Read on to learn the pros and cons of pacifiers and how to determine what’s right for you and your child. Pacifier, also called soother or teether, is a small, nipple-shaped accessory that is put in the baby’s mouth to soothe him. A study of almost 500 children in Finland has connected pacifier use to ear infections. If your baby is due for a vaccination or for blood to be drawn, a pacifier is great way to reduce the pain and keep … An infant’s penchant for sucking is often satisfied at the breast or with a bottle. For fussy babies, a pacifier can calm and soothe. Thumb sucking, finger sucking and pacifier use. Pacifier use during naps or nighttime can prevent sudden infant death syndrome. Our general interest e-newsletter keeps you up to date on a wide variety of health topics. When babies are born one of the first things we give them are pacifiers. 2. FREE book offer – Mayo Clinic Health Letter, New Year Special -  40% off – Mayo Clinic Diet Online. What are the Pros of Using a Pacifier? (Of course, breastfeeding or bottle-feeding work just as well.). Download The Appto explore more tools like Planner+ and Food Safety. There are some serious benefits of pacifier use—but there are also some important drawbacks. One of the most common concerns for introducing pacifier use is whether it’ll interfere with breastfeeding. Check out these best-sellers and special offers on books and newsletters from Mayo Clinic. One compromise: Limit pacifier use to naps and bedtime, rather than allowing baby to suck on it all day. Some babies don’t have a high suck demand and simply have no interest in pacifier use. Lennox has “pacifier teeth.” Pacifier teeth is a consequence from prolonged use of the pacifier. Minimizing infant crying is especially important to vulnerable mothers who are easily agitated. SIDS and other sleep-related infant deaths: Evidence base for 2016 updated recommendations for a safe infant sleeping environment. Pacifier Usage – The Basics, The Pros, and The Cons It is a known fact that babies have a relatively strong reflex when it comes to sucking. Sometimes babies decide they’re done with pacifiers and just stop pacifier use on their own. 460x345_hw_pacifier.png. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. 2016; doi:10.1542/peds.2016-2940. One thing all babies can agree on is that sucking on something is awesome—in fact, newborns use this primary reflex as one of the best ways to find comfort. “Newborn babies cry a lot, and if you find something that’s soothing to them, that’s really nice,” says Genevieve Brauning, MD, a family medicine doctor with Novant Health South Park Family Physicians in Charlotte, North Carolina. Pro #1 | Babies Want to Suck Babies have a natural sucking reflex when something touches the roof of their mouth. Pacifier use, finger sucking, and infant sleep. Pacifiers can be a lifesaver. Message boards are filled with desperate parents trying to find pacifier weaning solutions that don’t end in hysterics. Pacifiers can also assist in reducing the incidence of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), according to the AGD. The only issue that you may run into with the lovey-pacifier combos is the fact that it can be difficult to wean your child from their lovey and their pacifier at the same time — kids can get VERY attached to these hybrid pacifiers. You should also know the pros of using a pacifier. Are pacifiers really OK for your baby, though? Pacifiers come in every color you can think of. Figuring out whether they’re hungry or just want to suck on something isn’t so much a philosophical question for infants as much as it is an observation on parents’ part. If your child has difficulty giving up the pacifier, consider asking your child's doctor or dentist for help. Make sure they can be cleaned in the dishwasher or boiled for sanitation. Oral habits and orofacial development in children. 3. A crying baby may be ready to suck on a pacifier right away, or she may grimace, squirm and spit it out. If baby is bottle-fed from the start, you can give him the pacifier right away, since the nipple on the bottle is so similar. In this post, I want to go into pros and cons of infant and toddler pacifier use and show how it has been a blessing for us and our worse enemy all at the same time. Behavioral Sleep Medicine. Find out the biggest benefits and drawbacks. A pacifier might soothe a fussy baby. A pacifier might help your baby fall asleep. Children in the study who didn’t use pacifiers continuously had about one-third fewer ear infections than those who did use them. Researchers have found that pacifier use among preterm babies results in shorter hospital stays and better bottle-feeding. Consider the advantages: Of course, pacifiers have pitfalls as well. Aside from soothing baby and reducing crying, here are a few more reasons why pacifier use is so popular with parents: • Reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Accessed Sept. 18, 2020. Cons Can be habit-forming & cause dental issues: Remember, a soothie is a type of pacifier, so it carries a few of the same cons. (Need help finding the perfect pacifier? “Satiated babies stop sucking hard enough to get milk out of breast or bottle—they might even push it away,” adds Brauning. And a great help to mom and dad. The use of a pacifier has been shown to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Pacifiers are associated with a lower risk of SIDS. If your baby has trouble settling down, a pacifier might do the trick. Not surprisingly, between 60 and 85 percent of infants are using pacifiers, according to studies. Newborns are born with a basic suckingreflex, which is activated when something touches the roof of their mouth. 