Most babies have a strong sucking reflex from birth. Some babies even suck their fingers for soothing effect. That’s why introducing pacifiers to babies can make them feel comfortable and calm. Nevertheless, are they really good for your baby? Here is a look at the benefits and risks of pacifiers.

Pacifiers can do for your baby some of the good things. Let us have a look at the advantages of it:

  • Satisfy the suck reflex. Some babies are very happy when they are sucking. Bottle or the breast usually meets a natural need of sucking, but the baby may need it after the belly is full. A pacifier can help. 
  • Encourage the baby to self-soothe. Pacifiers can help babies to control their feelings. They feel relaxed. They can help your baby to fall asleep faster. Babies learn how to fall asleep on their own. 
  • Lower risk of SIDS. A pacifier can save your baby’s life. It is recommended at naptime and bedtime because it may help to protect babies from sudden infant death syndrome. 
  • May help you during flights. Pacifiers are helpful during travelling on the airplane. It can relieve painful pressure in the middle ear. 
  • Temporary distraction. A pacifier may help parents during blood tests or other procedures. Many parents rely on them to calm a crying baby down quickly. 

 Pacifiers can also present some downsides. So now, let us have a look at it:

  • Ears infections. This is not a case before 6 months, when the ear infection is at its lowest. Still it may cause it later.
  • Dental problems. Be sure that your baby does not use pacifiers too long. In the first 2 years, it is normal. 
  • Become dependent. If your baby is using a pacifier to sleep, you may hear crying spells at night when it falls out of your baby’s mouth.
  • Might disrupt breastfeeding. If you are breastfeeding, wait 3-4 weeks and then introduce your baby a pacifier. That way, your baby won't start to prefer pacifiers over the nipple. 

However, if you decided to give your baby a pacifier, keep these tips in mind:

    • Give your baby a pacifier when you put her in her crib.
    • Never attach a pacifier to a crib, carriage or a stroller.
    • Keep it clean.
    • If your baby's not interested in the pacifier, don't force it.
    • Don't put sweet substances on the pacifier.
    • Be sure your child isn’t hungry before offering a pacifier.
    • Never use a bottle nipple as a pacifier. 

If a pacifier works for you and your baby, do not hesitate to use it. When your baby seems to need a relief – give it to her. However, remember that every child is different with its needs and abilities.

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