The Plusses and Pitfalls of Pacifiers

There’s no denying the magical soothing effect a pacifier can have on a crying infant.  Still, is it safe to use a pacifier in all instances? T help you make the best decision for you and your baby, we’ll review some pros and cons of using pacifiers.pacifier

Benefits of Pacifiers:

  • Suck reflex: Babies love to suck, and there’s no doubt pacifiers can often step in and provide comfort.  Even when your baby’s tummy is full, the pacifier can satisfy that urge to nurse.
  • Decrease chance of SIDS: Research has linked pacifiers to a decreased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
  • Self-Soothe: If you have a night-waker, a pacifier can assist your infant in falling back to sleep without disturbing your much-needed slumber.

Downsides of Pacifiers:

  • Nipple Confusion: Moms who choose to breastfeed may want to avoid introducing a pacifier in the first few weeks of life. When your baby is first adjusting to your new feeding routine, introducing a pacifier can complicate and confuse the process.  After the first few weeks, however, no studies link pacifiers with problems breastfeeding.
  • Ear Infections: One particular study linked pacifiers with inner ear infections, especially in children one year or older. If your child is having difficulty with ear infections, eliminating the use of the pacifier may help.
  • Tooth Troubles: Sucking on any object, including thumbs and pacifiers, can cause gaps and misalignment in your toddler’s front teeth. Due to the many negative dental complications, the best strategy is to wean your baby off of the pacifier by the time he or she turns two.

Safety Guidelines: For parents who choose to give their baby a pacifier.

  • Safety first: Pacifiers should be one-piece, silicone, and dishwasher safe. If pacifiers have multiple parts, they can break and become a choking hazard. Don’t forget to keep a few identical backups on hand!
  • Keep it clean: Until your baby’s immune system is well established, make sure to sanitize the pacifiers by frequently running them through the dishwasher. After 6-months, washing the pacifier with soap and water should suffice.
  • Let it go: Giving up the pacifier doesn’t have to be a sad occasion! When it’s time for your toddler to move on, it can help to have a “burying” ceremony, where they trade-in their “paci” in exchange for a new toy.


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