2016; doi:10.1080/15402002.2015.1048451. Consider the drawbacks: If you choose to offer your baby a pacifier, keep these tips in mind: The risks of pacifier use begin to outweigh the benefits as your baby gets older. For an easier transition, experts recommend starting to wean by one year, or even earlier—by 6 months, baby should be sleeping through the night, Swanson says, and since she’s too young to argue with you, you can easily go cold turkey. One the other hand, these most common concerns about pacifier use may make you rethink that binky: • Dental problems. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "MayoClinic.org," "Mayo Clinic Healthy Living," and the triple-shield Mayo Clinic logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. The pros and cons of pacifier use are nearly even. Understand the benefits and risks of pacifier use, safety tips, and steps to wean your baby from the pacifier. “Baby will cry for a little while, but after a couple of days, he’ll adjust and figure out another way to self-soothe,” Swanson says. Long-term pacifier use can affect the shape of the teeth and mouth, especially if baby continues to use it well into the toddler years. The Cons 1. RELATED: The Pros & Cons Of Adopting A Newborn Baby. Pacifier Pros Some of the good things pacifiers can do for your baby -- and you -- include: Lower risk of SIDS. If you are unsure of whether or not to introduce the pacifier to your child, speak to your child’s pediatrician about the pros and cons and any concerns you may have. What is a pacifier? Pacifier use during unpleasant situations—like a vaccination, a painful procedure or a run-of-the mill bump—can help make baby less upset. Additionally, sucking between mealtimes can provide an improved sense of security. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here. This helps to ensure that infants get the nutrition that they need to grow healthy and strong. Nowak AJ, et al. “The way a baby sucks on a breast is different from the way he sucks on an artificial nipple,” says Leigh Anne O’Connor, an international board certified lactation consultant and La Leche League leader in New York City. Babies aren’t dummies: If something feels good, they’re going to keep doing it. “Even in best-case scenarios, early breastfeeding is really hard for the first couple of weeks,” Brauning says. Here are the pros and cons of allowing babies to use pacifiers. A pacifier is a rubbery nipple, usually made from silicone or latex, designed to satisfy baby’s sucking impulse. Honey, in particular, is very dangerous to babies under one year, as it can cause infant botulism and even death. Sure, a pacifier can soothe both baby and mom, but not everyone’s a fan. The advantages stop once your baby is a few months old. Using a pacifier comes with both benefits and downsides. Additionally, pacifiers dipped in sugar, honey, juice or sweetened drinks, can lead to tooth decay. And while there’s little evidence that baby pacifiers lead to speech delays, it can be hard—to say the least—to figure out what a toddler is saying when he’s trying to talk with a piece of plastic in his mouth. Pros. It has been established that many babies latch on to their thumbs or the fingers prior to birth. Check out our favorites.). The Emotional Impact of Pacifiers. Adding pacifier germs into the equation doesn’t help either. Soothes your baby during painful procedures. 5 The Cons – Your Baby May Suffer From Ear Infections Yes, the utilization of pacifiers comes with its downsides too. It’s impossible to discuss the pros and cons of pacifier use without considering the emotional impact of pacifiers. The pacifier is in your control. • Encourages breastfeeding in mothers with PPD. Advertising revenue supports our not-for-profit mission. via The Bump. She recommends choosing a pacifier that’s made of one solid piece, so it can’t break apart in baby’s mouth. Learn pacifier pros and cons. Pacifier pros. Infant pacifiers have different nipple shapes: Some are flatter, which manufacturers claim may be better for orthodontic issues, and some are rounder, shaped more like the nipple on a bottle. On the positive side, pacifiers provide a source of comfort to infants. Planning a trip? All rights reserved. Giving a pacifier to a baby can be very helpful and useful those first few days, weeks and months. For successful pacifier use, you’ll want to follow baby’s cues, and keep the following tips in mind: • Learn to spot the sucking reflex. “Some babies can go back and forth between breast and artificial nipples, while others are more sensitive.” They may struggle with “nipple confusion,” the somewhat controversial idea that baby may become accustomed to—and come to prefer—the feeling and texture of a synthetic nipple, and might not want to feed at the breast. There are even glow-in-the-dark ones, so you can find them at night. Most babies have a strong sucking reflex. Head here to read about pacifier weaning techniques. Any use of this site constitutes your agreement to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy linked below. • Potential weight gain. As you consider your options, check out what the research has to say about the pros and cons of pacifier use, and know that we’re here to support your decision and your child’s best oral health at every age. 7th ed. Pros Comfort. A pacifier might come in handy during and after shots, blood tests or other procedures. Some babies are happiest when they're sucking on something. Beyond helping with nutrition, sucking often has a soothing effect. 