Oh… pacifiers. They do bring peace and happiness to the household, don’t they? However, many parents worry their child might become a pacifier-addict who won’t ever want to stop suckling. Well, let’s see what we can find out about pacifiers today! Should we fear them that much? Should we praise them?
First of all: What’s the origin of pacifiers?
They were mentioned for the first time in the book A Guide on Young Children in 1473, by a German physician. Other than that, from 17th to 19th, in England, corals –a teething toy used to help babies and toddlers cope with pain –were popular, However, people believe pacifiers are both an evolution of teething rings and a substitute for sugar tits. These sugar tits (aka sugar-teats or sugar-rags) usually had sugar inside of them, or were even moisted with brandy.
So yes, pacifiers were definitely an improvement!
When should my baby start using a pacifier?
Since the use of pacifiers might interfere with proper breastfeeding, the best thing is to let babies start using a pacifier once they got the hang of nursing. The best time to give your baby a pacifier for the first time probably is when they are one month old. However, if you see they are gaining weight properly, you can do it earlier.
But, if your baby was premature –even if they have trouble gaining weight –a pacifier is usually advised (check with your doctor first, though), since pacifiers reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
And when should they stop?
Better if your child doesn’t use a pacifier by the time they turn 2. You should probably start thinking about it when the baby is about 6 months old, and start by reducing pacifier times little by little. Your baby might cry and beg at the beginning, you just have to stand your ground and they will forget about it in no time.
Is it bad for your kid’s teeth?
Not if you take it from them soon enough.
If your kid stops using it by the time they are 2 (or even 3) years old, their teeth, jaw or bite will be perfectly fine. Needless to say, most kids don’t use pacifiers for that long.
Pros of using a pacifier
- They can reduce the risk of Sudden Death Syndrome (SIDS)
- Most babies find it soothing and comforting. However, some babies seem not to need to suckle after being breastfed, if your baby is one of those, just don’t give them a pacifier!
- It encourages breastfeeding in mothers with postpartum depression (PPD). It keeps the baby from crying, which is super important for mothers struggling with PPD
- It can distract the baby in moments of distress
- It can make preterm babies’ stays in hospital shorter
- It eases air travel, since the sucking motion of the jaw makes pressure changes less noticeable
Cons of using a pacifier
- It might cause nipple confusion, which interferes with proper breastfeeding. You can avoid this by not giving your child a pacifier until they got the hang of nursing
- It increases the risk of ear infections
- It might cause weight loss or make it harder for the baby to gain weight
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