As a new mum, you undoubtedly want the best for your infant. It is important to make sure the mental and physical health of your infant is in check. One of the most common moods boosters parents use for their infants is pacifiers.
Pacifiers can help your baby calm down when they throw tantrums. However, before you give your baby a pacifier, it would be best to weigh the pros and cons of this plastic teat.
Pacifiers do not cause Gas
Contrary to popular belief, pacifiers do not cause gas in babies. Gas in babies often occurs when your baby swallows a lot of air in between feedings. This, in turn, can cause pain in the stomach and cause excessive crying among babies.
Pacifiers can provide relief in such instances. Immature digestive systems and various allergies are also associated with gas in babies. If your baby experiences colic pain for an extended period, consider seeing a medical professional.
Advantages of using a pacifier
There are various benefits of using a pacifier for your child. Let’s look at some of them below.
- Some child experts report that pacifiers protect your child from sudden death infant syndrome. When you give your baby a pacifier during naptimes and bedtime, it will help them stay active. Hence, this will reduce the chances of them dying prematurely.
- A good percentage of children often want to feel that they are sucking something in their mouths all the time. Pacifiers will help them satisfy this need.
- Pacifiers can also help in providing relief from pain. If your infant recently underwent a medical procedure that’s causing them discomfort, consider giving them a pacifier.
Infants who recently received a painful vaccine or are sick can feel better when they suck a pacifier. Moreover, pacifiers can help your baby throw fewer tantrums when they are in discomfort.
- Some child experts report that giving babies pacifiers makes it easier to feed in the long run. Babies who use pacifiers don’t have a hard time during weaning.
- Pacifiers give parents a break from breastfeeding. As a parent, you can always rest and have a nap when you give your baby a pacifier.
- Sucking a pacifier helps in reducing ear pressure, especially when traveling by air. So, the next time you plan to travel with your infant, carry a pacifier with you. It will make your baby more comfortable.
Disadvantages of pacifiers
Although pacifiers are beneficial to your children, they carry several drawbacks. Below are some of the downsides of using pacifiers.
- Occasionally, giving your baby a pacifier at a very early age can lead to problems with breastfeeding. In particular, it will affect how a baby latches. This can lead to sore breasts or mastitis.
When your baby does not breastfeed properly, they won’t get sufficient nutrients to help them grow. Experts often discourage using a pacifier on babies less than three or four weeks.
- In some instances, a pacifier will replace your feeding time. As a result, your baby won’t breastfeed properly. This makes them weaker and more immune to diseases.
- Child experts report that giving your baby a pacifier can lead to severe ear infections. Thus, it would be best to stop giving your baby a pacifier when they get to six months.
- Pacifiers tend to fall on the ground. Thus, they get in contact with harmful microorganisms that could lead to stomach upset in your babies. At times, parents can easily forget to sanitize them. So, ensure you frequently clean and sanitize your baby’s pacifiers.
- Another disadvantage of using a pacifier is that it can lead to orthodontic problems in the future. Excessive use of pacifiers can lead to open bites. Subsequently, they affect the overall health of your child.
- Babies tend to get addicted to pacifiers. Therefore, forcing your child to stop using their pacifier can be challenging.
When is it ok to give a breastfed baby a pacifier?
Generally, you can give your baby a pacifier anytime from birth. However, it is not advisable to give babies less than three to four weeks a pacifier. This is because they may end up developing breastfeeding problems.
The best time to give your baby a pacifier is when they are three to six months old. Choosing a pacifier that perfectly fits your child’s mouth to avoid any oral complications is essential. Moreover, it would be best if you chose a pacifier specifically designed for sensitive skin.
Ensure that your baby knows how to latch correctly before you start giving them a pacifier. Also, ensure that the pacifier does not affect feeding times. Do this by giving your baby a pacifier when it’s close to feeding time.
Remember, your child has to obtain the right nutrients to grow healthy. Additionally, it is important to note that babies are different. Thus, different children react differently to such experiences.
So, how do I introduce my baby to a pacifier?
As mentioned earlier, babies are different. Thus, you need to know what works for your child. When introducing a pacifier to your baby, you might want to consider the following.
- Before introducing a pacifier to your baby, ensure you clean and sanitize it thoroughly. Keep in mind that pacifiers tend to fall to the ground frequently. Thus, you will need to wash them frequently.
- Pass the pacifier teat around the baby’s lips. Doing this will automatically cause a reflex reaction. And your baby will start sucking the pacifier. Ensure the pacifier is neither too big nor small for your baby.
- As the pacifier teat touches your baby’s lips, you need to observe their reaction keenly. If your little one opens their mouth, this means they are looking for something to suckle. On the other hand, if they seem uninterested in the pacifier, let them be and try the same action after some time.
- When your baby seems receptive to the pacifier, they are likely to love the experience. With time, they’ll get used to using the pacifier.
Note that you have to be patient with your baby. If you force the pacifier on your baby, they may not be responsive to the pacifier. Give your baby some time to explore and discover the pacifier. Eventually, they’ll become familiar with it.
Safety Tips when using pacifiers
You have to adhere to certain safety precautions when using a pacifier. Remember that pacifiers can lead to certain health hazards since they are more susceptible to getting in contact with harmful microorganisms.
- Ensure you give your baby a pacifier that is in one piece. A two-piece pacifier can lead to choking in children.
- You need to disinfect and clean your baby’s pacifier from time to time to prevent contamination. As seen earlier, pacifiers tend to fall frequently. When cleaning your pacifier, you need to follow all your manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning it.
- Avoid hanging a pacifier on your baby’s neck. This can strangle them, especially during naptime and bedtime. Put away all types of cords from your baby.
- Never use a bottle nipple as your pacifier. Doing this can cause your baby to choke.
- Always use the right pacifier size for your baby. Smaller pacifiers can choke your children, while larger pacifiers can lead to severe dental problems.
- When buying a pacifier, don’t buy a latex one. Some children are allergic to latex.
Pacifiers pose several advantages and disadvantages to children. Therefore, before using them, weigh their pros and cons. However, note that pacifiers do not cause gas in babies. Instead, they can help relieve your baby from colic pain.
When using pacifiers, ensure you exercise all safety precautions and introduce them when your child is the right age.