2016; doi:10.1002/14651858.CD007202.pub4. If your baby uses it for too long, it can become a tough habit to crack and could impact dental development. On the positive side, pacifiers provide a source of comfort to infants. Here are some of the biggest ‘pros’ for pacifier use. If your baby still wants to suck after having her fill of breast milk or formula, a pacifier may satisfy this urge. Pediatrics. It's believed that pacifiers can lead to the development of Otitis Media or middle ear infection. Pack a few pacifiers in your carry-on. “From a practical point of view, a pacifier is on the short list of things that can give everyone peace and quiet.” But before you register for a dozen binkies, learn about the pros and cons of pacifier use to determine if it’s right for your baby. Why the potential weight gain? Only give it if he or she is interested in it. Cavity-causing bacteria can pass from saliva in a parent or caregiver’s mouth to the baby. Uncircumcised penis: Is special care needed? http://ebusiness.ada.org/productcatalog/product.aspx?ID=615. Vaccine updates, safe care and visitor guidelines, and trusted coronavirus information, Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Mayo Clinic School of Continuous Professional Development, Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education, Umbilical cord care: Do's and don'ts for parents. In this article: But, let’s be honest, you can only feed baby so much before soreness and exhaustion kick in, or baby is full. © 1998-2021 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). If that happens, consider yourself one very lucky mom! Unfortunately, that means pacifier use can become addictive to babies and toddlers—picture baby howling at 2 a.m. when the paci falls out of her mouth, or a meltdown when it drops into a mud puddle and you forgot to pack an extra. Mayo Clinic offers appointments in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota and at Mayo Clinic Health System locations. Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5. Should you give your baby a pacifier? The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages pacifier use when putting baby down for naps and bedtime to help reduce SIDS. “You don’t want a newborn using a toddler-size pacifier, which can be overwhelming in his mouth, or a toddler using an infant pacifier, which will sit directly behind his teeth, pushing them outward and possibly leading to an overbite,” says Wendy Sue Swanson, MD, pediatrician and Chief of Digital Innovation at Seattle Children’s hospital. “If he isn’t taking the pacifier, it’s not necessarily the right soothing technique for him,” Brauning says. This content does not have an English version. • Risk factor for ear infections. PACIFIER PROS AND CONS Benefits of Pacifiers. From a positive perspective, we know that pacifiers can help to soothe an inconsolable baby and help baby fall asleep faster, and they are an easier habit to break than thumbsucking. Pacifier Cons A pacifier can cause nipple confusion in the early days after birth. “When the palate is stimulated [during sucking], it relaxes the baby,” O’Connor says. They have their pros and cons, but can be an extremely effective tool in helping comfort, calm, and sleep train your baby. Otherwise, there will come a time when you will have to do the dirty job of taking it away by starting to wean around 6 months to a year. Not all are pros, there are cons that are usually mentioned when we talk about the use of the pacifier: For years it has been argued that the pacifier interferes with breastfeeding, reducing the duration or exclusivity of it. • Eases air travel. Pacifiers come in a variety of sizes recommended for different ages. However, never attach one to her neck or crib with a strap, which can be a choking hazard. Consider the do's and don'ts of giving your baby a pacifier, and how to help him or her break the habit. Some research says they can help when it comes to preventing SIDS, as you use it during nap or bedtime. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. Mayo Clinic does not endorse companies or products. Fortunately, figuring out what baby wants will be fairly intuitive. Use praise when your child chooses not to use the pacifier. Moon RY, et al. The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages pacifier use... • Encourages breastfeeding in mothers with PPD. A pacifier should be at least 1.5 inches in width to avoid choking, and never tie a pacifier … Some babies even suck their thumbs or fingers before they're born. Butler R, et al. The Pros and Cons of Using a Pacifier Babies are born with a strong suck reflex. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Accessed Sept. 18, 2020. Altmann T, et al., eds. In addition to bringing comfort and helping control their emotions, pacifiers can make a baby feel secure. Don’t force the pacifier on your baby. The decision to use a pacifier — or not — is up to you. Baby pacifiers: Pros and cons. Easy to find the pacifier when needed; Easier for kids to put in their mouth by themselves A new Childhood Obesity study showed that infants who used a pacifier past 4 months were about 10 percent more likely to be overweight by age one and 20 percent more likely to be overweight by age 2, compared to infants who didn’t use one. The shape of a pacifier is different than the shape of the nipple. Others like to suck on a pacifier. Pacifier Pros and Cons . Ideally, for dental development, you want to try to say bye-bye to binky permanently by your child’s second birthday. The theory is that when baby sucks or swallows, there’s a change in pressure behind the ear, which may shift fluids into the middle ear and cause an infection, Brauning says. Pacifiers often are a form of security or comfort. For some babies, pacifiers are the key to contentment between feedings. When the parent or caregiver cleans a pacifier in his/her mouth before giving it back to the baby, the bacteria can be easily passed. “It reduces how a baby senses pain and makes him more comfortable.” The one thing you don’t want to do is coat the pacifier with something sweet or sticky, which can cause cavities later on. A pacifier offers temporary distraction. The study showed possible improvement in digestion when babies less than 32 weeks’ gestation sucked on a pacifier