking a finger is quite normal for a child under six months. So, there is no need to worry about it.
- If your baby is being naughty, try to distract the child, play with him.
So do you need a pacifier? Should you categorically refuse it? Pediatricians claim that it’s okay if the baby is sucking a pacifier for up to a year.
Still, here the individual approach is very important. There are kids who have a strong sucking reflex. If you don’t give such a baby a pacifier – he/she will suck fingers, a blanket, etc. There are also very excitable kids. If the child cries and worries a lot, then you can also give him a pacifier.
When is it Better to Offer the Baby a Pacifier?
It is better to offer your baby a pacifier when the child is not hungry but wants to suck, opens his mouth, looking for something to take into the mouth. Take out the pacifier from the baby’s mouth when he falls asleep. Sucking a pacifier while sleeping is a bad habit.
A pacifier is important for babies who receive artificial feeding to satisfy sucking needs.
The sucking reflex begins to fade in 5-6 months. At this time you can start weaning the baby from the pacifier.
Experts warn parents: do not accustom the child to the pacifier, lubricating it with honey, juice, syrup, etc. This can cause allergies and early caries.
Let’s look at the pros and cons of pacifiers. But keep in mind: although these are opinions of specialists, they are quite subjective. Therefore, it is up to you to decide what is useful or not for your child.
Pros of Baby Pacifiers
It Calms the Baby Down
Even when the baby is naughty, you still have to do so much! But the baby may calm down if you give him/her a pacifier. Though it is just a breast substitute, still it helps develop of sucking reflex.
Baby Pacifier Reduce the Risk of Sudden Death
Pediatrics magazine published the results of research: scientists proved that the use of pacifiers in babies during sleep reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. According to statistics, the use of a pacifier can prevent one sudden death in 2733 children.
It Helps Babies who Receive Artificial Feeding
Babies who are deprived of breastfeeding do not fully satisfy their sucking reflex. A bottle cannot be given whenever the baby gets into a fuss. After all, it is important to observe the rules of nutrition. And then a pacifier comes to the rescue. It can also be useful when the mother is absent. However, do not abuse this method of sedation.
If a baby needs to undergo a medical procedure, for example, a doctor needs to take blood from a finger, a pacifier will help to distract the baby and alleviate the pain from the procedure.
In children of the first year of life, the sucking instinct is, one may say, basic, and it must be satisfied. This happens easily if the baby is breastfed on demand. But often, the mother does not have the opportunity to put the baby to the breast at any time of the day, and then a pacifier comes to the rescue. If the baby is bottle-fed, then it is physiologically necessary after each feeding. And for the formation of the correct bite, you only need to correctly choose an orthopedic pacifier.
Baby Pacifiers Cons
- When sucking the breast, the maxillofacial apparatus is formed correctly, and the sucking technique of the pacifier is different from the natural sucking of the breast. The baby may not take the breast correctly. As a result, the stimulation will decrease, and the lactation will decrease as well.
- A pacifier is very harmful when a nursing mother has a feeding problem (tight nipple, lack of milk).
- The facial muscles of the baby get tired from long sucking. As a result, the baby might suck the breast less.
- A pacifier is a potential source of infection. It is impossible to constantly keep the pacifier clean.
- You cannot be sure that the pacifier you’ve purchased is made from safe material and will not harm the baby.
- Sucking pacifiers inhibits the development of the child, the child’s interest in the surrounding world decreases.
- Sucking a pacifier leads to speech defects due to the fact that in the process of constant and prolonged sucking the correct structure of the vocal organs is disrupted.
- Sucking a pacifier can change the bite, leading to curvature of the teeth and improper jaw growth.
- Instead of feeling bodily contact with the mother, the baby receives an artificial substitute for mother’s love.
- The child may develop an allergy to the material from which the pacifier is made.
- When a baby has teeth, he/she can bite off pieces of rubber from the pacifier and chew them. Thus, the baby can choke on these pieces.
How to Choose and use the Pacifier Safely?
Look carefully at the material from which the pacifier is made. Silicone is considered the most practical. Silicone baby pacifiers are not only very easy to disinfect but also such material is quite durable. A silicone pacifier retains its shape for quite a long time. But you need to be careful with such pacifiers. As soon as the baby has teeth, hard silicone can negatively affect the formation of the bite. Rubber pacifiers can also be used – they are softer. But a child can easily bite through such a pacifier with his teeth.
In addition, this pacifier can cause baby allergies. The first sign of destruction is a change in color to a brown tint. When choosing a pacifier, pay attention to its shape. First, its design should not be easily taken to pieces. The pacifier should match the shape of the baby’s mouth.
It should not interfere with breathing. It is better to buy an orthopedic or anatomical pacifier. It will perfectly repeat the shape of the child’s mouth and will not deform his gums and teeth in such a way. It is important to consider the size of the pacifier. If the pacifier is chosen correctly, it will help in the formation of the bite of the child.
Baby pacifiers should be purchased at pharmacies or specialty stores with certified products. The pacifier should be chosen according to the age of the baby.
A damaged or used for more than one and a half months pacifier must be disposed of. When breastfeeding, the pacifier should be used only as a last resort. After the child fell asleep, it is better to take the pacifier out.
By following these simple recommendations, you can use a pacifier and not worry about the health of the baby!
Born in Belarus, 1985, a pedagogue and family psychologist, mother. Taking part in procedures of social adaptation of the foster children in new families. Since 2015 is a chief editor of the motherhow.com project, selecting the best and up-to-date material for those, who are planning, expecting, and already having babies.