When to Start Using a Pacifier

A strong sucking reflex is a reflex most baby’s possess. It is common to find babies who suck their thumbs or fingers. Sucking, apart from its nutritional effect, also provides a smoothing and calming effect for the baby. Most parents consider pacifiers to be as important as baby swings and diaper wipes.

This article will help you understand the benefits and the risks that are involved when you use a pacifier. Moreover, you will also learn about important safety tips and the steps to take when you want to wean your baby from a pacifier.

When to Start Using a Pacifier

Howard Reinstein, an American Pediatrician in Encino, California and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics advises nursing mothers to hold off pacifiers and bottle-feeding until breastfeeding is going smoothly. The introduction of a Pacifier can be as early as two weeks and others may delay until the sixth week or even more. The reason for holding off a pacifier until breast milk flow is consistent is so that the baby does not develop a condition called, “nipple confusion” by pediatricians and lactation consultants. Nipple confusion is a condition whereby the baby gets so acquainted to the artificial nipples or pacifier when she is hungry that, the baby has trouble latching on to the breast. This is because the baby finds the artificial nipple more comfortable and easier to use.

Reinstein advises nursing mothers who do not want to give their babies pacifiers, to adopt new ways to satisfy the baby’s sucking urges. These new ways can be, giving the baby bottle or breast. Other techniques that you can use to help soothe your baby include, carrying your baby in a front pack, playing soothing music, singing or even rocking your baby.

Tips on Using a Pacifier

As a nursing mother, if you ever decide to use a pacifier, here are some important guidelines you need to adhere to:

  • The decision to use a pacifier should be guided by your baby. It is important that you respect the preference of your baby. If you baby loves the pacifier immediately, then go ahead and give it to her. If she does not like it, do not force it at all.
  • Moreover, only offer the pacifier when the baby is not hungry, the suitable time would be in between meals.
  • A pacifier should never be used as a replacement for feeding or as a substitute to give your baby the attention she deserves.
  • A pacifier can be given before the baby sleeps. Try cuddling, rocking or singing before you use a pacifier when you are attempting to comfort your baby.
  • A pacifier should never be tied around the baby’s neck or crib. A pacifier when tied to baby’s neck can strangle the baby. You can attach the pacifier to the babies’ clothes with the clip that was made especially for that.
  • Keep the pacifier clean by rinsing it with warm water. When you see small cracks or any signs of wear and tear on the pacifier, replace it immediately.
  • A pacifier should never be cleansed by putting it in your mouth. Moreover, do not dip your baby’s pacifier in juice or sugar water.

When Should You Not Give Your Baby a Pacifier?

There are certain times it is inappropriate for you to give your baby a pacifier. If your baby is having problems gaining weight, then do not give your baby a pacifier. Moreover, if you are experiencing difficulties nursing your baby or even maintaining milk supply, then it is best that you do not use a pacifier for the meantime. If your baby has also had episodes of ear infections, then do not give her a pacifier at all.

Pros and Cons of Using a Pacifier

Pros

Some advantages of using a pacifier include:

Better mood

A pacifier can make a baby happy. Some babies easily forget about their fussing and are the happiest when they are sucking on something.

Distraction

A pacifier can serve as a temporary distraction from pain during blood tests, taking a shot or other medical procedures.

Better sleep

Is your baby having difficulties falling asleep? A pacifier may be the solution to help your baby settle down and fall asleep.

Use on the plane

Sometimes during flights, a pacifier is the only way you can ease a discomforted baby.

Easier to get rid of

When you teach a baby to suckle on pacifier instead of her thumbs or fingers, you can easily dispose of it when the time comes.

Cons

There are a few drawbacks associated with the use of a pacifier, which include:

Interfere with breastfeeding

Introduction of a pacifier early may sometimes interfere with breastfeeding. The difference between sucking a pacifier and breast may seem small, but babies are very sensitive to this difference and it might put the baby off from breastfeeding.

Baby becomes addicted to pacifier

It is very probable that your baby may become addicted to the pacifier. As a nursing mother you may have to wake up frequently in the middle of the night especially if your baby is addicted to the pacifier and she sleeps with it in her mouth. The pacifier may fall off during the sleep and the baby might cry.

Ear infection

The use of a pacifier may increase the risk of middle ear infections.

Dental problems

Dental problems may occur as a result of prolonged use of a pacifier. Normal usage of a pacifier during the early stages of life does not cause dental problems. A prolonged usage of a pacifier may cause your baby’s upper front teeth to not come out properly or slant out.

Watch a Video

This video will show you, the importance of a pacifier and it will attempt to answer the question, “Pacifier good or bad.” You will also learn how to choose the right pacifier and how to clean your baby’s pacifier.

 
 
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