during gavage feedings (when nutrients are delivered to the stomach via a small tube up the nose). Research has linked their use to a decreased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). However, dental experts warn that once a child reaches preschool years, a pacifier can hinder the development of healthy teeth 1. In need of some tips for when and how to take away the pacifier? “There’s no health benefit that means you should push it on him.” Baby will find an alternative soothing mechanism, like his thumb or even puckered air-sucking, as a replacement for pacifier use. Since nursing is often the first line of action to appease both hunger and soothing cues, infants may feed hourly. • Too much dependence. Bantam; 2019. • Know when to quit. American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. • Distracts from stressful stimuli. For some babies, pacifiers are the key to contentment between feedings. Jaafar SH, et al. Consider the advantages: 1. This content does not have an Arabic version. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye out for pacifier recalls on the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website, CPSC.gov. Potential Problems with Breastfeeding If given a pacifier too early in life, it can potentially cause nipple confusion and issues with your baby’s latch while breastfeeding. Some babies suck their thumb or fingers. Sucking a pacifier while sleeping may lower your baby's risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The pros and cons of pacifiers; The pros and cons of pacifiers. As baby learns to self-soothe, Mom gets a little extra time between feedings, making things less stressful. The jaw and the gum tissue are very malleable, and constantly keeping a pacifier behind the front teeth after age 2, but especially after 4, can create dental problems like an overbite or cross bite, Swanson says. • Helps preemies thrive. Self-soothing: Some babies can be soothed with rocking and cuddling, and are content to suck only during feedings, but others just can't seem to suckle enough, even when they're not hungry. Effect of restricted pacifier use in breastfeeding term infants for increasing duration of breastfeeding. “The sucking motion of the jaw provides a shift in the middle ear, where the baby can feel pressure when the plane is going up or descending,” Swanson says of pacifier use while in the air. Pacifiers can calm a baby when a mom is unable to breastfeed; They are an important tool for calming babies in the NICU; Can help improve baby’s who are having difficulty sucking properly ; Sucking on a pacifier can provide pain relief to a baby Here are some pacifier pros and cons to take into consideration: Pros of pacifiers: A pacifier could save your baby's life. But first, if you are deciding whether to take the plunge to pacify, consider three things: your baby will get addicted he will not kick the habit willingly Offering both before nursing is well-established can confuse a very sensitive baby and interfere with the baby’s nursing. Continue scrolling to keep reading Click the button below to start this article in quick view. Sucking comes naturally for babies. In this case, pacifier use offers emotional support for both mom and baby. While most kids stop using pacifiers on their own between ages 2 and 4, others need help breaking the habit. So what’s the best course of action? A new study in the Journal of Human Lactation showed that mothers at high risk for postpartum depression did better with breastfeeding if their baby used a pacifier. Since a pacifier resembles a nipple, a baby can be calmed and made to feel secure.It is for this reason that babies take to pacifiers quickly. They are ideal for those times when the baby is either not hungry or too full to eat—but still needs the comfort that sucking provides. Using a pacifier comes with both benefits and downsides, according to the Academy of General Denistry (AGD). How to get baby to take a pacifier Either way, there’s little evidence that one shape is superior; it may be a matter of trial and error to see which pacifier baby loves most. Pacifier use actually allows baby to suck more rapidly—two sucks per second, compared to one suck per second while feeding—and satisfies the need that much faster. The only question left … Pacifiers help babies (and their parents) get through periods of crankiness, crying, and pain. “It’s been documented that offering a pacifier can provide pain relief,” Brauning says. When to introduce the pacifier Use the appropriate size pacifier for your child. By six to eight weeks, feedings start to follow a reliable routine, so you can tell if baby is hungry or just fussy. Babies have a natural sucking reflex, which helps suckle from the breast (1). “But they might still take a pacifier if they need comfort.”. While the researchers couldn’t settle on one specific explanation behind the correlation, reduced feedings and baby’s control during nursing were some of the potential factors. The Pros and Cons of Pacifier Use • Reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Pacifiers can also assist in reducing the incidence of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), according to the Academy of General Dentistry. Start now PRO: Pacifiers Give Parents The Chance To Do Other Things. “It’s probably a good idea to wait to introduce the pacifier [until] mom’s milk supply is well established and baby is easy and comfortable on the breast, usually between two and eight weeks.” That said, some moms have introduced pacifier use as early as 10 days without marring the breastfeeding experience. One theory as to why is that sucking on a pacifier might help open up air space around a baby's mouth and nose, which ensures she gets enough oxygen. When should baby stop using a pacifier? 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