Sucky Choices! Tips on Pacifiers
When it comes to your infant or toddler’s health you don’t want to be pacified. Or do you? The great debate is on. To give a pacifier to your child or not. Before I had my daughter I thought maybe I wouldn’t give my child a pacifier. People also thought the earth was flat. For me, the pacifier was the right choice. Moms are often made to feel like the pacifier about their decision. Sucky. It seems no matter what choice you make there may be someone there to criticize it. And you may experience some fallout with your child. However, it is every mom's option to give a child a pacifier or not. There are health pros and cons for the pacifier. Here are some things that you need to know so that you can choose what is right for your child.
Benefits of using a pacifier:
- Reduces the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) if the child uses it at nap or bedtime
- Particularly in the first four months of life, babies have a strong and natural instinct to suck. Babies may revert to their thumb if not provided with a pacifier. As pacifiers can be removed it is an easier habit to wean versus the sucking of the thumb.
- Pacifiers can be soothing for babies. If your baby is cranky or fussy, a pacifier may help him or her calm down. It may also relax your baby to help him or her fall asleep.
Risks of using a pacifier:
- For breastfeed babies, it is probably best to wait to use a pacifier until your baby has learned how to breastfeed well otherwise they may experience trouble learning to breastfeed properly.
- Parents may awake numerous times during the night with babies who are not old enough to put the pacifier back in their mouth if it falls out. Until your child is old enough you will need to help them put the pacifier back in their mouth if it falls out while sleeping
- Babies who use a pacifier may be more likely to develop middle ear infections.
- Children can become sick from germs on pacifiers if they are not washed frequently.
- Pacifiers are most helpful to children during the first few years of life. After that it is best to wean them. Prolonged usage can damage their teeth after several years. Pacifiers are not recommended for children over 4 years of age.
More on pacifiers:
- Keeping up with the pacifier can be tough. However, never tie a pacifier around a child’s neck or attach it to a crib. It puts a child at risk for strangulation.
- Replace worn or torn pacifiers often. It can be a choking hazard.
- Try other methods of soothing your child before offering the pacifier. Ensure they are not wet or hungry. Try changing positions or speaking softly. This will help your child in the long run to have methods that will help them soothe themselves.
- Don’t invest tons of money into numerous pacifiers. Many children prefer one type only. Once your child has settled on a pacifier type then go crazy and buy all of those that you can find!