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Pacifiers- Are They Really Helpful?

Updated: Jun 9, 2020

Well, whether to use a pacifier (binky/soother) or not is a big debate. Else simply leave it to your kid to decide than forcing.

Sucking is a natural reflex that is soothing for the kids. It’s a key to contentment between feedings. Hence pacifiers can come as a first line of defense. So, let's quickly look at the pros and cons of pacifiers and decide if to buy one.

Pros of Pacifiers:

  • Self soothing and calming effect

  • Offers temporary distraction (after shots/blood tests)

  • Helps fall asleep

  • Eases ear discomfort during air travel

  • Disposable

  • Easier to stop the habit (when compared to thumb sucking).

  • Reduces the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)

Cons of Pacifiers:

  • Early use can interfere successful nursing.

  • Dependency on the pacifier (crying at the middle of the night).

  • Prolonged use can lead to dental problems (dis alignment).

  • Increases risk of middle ear infection.

Pacifier Guidelines:

  1. Ideal time to give a pacifier is after 3-4 weeks of birth until your kid is proficient nurser with routine feeding schedule. Else it can lead to insufficient weight gain.

  2. Offer the pacifier only in between feeds. Don’t use them to delay the feeds or substitute for your attention. If done, this can set them into a habit that can turn out to be an ask for bedtime.

  3. If your kid is fussy, comfort in other ways like rocking, singing song, cuddling, etc. offering a pacifier will not work then.

  4. Provide pacifiers that are apt for the age and safe. Clean with warm water. Replace if cracked.

  5. Do not dip in juice or sugar solution. This can lead to cavities.

  6. Do not tie a pacifier around the neck or cloth or crib. This might strangle them.

  7. Do not provide a pacifier who has difficulty nursing or if there is trouble maintaining milk supply.

But, I'd suggest, if you have already got them used to pacifiers then try to wean off around 6 months of age. This stage is easier to curtail the habit of pacifier vis-a-vis the later ages.

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