You must have heard a lot of stories about pacifiers, mostly negative opinions. But pacifiers became my best friend after the birth of my second child because I used to live alone without any family support and taking care of 2 young children was a big challenge.
My first child didn’t take any pacifier but my second and third child did. So it depends on the child if he/she want to use the pacifier or not (you can’t force them)
Using a pacifier for a baby
Yes, excessive use of everything is bad and can cause damage. But using pacifiers in a proper way can be very helpful for new moms.
Using pacifiers for babies can offer several benefits (specially in early few months), although it's important to note that individual preferences and needs can vary. Here are some potential benefits of using pacifiers.
Soothing and Comfort
Sucking is a natural reflex for babies, and pacifiers can provide a source of comfort and soothing. They can help babies self-soothe and calm down, especially in situations like bedtime or during fussy moments.
Reduced SIDS Risk
There is some evidence to suggest that using a pacifier during sleep can potentially reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). However, it's important to follow safe sleep guidelines, including placing babies on their backs to sleep and ensuring a safe sleep environment.
Pacifiers can offer pain relief for babies undergoing medical procedures, vaccinations, or experiencing minor discomfort. The act of sucking can help distract and provide temporary relief from pain.
Transition from Breast/Bottle to Sleep
For breastfeeding babies, introducing a pacifier after breastfeeding is established can help prevent overfeeding and ease the transition from breast or bottle to sleep. It can also help avoid using the breast or bottle as a sleep association.
Thumb/Finger Sucking Alternative
If a baby has a natural inclination to suck their thumb or fingers, a pacifier can be a more controllable and hygienic alternative.
Pacifiers can be helpful in distracting babies from situations that might be unsettling, such as during vaccinations or when travelling.
Aid for Colicky Babies
Some babies with colic or excessive crying may find comfort in sucking on a pacifier, which can help soothe them and reduce crying episodes. From personal experience pacifiers helped me a lot during the time when my baby was colic.
Properly designed pacifiers can promote healthy oral development by encouraging babies to suck in a way that's less likely to lead to orthodontic issues. However, it's essential to choose pacifiers that are designed with this in mind.
Pacifiers can serve as a helpful tool during the weaning process from breastfeeding or bottle feeding, as they provide an alternative source of comfort.
If your child uses a pacifier, remember these helpful tips
Never force your baby to use a pacifier. If it falls out at night and your baby doesn’t notice, don’t put it back in.
Never put anything on the pacifier to encourage your child to use it (honey, sugar).
Always buy one-piece pacifiers. Two-piece pacifiers can break and become choking hazards.
Never add a tie or ribbon to the pacifier. Never tie it around your child or the bed. It can strangle your baby.
Chose a pacifier that has a shield that is wider than your child’s mouth. Make sure the shield has hole in it.
When trying to calm your baby, try other methods first. This includes rocking, singing, or holding. Offer the pacifier last.
Check to see if your baby is hungry or needs a diaper change before you offer a pacifier.
Disclaimer: Do remember, this is one mothers point of view. There may be others, all points are fine as long as it works for your baby.
Your doctor can help you decide when your child should stop using a pacifier. Consider stopping when your baby is 6 months to 1 year of age. Pacifier use is not recommended for children older than 3 years of age.
If your baby is not taking any pacifier, its perfectly fine. It means he/she is happy without it. He/she doesn’t need one. Every child is different and so are their needs.