Who’d have thought there’d be so much controversy around a piece of plastic with a rubber nipple? Yet the debate rages on around the question, are pacifiers good for babies?
Over the past 50 years, there have been so-called experts who have taken a distinct stand on this issue. So where do the experts stand today? We’ll take a look at the latest information.
1. They Likely Don’t Cause Dental Issues
That pacifiers cause dental issues later in life was once the rallying cry against popping a binky in a baby’s mouth. The good news is, a pacifier is not a threat to most babies’ teeth – provided they give them up by the time they’re two. After that, there is an increased risk for dental problems such as improper alignment or a crossbite.
2. They Could Reduce the Risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
One of the most frightening threats to any new parent is the horrifying chance that their infant could die from SIDS. Nobody knows why it happens or what causes it. But pacifier use has been associated with a reduced risk of this nightmarish syndrome.
3. They May Satisfy Cravings
Babies find comfort in suckling. But attaching a bottle to a baby’s mouth every time he or she craves that motion can create issues with feeding. Using a pacifier is a much better alternative to satisfying the craving to suck.
4. They’re Good for Parents
It would be wonderful to be able to appease your fussy baby with just a calming touch. Of course, it often doesn’t work out that way. And as a parent, dealing with a fussy or tired baby can be very stressful. Being able to help your baby find peace will bring you peace as well.
5. They Get Filthy
Okay, so it can’t be all good news about pacifiers. Not to be too alarming, but when examined under a microscope, it’s not unusual to find fungus and/or bacteria on and within the nipple of a pacifier. Keep them in a pacifier holder case when possible. And be sure to wash them daily with hot soapy water.
6. They May Increase Ear Infections
Also on the list of negatives is the fact that babies who are still using a pacifier at six months of age have an increased risk of ear infections. It may be because the sucking motion changes pressure in the years and prevents fluid from draining. This is a bigger problem in babies who are already too prone to frequent or recurrent ear infections.
7. They Could Interfere With Breastfeeding
This sounds more ominous than it is. If introduced too early to a pacifier, your baby could become confused when offered the nipple for breastfeeding. This, in turn, makes nursing more challenging. Generally speaking, if you wait until your baby is 3-4 weeks old before offering a binky, it should be okay.
Are Pacifiers Good for Babies?
Just as with most things in life, there’s no definitive answer to the question are pacifiers good for babies.
But it seems that if handled responsibly, giving your baby a binky can provide peace and comfort to your little one. And you can’t put a price on that.
And for more great articles on parenting, keep checking back with our mama posts!