Should my baby be given a pacifier?
As a new parent comforting your baby is one of your highest priorities. Some babies can be soothed with rocking and cuddling and are content to suck only during feedings. Others just can’t seem to suckle enough, if your baby still wants to suck after she’s had her fill of formula or breast milk, a pacifier may be just the thing.
What you should keep in mind is that a pacifier isn’t a substitute for nurturing or feeding. It could be used as an aid, if your baby is still fussy after you’ve fed, burped, cuddled, rocked, and played with him/her.
Pros of using a pacifier
• Pacifiers are known to help lower the risk of SIDS by more than half.
• Use of a pacifier will encourage your baby to self-soothe. Pacifiers can help babies learn to control their feelings, relax and make them feel secure.
• Satisfy your baby’s suckling needs. The bottle or breast usually meets this need, but if the need persists even after the belly is full, a pacifier can help.
Cons of using a Pacifier
• It can easily become a habit – sucking on a pacifier can easily become a habit which makes it difficult to be taken away later on. It is best to let your baby use a pacifier only when it’s required.
• Ear problems – according to studies, children who use pacifiers are almost twice as likely to get multiple ear infections as children who don’t.
• Tooth troubles – make sure your baby does not use a pacifier for a long time as studies have shown that long term use of a pacifier may cause your baby’s top and bottom teeth to tilt or slant.
Remember that it is not wise to give a pacifier to delay your baby’s meal times and if your baby is slow to gain weight do not give him/her a pacifier.