The Pacifier-Is It Right For Your Family? | Bright Beginnings Preschool

The Pacifier-Is It Right For Your Child?

Your baby is crying, fussing, gassy, and/or sick-what do you do? Chances are, you put a pacifier in your child’s mouth. In fact, approximately 75% of children in Western cultures take a pacifier. Some families are all for it, while others feel it causes problems in the long run when weaning them off. If you’re expecting or currently not using one with your baby, read on to learn a little bit more to help you decide if you should use one or not!

Pros of a Pacifier

  • Reduces the risk of SIDS
  • Helps satisfy the natural urge to suck.
  • Keeps a baby calm in between feedings
  • Teaches self-soothing strategies.
  • Distracts them from pain (like new teeth coming in!) or hunger (if you are changing their feeding schedule at home)
  • Discourages thumb sucking.

Cons of a Pacifier

  • Developed long-term dependency.
  • Potential choking hazard if used unattended
  • Can pick up germs if not cleaned properly.
  • Could discourage breast feeding.
  • Potential to disrupt teeth development if used long term.
  • Could prohibit speech when used too long.

Because the pacifier is so popular and effective, there are some things you can do to help decrease the likeness of any of the cons. First, consider only giving your child their pacifier before their nap or before going down for the night. You could also introduce your little one to a lovey, which can be taken anywhere and use for comfort. A lovey (usually a stuffed animal blanket), or a traditional baby blanket is much safer in the long term.

If using a pacifier, be sure to select the correct size (yes, them come in stages!), and if breastfeeding, be sure to wait at least 3 weeks before making an introduction. This could cause a disruption during the latching process, and also something called nipple confusion.

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