Reasons to use pacifiers
Here are some reasons that can justify the use of a pacifier. An informed decision to use pacifiers to soothe fussy babies should be made by only the parents. Now, some studies have shown that the use of pacifiers at the onset of sleep may reduce the risk of SIDS that is your sudden infant death syndrome. It can help some preterm babies who are tube fed to stimulate suckling. And it can have a soothing effect on the baby in the event of an invasive procedure, like injections, blood draws or surgeries.
Possible drawbacks to pacifier use
Here are some of the possible drawbacks to pacifier use. Babies can get addicted to the use of pacifiers upon frequent or constant use then making the weaning of this habit very difficult. A prolonged use of pacifier for years can cause dental problems such as malocclusion. It may be one of the factors in causing ear infections. It can cause infections if not properly cleaned or it is contaminated. Now, due to lack of strong evidence for any of the things that I’ve just said, the use of pacifiers may or may not be recommended by a doctor and hence it is the choice of the parents depending on the need of the baby.
Pacifier and breastfeeding
We will talk a little bit about the use of a pacifier during breastfeeding. Do not introduce the pacifier until the baby has established latching and is feeding comfortably at the breast which takes at least 1 month. Offer the pacifier only after having tried out other methods of soothing first, such as gentle rocking, singing lullaby, giving a luke warm bath etc. Pacifier use can sometimes interrupt the establishment of latching and breast feeding and may contribute to early weaning from breastfeeding. Always ensure the baby is well fed before you offer a pacifier because if the baby’s hunger cry has been mistaken for that of fussiness and gets soothed with a pacifier, then we may be depriving the baby of nutrition that is required for growth. Also, suckling less frequently at the breast can decrease the stimulation that is required for milk production.
Do’s and Don’ts for the pacifier
Here are some of the do’s and don’ts for the use of a pacifier. Ensure the pacifier is clean before use by putting it in boiling water for 5 minutes before the first use and thereafter washing it with hot water and soap after each use. Make sure the pacifier you buy is a single piece and there are no cracks or cut in it. Do not put the pacifier or tie it around the child’s neck. Do not dip the pacifier in honey or sugar. Do not allow them to use the pacifier in the mouth all day or all night, just use it at the onset of sleep. It is a good idea to withdraw the pacifier in the second 6 months of life as you can avoid dependency.
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