“Should I give a pacifer to my baby?” If you ask most people who aren’t yet parents about the use of dummies (soothers, or pacifiers: whatever it is you call them), they’ll probably proclaim that they’ll NEVER give their child one. We were one of those judgey people once upon a time… much like how we promised ourselves that we would never use treats as incentives and that we’d never hand our kid a smartphone to get them to be quiet. People change (especially parents!), so in light of this we’ve been chatting to a bunch of new and seasoned mums about which side of the the great dummy debate they’re on, and why.
Because it helps stop the crying
The thing is, it doesn’t take long for you to realise that newborns LOVE to suck and that a pacifier might just give some let up in the 24/7 constant demands for feeding. Mum-of-three, Tracy, says “If it had not been for the humble dummy, my boobs may well have turned to sandbags in the early newborn days of breastfeeding.”
Dummies can help stretch out time between feeds
For many babies, the use of a pacifier will buy some extra time between feeds. Of course we’re not saying to skip feeds, not at all, but if you know your baby does not need to be fed for at least another 30 minutes, that’s where a pacifier can really help.
It can help bubba go off to the Land of Nod
Honestly, it’s like a miracle – you see your child resisting sleep and then POP – in goes the pacifier and they magically close their eyes and nod off (full disclosure: this does NOT happen every time, nor does it work for every child, but some parents are lucky enough have a dummy-lover which helps bubba drop off waaay easier).
It can be used in the art of distraction
Once your tot is a little older, they may use a pacifier to keep calm. Sucking is a way to self-soothe and can be very useful if you need to distract them. For example, if they’re getting their immunisations, or you’re in the car longer than expected. Nothing beats a cuddle with a parent, but a pacifier can be a close second in times of need!
Easier to get rid of than a thumb
If you’ve got an epic sucker on your hands, baby will find anything to put in that tiny mouth, whether it’s a blanket, a hand, finger, or a pacifier. Some argue that it’s better to use a pacifier to calm sucky babies, as you can take it away, as opposed to thumb sucking which is a habit that can prove tricky to break as your child gets older. An anonymous mummy told us, “I wish my staunchly pacifier opposed parents had used a dummy. I thumb sucked well into my early teens, and my teeth are wrecked as a consequence. My overbite is enormous (and also I have one thumb smaller than the other).”
There is some evidence that it can reduce the risk of SIDS
There is some evidence, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics to suggest that using a pacifier at naps and bed time can reduce the risk of SIDS. This is an area that we would advise you look into thoroughly before making any kinds of decisions based on this.
It looks bad
Some parents don’t like the idea of their child having a pacifier, as they feel it may be viewed as a reflection on their capability as parents. If you ask us, that’s not so. We’ve all been there…only too quick to judge someone’s parenting style and only to be firmly put in our place when the same thing happens to us!
Buck teeth? No thanks
It is indeed true that pacifiers impact the development of children’s teeth. From jaw formation, teeth alignment and facial muscles, pacifier use should be phased out at around one-years-old. When in doubt, consult your dentist for guidance.
Aren’t they dangerous?
Pacifiers need to be used carefully. There is a risk of strangulation if a pacifier is attached to a cord or ribbon, so use common sense. Also make sure that the teat has no damage, or tears to it – kids often use them as a teether when their gums are sore.
There are too many health risks
Health risks for pacifier use include thrush, middle-ear infections and latex allergies. It’s important to read the instructions on the pacifier packaging, and always keep the them sterile (just as you need to keep all baby equipment sterile) and don’t allow the kids to share pacifiers.
So, now you’ve got the lowdown on pacifiers, what do you think – are you a pacifier proponent, or a dummy denier?
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