Pacifiers are known to all of us best for what their name suggests – pacifying the little ones. It is true that calming down a crying baby can sometimes be too overwhelming. For new parents, there is no bigger nightmare than soothing their little one. Some babies are crankier than others and it sure is difficult to handle them. Hence, many new parents choose to pacify their babies with a pacifier. But, is choosing to use a pacifier a good thing? Here, we look at the benefits and drawbacks of using a pacifier. Also, we give you some tips on using them right, if you do choose to use it.
Why does your baby like a pacifier?
Almost all babies like the calming effect that a pacifier offers them. That’s because all babies have a sucking reflex and the pacifier soothes them by enhancing their reflex. Many babies develop a habit to suck their fingers and thumbs from the time they are in the womb so pacifiers definitely make them feel better. But there is a right time and a correct way to give your baby a pacifier without making him habituated to it. So, if you have decided to offer pacifier to your baby, you should acquaint yourself with its benefits and drawbacks to be informed what this would lead to.
Benefits of using a pacifier
- Most newborn babies feel anxious in the new surroundings that are quite different from what they saw when they were in your womb. Sucking on a pacifier gives them a feeling of security and this reduces their fears of the outside world.
- Newborns have a strong sucking reflex. Pacifiers satisfy this reflex and make them feel good.
- Because pacifiers help your baby to suck, they can soothe and calm down a crying baby pretty easily.
- Pacifiers can come very handy when you want to distract your newborn temporarily while giving him vaccinations or during blood tests.
- Pacifiers can also be useful to put your baby to sleep rather quickly.
- Pacifiers have also been found to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
- Also, when flying, a pacifier can help in opening up the ears of your baby. The changing air pressure due to the changing altitude can cause blocked ears and even ear pain. Pacifiers can be effective solution for this.
Drawbacks of using a pacifier
- Consistent use of a pacifier in very little babies can interfere with breastfeeding. The newborns may find the pacifiers more soothing. Also, the duration of breastfeeding is also reduced.
- Babies may get habituated to using pacifiers and may not sleep without one.
- There is a high risk of middle ear infection because of prolonged use of pacifier.
- Constant use of a pacifier can also cause dental problems as the upper front teeth may either grow slant or not grow properly.
Tips to use pacifiers the right way
If you do feel that your baby needs a pacifier, here are some tips to bear in mind –
- Start the use of pacifier only after four to six week. The initial few weeks should be exclusive for breastfeeding.
- Try all other things like changing your baby’s position of sleep, rocking him a little to calm him down or change the diaper frequently. If nothing helps, go for the pacifier.
- Choose pacifiers that are BPA free.
- Rinse the pacifier at least once a day with warm water to avoid infections in your baby.
Make sure to check the pacifier regularly for cracks on the nipple. Replace the pacifier if you find any cracks.