A pacifier (North American English), dummy (Britain and other Commonwealth countries), binky, or soother (in some countries) is a rubber, plastic, or silicone nipple given to an infant or other young child to suck upon. In its standard appearance it has a teat, mouth shield, and handle. The mouth shield and/or the handle is large enough to avoid the danger of the child choking on it or swallowing it.
The decision of using – or not using – the pacifier is up to you as parents. Most babies have a strong sucking reflex. Some babies even suck their thumbs or fingers before they’re born! Beyond nutrition, sucking often has a soothing, calming effect. That’s why many parents rank pacifiers as must haves, right up there with diaper wipes and baby swings. Are pacifiers really OK for your baby, though? There are many researches on this subject. The best is to decide yourself after reading enough on this.
As parents; we were not thinking to introduce pacifier to our first son. After reading a lot and talking with friends / family members, we have changed our decision. Having a pacifier around helped us a lot (sometime you don’t have enough patience to deal with little one…). However, we have never kept it around 24 hours. We had a rule; use it when it’s really needed and use it at the sleep time.Our son was allowed to keep it only in his crib. At one point, he was going back to his room ‘to enjoy’ it couple of minutes 🙂
Still we had the one big question in our mind all the time : ‘when to stop giving pacifier, and how?’. We have decided to stop it when our little one was around 18 months old. And with this incredible process, the stop was painless with NO CRY at all. Please read this for the process to say ‘bye to pacifier’ : How to stop using pacifier
We have tried to give pacifier to our second son as well; he didn’t want it. It was sad for us, because we didn’t have that great helper when we needed… But what to do? All kids have different personalities, and basically he didn’t want to have it. End of the story !
Benefits of Pacifiers
If you want a list of benefits, here it is :
- Pacifiers might help reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) – Maybe this is the most important one
- It soothes a fussy baby
- It offers temporary distraction (related with the previous one)
- It might help your baby fall asleep (this was the case for us)
- It might ease discomfort during flights
- Pacifiers are disposable (if your baby wants to suck, s/he may start sucking his/her thumb. If this is the case, it is harder to stop this habit)
Researchers have found that use of a pacifier is associated with a substantial reduction in the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). A meta-analytic study published by American Pediatric Association in Pediatrics in October 2005 supports this benefit to one year of age. However, other experts, while acknowledging the correlation between SIDS risk reduction and pacifier use, questioned the causality of the findings.
Some parents prefer the use of a pacifier to the child sucking their thumb or fingers.
Researchers in Brazil have shown that neither “orthodontic” nor standard pacifiers prevent dental problems if children continue sucking past the age of three years.
It is commonly reported anecdotally that pacifier use among stimulant users helps reduce bruxism and thus prevents tooth damage.
Drawbacks of Pacifiers
Of course it has some dis-advantages as well. Here are couple points :
- Early pacifier use might interfere with breast-feeding (there’s no real proof exists for this).
- Your baby might become dependent on the pacifier (timing is really important to stop using it)
- Pacifier use might increase the risk of middle ear infections
- Prolonged pacifier use might lead to dental problems (if you don’t stop it before 3 years old, this may be an issue)
It is commonly believed that pacifiers interfere with breastfeeding, by reducing milk production. However, trials have not found any effect on duration of breastfeeding from using a pacifier. It may have clinical benefits for preterm babies, such as helping them progress from tube to bottle feeding.
Research suggests that infants who use pacifiers may have more ear infections (otitis media). It is not clear, though, whether avoiding the use of a pacifier can prevent ear infections.
It is also commonly believed that using a pacifier will lead to dental problems. However if the pacifier is used for less than around three years, it does not appear to lead to long-term damage. Similarly, there appears to be no strong evidence that using a pacifier delays speech development by preventing babies from practising their speaking skills.
- Let your baby to decide to have it or not. Don’t force it.
- You can try giving her the pacifier before sleeping (But if it falls out of your baby’s mouth while s/he’s sleeping, don’t put it back in.)
- Never tie a pacifier around your baby’s neck or to her crib! She could strangle in the cord or ribbon. It’s safe to attach the pacifier to her clothes with a clip made especially for the job.
- Keep the pacifier clean by rinsing it with warm water. Replace it as soon as it shows small cracks or other signs of wear.
- Don’t ‘clean’ a pacifier by putting it in your mouth (actually this is not ‘cleaning’ !)
After reading all these info, if you decide to have one here is the couple examples with good rating :
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