Baby pacifiers: A quick glimpse at the pros and cons

A pacifier is like magic for mothers: it’s so easy and quick and for many babies, it instantly turns off the tears and turns on the comfort. There is no denying that pacifiers work remarkably well at calming and comforting babies. This has made parents over the years highly dependent on them to stop the crying. However, before bringing this piece of magic in your home and introducing it to your baby, just be aware of some the advantages and pitfalls.

Let’s jump right to the pros:

Pros:

It’s the best mechanism to calm your baby

Without a trusty pacifier, for many-a-parent, it would be hard to imagine how to soothe a crying baby on a plane, at the doctor’s office, at naptime or simply a restless baby. They certainly have been given the apt name!

A pacifier could save your child’s life

According to research, using pacifiers has decreased the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) also known as crib death or cot death. It is when a child below the age of one has a sudden unexplained death. It is believed that when babies suck on pacifiers, they do not sleep as deeply and wake up more easily then babies who do not. Also, another floating theory is that pacifiers help open up airspace around a babies nose and mouth, this guarantees that the baby gets ample oxygen. Hence, using pacifiers during bedtime and naptime is recommended.

The pacifier puts you in control

Being in control is always a good thing. Unlike the thumb (which is in the baby’s control), you can decide when you want to pop that pacifier into the baby’s mouth. Similarly, you can also decide when the baby has to give it up. Due to this fact, studies have shown that finger sucking is a harder habit to break.

Suck reflex satisfaction

Babies have an innate need to suck and this is fulfilled by a bottle and or breast. However, even after the baby’s belly is full, they will want to suck on something. At such times, your magic weapon that will come in handy is the pacifier.

Helps babies control their feelings

A pacifier is a simple way that helps babies learn to self-soothe; the feelings that led to a baby being restless or insecure can be controlled. It’s a win-win situation for both babies and mothers; if the baby is calm and composed then so is the mother.

Reduces pain

During procedures that are painful like an injection, a pacifier can help divert the baby’s mind. They do not focus on the on-going procedure which helps them stay much calmer through the process.

Cons:

Extended use can cause tooth development issues

Pacifiers, thumb sucking and tongue thrusting, if used beyond the arrival of the primary teeth can hinder the development of a proper bite. All the habits mentioned tend to place unnecessary forward-pressure on the upper teeth and downward pressure on the bottom teeth – both these can have an impact on the how the child’s jaw develops.

Attachment to the pacifier

This is a habit which can get tough to break, especially if your baby is more inflexible by nature.

It can be a bad habit for parents as well and sometimes even lead to overlooking other problems

Popping the pacifier into the baby’s mouth at the first squall, might just cause you to overlook the real reason for the tears (uncomfortable diaper, stomach ache, etc.). This will also lead to babies being able to comfort themselves/or a parent comforting babies only by placing something in their mouth, rather than exploring other avenues.

Weaning off the pacifier…

If the pacifier works for you and your baby then don’t hesitate to use it; especially at critical times like sleep time, naptime, etc. Just make sure you don’t overuse it.

Since its one hard habit to break and parents off struggle to get their babies off it; it’s good to have a plan in mind, from the start to ditch the pacifier somewhere down the line (when the one year mark approaches).

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