Babies find comfort with the sucking reflex. Most babies start this sucking reflex when they are in their mother’s womb. Probably, this is the reason pacifier does the magic of soothing a baby. These days pacifiers have become a must-have item in every baby registry. Parents should know the pros and cons of using a pacifier before they make a decision regarding pacifier use for their baby.
Pros and Cons of a Pacifier
Like everything has advantages and disadvantages, there are pros and cons of pacifiers as well. It is up to parents to weigh in these pros and cons, and decide whether it is the right choice for their baby or not. It is good to take advice from friends and family and look online regarding pacifier use. But in the end, it should be your decision to make.
What are the pros of using a pacifier?
Decreases the chances of SIDS
One of the major advantages of using a pacifier is reducing the risk of SIDS. SIDS is a Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, which is an expected death of a healthy baby while sleeping. This unexplained death happens to infants less than a year old. According to Mayo Clinic, “Sucking on a pacifier without a strap or string at naptime and bedtime might reduce the risk of SIDS.” There can be any reason for SIDS, and it is a scary matter for parents as well. So, parents can be relieved if their newborn sucks on a pacifier while sleeping.
Soothes a fussy baby
One of the biggest advantages of using a pacifier is that it soothes a fussy baby. Parents tend to get under a lot of pressure when a baby gets fussy. Especially, first-time parents tend to get worried and carried away when they come across these situations in public. Pacifiers can be used to soothe a baby when they get fussy or cry even when their basic needs have already been fulfilled. Somehow pacifier does the trick and it soothes and calms a fussy, crying baby. When a baby gets fussy, and you feel like things are getting out of your hands, a pacifier can help you calm the little one.
Helps babies fall asleep
Pacifiers help babies fall asleep quickly. Some babies have a hard time sleeping even though they are really sleepy. In situations like this, pacifiers help babies sleep in a short period of time as pacifiers do the magic of soothing babies.
Helps while traveling in an airplane
Traveling with a baby is already challenging. Parents have to think of many things like what to take and what not to take. Besides these, there is another thing parents need to be prepared for- ear pain due to fluctuating air pressure. It is normal for us adults to get ear pain while flying due to fluctuating air pressure. It is the same with the babies as well. If your baby uses pacifier you are in luck, because a pacifier helps babies cope with ear pain due to the change in air pressure. It is best to give a baby pacifier during take-off, landing, and during times when you experience a change in air pressure.
What are the cons of using a pacifier?
Once a baby gets used to using a pacifier, it will be difficult to get them off of one. Once the habit of using pacifier forms, dependency increases. Babies will not be able to soothe themselves and end up needing a pacifier to soothe them. And with this dependency, it will be difficult for parents to wean the babies from pacifiers. Also, parents will have to make sure that they always have a pacifier or two with them all the time. You never know when your baby will need one.
It is ok to use pacifiers until a certain age, but prolonged use of pacifiers will have dental issues. Pacifier use is not harmful to the babies’ teeth, for the first few years of the baby’s life. And if there is an issue it tends to be naturally fixed within six months of pacifier weaning. But, the problem like misalignment of teeth occurs when babies don’t stop of the use of pacifiers for years. According to WebMD, “After the 2-year mark, problems can start. Your baby’s top or bottom front teeth may slant or tilt. And the problem can worsen as time goes on.”
Chances of ear infection
The chances of ear infection are much higher among babies that use pacifier than the ones who don’t. There have been multiple types of research that have concluded this point. When a child gets sick it is tough for parents to be with the baby all the time and take care of other household stuff and work. Besides this, nobody would want their baby to have any health issues, infections, etc.
The need to frequently replace the pacifier
If a baby who has a full set of teeth is still used to a pacifier, they might start biting them. When the babies bite and damage the pacifier, there will be an urgency on replacing the pacifier. If they bite the pacifier nipple into small pieces, they might as well end up swallowing them. No parent will want to be in this situation. So, parents will have to keep monitoring their baby and also keep replacing the pacifier. The pacifier will last hardly a few days, and no matter how cheap pacifiers can be, it is not convenient to keep replacing them.
Some Tips for the parents whose baby uses a pacifier:
- Sterilize it before first use and in the initial months
- Keep it clean
- Don’t sugarcoat it
- Replace it when the time comes
- Don’t use a strap on it when your baby is sleeping
- Make sure that there is no risk of strangulation if itt is attached to a strap
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