Pacifier are useful for infants as well as parents in many ways, but some points should be kept in mind. How and when it should be used and up to what age it is helpful.
1)Soothes the baby: Pacifier relaxes the baby. The infant has thrive to suck, sucking is a reflex (an involuntary movement against an external stimuli). This sucking reflex is present in the infant till three months of age after that it is integrated. This reflex is very essential or precursor for learning to feeding. For first three months it exists even when stomach is full, so baby’s has continuous thrive to suck. This sometimes leads to infants crying excessively just to meet the desire. In such cases pacifier has a wonderful effect in soothing the baby, as it fulfills the thrive to suck. So it is very helpful in early days of life to use it for relaxing and calming the little one. As we know ” A calm baby means calm parent”. It gives a win-win situation for baby and the parents. One thing must be kept in mind that mealtime should never be replaced by pacifier.
2) Lower’s risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS): Pacifier use during naps or night can prevent risk of SIDS. Doctor’s are not sure how it works but if you are giving pacifier you are lowering the risk of SIDS by more than half.
1) Ear Problem: According to studies, children who use pacifier are twice as likely to develop multiple ear infections then children who don’t use. But it is in your hand as ear infections can occur in infants when pacifier is used after 6 months of age. Therefore wean it as soon as possible after the age of 6 months but the weaning process should be very gentle.
2) Tooth Troubles: Parents worries if pacifier affect their child teeth, then the answer will be yes, if you use it for long term. Again some point to keep in mind if you don’t want tooth trouble.
a) Make sure baby does not use it for long term.
b) It should be stopped gradually as early as possible after 6 months.
c) Don’t add sweeteners to your baby’s pacifier as it may damage the teeth.
If you are planning to introduce pacifiers, then there are some guidelines to keep your baby safe.
a) Studies has raised concern about BPA effects on infants. Use a brand free of BPA (Bisphenol A). Philips Avent BPA free pacifier is highly recommended by parents who have used it. It is taste & odor free and scientifically designed for healthy oral development.
b) Get the proper size of pacifier that can fit your baby’s mouth.
c) Wash pacifier with soap water, liquid warm water to keep them germ free and clean between uses.
d) Don’t secure pacifier to your baby with a cord, it can have hazards.
e) Use a pacifier having ventilation holes in the shield to let air in.
f) Don’t add sweeteners to pacifiers as it can damage your child teeth.
Tips to wean the pacifier:
Pacifier is very helpful for our infants in their early months of life, but pulling the plug is important to make it worthy enough.
1) The weaning process should be slow and gradual. You should limit its use gradually. Use it at nap time and sleep time only. Wean it after 6 month of age because SIDS risk at this age drops, and ear infections after this age are likely to develop.
2) Don’t try to wean it when major transition is going to happen, like shifting a house, a change in caregiver, stress at home. So plan accordingly but start weaning process as soon as after 6 months.
3) Be consistent and persistent: Everyone who is spending time with your baby, whether it could be your caregiver, grandparents, everyone should be consistent to plan through weaning process.
4) Always use positive reinforcement instead of negative. Weaning process should not be very struggling for your infant. You should be very skillful to meet the challenges.