Pacifiers…they’re a hot topic in parenting groups! Who would have known people would have such a strong opinion over these little tools!
If you know us, you know we don’t have strong opinions about much other than supporting YOUR choices in parenting! If you choose to use a paci, we’re there to help you use it effectively. If you choose not to, we’re there to help you soothe your baby in other ways.
Five Reasons We LOVE Pacifiers
- Dr. Harvey Karp, author of “The Happiest Baby on the Block” reminds parents that babies naturally love to suck! It’s a soothing mechanism and encouraged by many professionals.
- Pacifiers at bedtime significantly lower the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) through age one.
- They’re easy! Many soothing or comfort items are bulky and hard to replace (bears, lovies, etc). Pacifiers are easy to purchase most anywhere and can be thrown into a pocket or diaper bag.
- It keeps those fingers and other objects out of the mouth. During flu season we’re doing everything we can to keep items out of the mouth!
- In our experience, pacifiers often help baby sleep! They’re a cue that it’s time to rest and provide the sucking stimulation and calming that lulls many babies right to sleep.
Five Reasons We HATE Pacifiers
- They may (or may not) interfere with your breastfeeding relationship. Pacifier use in healthy term breastfeeding infants, started from birth or after lactation is established, in several studies, did not significantly affect the prevalence or duration of exclusive and partial breastfeeding up to four months of age.
- Paci attachment! Your baby will begin to rely on the pacifier for soothing, sleeping, and comfort and if you lose that thing, you’re going to be panicking!
- There is some evidence that pacifier use may be linked to ear infections! If your baby is prone to ear infections, this may be something to consider.
- Pacifiers may be linked to dental problems. Limiting pacifier usage to only when needed for soothing, calming, or sleeping and weaning from a pacifier at an appropriate age can reduce this incidence.
- So many options! There are tons and tons of pacis to choose from and your baby may or may not be picky about which he or she prefers. We recommend a one-piece, silicone soother and recommend you keep several on hand!
- Wait until breastfeeding is well-established if you are concerned about nipple confusion.
- Keep several of your child’s favorite pacis on hand!
- Don’t use it as your first line of defense for a fussy baby. Try other soothing techniques such as position changes, rocking, feeding, and comforting your baby before using the paci.
- Keep it clean! Don’t pop it into your mouth to clean it. Wash it with gentle soap and water or run it through the dishwasher.
- Do NOT put any type of sugar on the paci.
- Use it safely. Do not tie it around the baby’s neck. Check it over for signs of wear and replace when necessary.
- Make a plan for weaning from the paci. Some parents take the child to Build A Bear and let them place it inside, some have a Paci Fairy that collects them, and other will replace the paci with a new favorite toy. Whatever you decide, have a plan and stick to it!
Written by: Melissa Nauss, Owner & Lead Doula of Stars and Stripes Doulas of New Orleans