The need to suckle is instinctive! Baby will bring his hand or fingers to his mouth in his mother's womb. When he is born, he will want to find this comfort again! So, do we give him a pacifier or not?
Up to 84% of infants use one at least once in a while.
Advantages of the pacifier
- It is better to suck on a pacifier than thumb or fingers because the pacifier causes fewer problems for the development of teeth.
- A parent can control the use of a pacifier, while it is more difficult to prevent the use of a thumb. It will be possible to throw away the pacifier one day, but we can't throw away an inch!
- The latest medical research suggests pacifiers may reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
Disadvantages of pacifiers
- Improper use of the pacifier can cause problems with breastfeeding, teeth (cavities or overbite, incorrect way of closing the mouth) and, possibly, ear infections.
- Homemade pacifiers, pacifiers dipped in sugar solution, or pacifiers tied around the baby's neck are not safe and can cause injury or death. If you choose to use a pacifier for your baby, usethe safe way.
- It is necessary to establish breastfeeding before offering a pacifier, otherwise breastfeeding may be more difficult. An exception is premature or sick and hospitalized babies. They can use one for comfort.
- Always check if baby is hungry, tired or bored before giving him his pacifier. The pacifier is not the solution to everything! Feed him, put him to sleep, talk to him!
- Before first use, always sterilize the pacifier in boiling water for five minutes. Naturally, you wait until it is completely cool before giving it to your baby.
- Wash it in warm soapy water after each use to keep it clean. A study in which 40 recently used pacifiers were cultured found that 52.5% contained microorganisms.
- Do not put the pacifier in your mouth to "clean" it, as you risk transmitting your germs to your child.
- Always check the pacifier for cracks or holes before giving it to baby. If the pacifier is cracked or broken, discard it.
- Certain medications (such as pain relievers, antibiotics, or vitamins) can damage the material of the pacifier.
- Replace the pacifier every two months, before it becomes damaged.
- Never coat the pacifier with sugar or honey. These foods harm your teeth by developingcavities. Also, honey can cause botulism, a type of food poisoning in babies.
- Never tie a pacifier around your baby's neck. He could choke and die. Use a pacifier clip with a short ribbon attached instead, they pose no danger.
- Never make your own pacifier with a bottle nipple, cap or fabric. Your baby could choke and die.
- Don't leave your older child with their pacifier all day. It could prevent him from developing his speech and cause problems with his teeth.
- Never let your baby chew on his pacifier. The pacifier could break, choke and kill him.
Several studies show a strong association between pacifier use and early weaning. The pacifier can contribute to “confusion with the breast” or pacifier preference, especially if the pacifier is offered early, before breastfeeding is well established. La Leche League International recommends that a pacifier should never be used as a substitute for the mother's breast or comfort. However, she does point out that the pacifier can help the nursing mother if used judiciously, for short periods of time and in limited situations.
Pacifier use appears to be a risk factor in the development of otitis media. However, this is only one of many factors associated with its pathogenesis. The responsibility of the pacifier seems to increase with the duration and frequency of its use.
Tooth decay, malocclusion and gum recession are commonly cited problems with pacifiers. Most studies indicate that these problems only exist in the case of prolonged use (after the age of five) or inadequate use (pacifier immersed in a sugary solution). But a more recent study also demonstrated significant differences in the dental arch and occlusion characteristics of 24-month and 36-month users compared to those who stopped using it before 12 months. The Canadian Dental Association (CDA) recommends pacifiers over thumb sucking because it is easier for parents to control sucking habits.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
Studies show a link between pacifier use and reduced risk of SIDS. Several factors are put forward to explain these results. Pacifiers could be a mechanical barrier to rolling on your stomach. Pacifier sucking keeps the tongue forward and the upper airway patency. An infant comforted by a pacifier may not move as often during sleep, reducing the risk of being covered in blankets.
The Canadian Pediatric Society designates the use of pacifiers as a simple comfort measure to be preferred in the case of interventionsminor pain.
How do you stop the pacifier?
The child has grown up and you think it's time to stop the pacifier? Here are some tips.
- Start by limiting the period of use of the pacifier. Give it only for periods of sleep and comfort, until about 12 months of age, then plan to give it up.
- Never humiliate or punish the child to force him to give up his pacifier.
- Involve your child in the decision to stop using their pacifier by giving them the choice to throw it away, put it away, or put it under their pillow for the tooth fairy.
- Make a motivation chart to highlight your child's progress.
- Congratulate your child when he lets go of his pacifier, and tell him that you are proud to see him grow.
- Allow your child to express their feelings and, if they are sad or angry, give them special hugs to help them cope.
- If your child asks for their pacifier back (and they probably will), don't give in. Remind him his pacifier is gone and he's grown up now.