Wondering if it safe to give your baby a pacifier? Confused about the different opinions?
Don’t worry mommy..
This article is the right place for you, we will cover:
- Pros & Cons of using a pacifier
- How to pick the right one for your baby
- How to take it off
- And a lot more…
Let’s now dive in…
True and False about baby pacifiers
All pacifiers look the same
You have surely noticed that there is no question of giving a baby a pacifier that is not his, or in any case that is not the same as his.
Everyone has their own pacifier because they are not all alike.
They do not have the same shapes or the same sizes and are not designed in the same materials. And that can make the difference.
The concept of size is ultimately relatively unimportant and some babies remain faithful to their first pacifiers, those stamped “newborn”.
However, if manufacturers design pacifiers with shields of different sizes, it is to guarantee maximum comfort to babies during the different phases of their development and to promote good retention of the pacifier in the mouth.
On the other hand, the shapes are important, the teat of some pacifiers being more ergonomic than others, more respectful of the physiology of babies, and therefore less at risk for their future teeth.
Clearly, all pacifiers are not the same!
In terms of materials, they are either silicone or latex, a fairly resistant natural rubber.
Silicone breast shields are more flexible, thinner, and well suited to the little ones.
Rubber ones are stronger and better withstand a young child’s sharp teeth.
However, they can degrade more easily and leave a bad taste in the mouth. And above all, because of their thickness, the pressure exerted during suction may cause dental problems…
Which later can lead to orthodontic treatments.
The baby’s pacifier should be replaced regularly
On average every three months. It can soften (if it is rubber), or even crumble over time.
And this is necessary, even if it seems to be in good condition!
The longer the babies use the paci the more essential it becomes for them: they have fun biting and tearing it with their sharp little teeth.
Not to mention that they play with it, shoot it, put it in the mouth, remove it, throw it, etc.
So if the mother notice such behaviors, she has to be extra careful and reserve the pacifier for specific moments, like when they cry.
When the pacifier becomes a ‘playmate’, this is probably also the time to start ‘weaning’ gently.
No need to check the baby’s pacifier every day!
On the contrary, it must be done every day and even each time you are going to give it to the baby
It is a small, easy gesture that should become a reflex because it ensures that the pacifier is in good condition and that the baby can suck it safely.
With one hand you take the outer part of the paci, and pull it with the other hand to make sure that it resists well.
This precaution is indicated on all packaging in these terms: ” Before each use, carefully examine the pacifier. Pull it in all directions. Throw it away at the slightest sign of deterioration or fragility.”
Also, check the pacifier when babies are teething.
Children may bite it as long as they have a hole in it (it is better to offer them a teething ring!)
At the slightest sign of deterioration, do not hesitate to throw it away.
The pacifier protects against the Unexpected Death of the Infant.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, pacifiers reduce the risk of Unexpected Death of the Infant (ANI), although it has not been shown that using it interferes with breastfeeding or causes dental problems later.
Infants using pacifiers have a lower risk of NID.
This is also why the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the systematic using it in babies from the age of 6 weeks to the age of 1 year.
The researchers believe that the protective mechanism is probably due to more frequent swallowing and arousal reactions and the decrease in gastroesophageal reflux through the nipple.
We can hang it on the blanket and use it without a clip
Attaching the paci to the child’s blanket may seem practical to moms.. One does not go without the other at nap or bedtime for example, or in the event of fatigue or blues.
However, this is not a good idea.
A blanket, even a small one, is too heavy and creates too much pressure which accentuates a gap (the hole created by the pacifier between the top and bottom teeth).
Even a baby with his paci should be able to almost close his mouth. It is about his future dentition.
That said, the pacifier clips must meet safety standards (NF EN 12586/2007): the strap must not exceed 110 mm (risk of strangulation).
And it is better to opt for a clip with a clasp/clip that automatically detaches when the strap is stuck.
Remind moms to never put their baby to bed with the pacifier clip!
And ban the ribbon, as pretty as it is!
The pacifier can delay language learning
Researchers have found a link between oral-motor movements and the auditory perception of language.
They explain that toddlers perceive sounds all the better when they can free their tongue to repeat them.
And it is the processing of sounds that then allows them to access language.
From about 18 months, it is imperative to reserve using it at certain times of the day: quiet and rest times, great sorrows, or fatigue.
It should be avoided that kids keep it in the mouth during awakening activities and play sequences! Because these are moments when they express themselves, tell and tell each other stories, dialogue, etc.
As long as they are baby teeth, it doesn’t matter if they are askew!
Of course, baby teeth fall out, but their positioning prefigures that of the permanent teeth, especially since the paci will be used beyond the child’s three years of age.
Indeed, its prolonged and intensive use will impose such pressure against the teeth and the palate that it will cause a lasting deformation of the dental arch and the palate.
These deformations will lead to poor positioning of the permanent teeth which will require more or less heavy orthodontic treatment.
Weaning off a pacifier
Sooner or later the moment will come when the paci will have to be abandoned. Every parent understands this.
When is the best time to start this complex process and how long should it take?
It is recommended to start weaning from 2 years and finish at a maximum of 4 years. But as for the duration of the transition period, the opinions of pediatricians differ.
There are 3-day pacifier-free strategies, but phasing-out methods are also viable, over many months.
Parents can choose what is suitable for them…
3-Day Pacifier Dropping Method
Begin mentally preparing your little one to give up the pacifier.
Before bed, talk to your child about how big he has become, and how proud you are of his achievements.
Next, tell your child that it is time to say goodbye to the pacifier.
Don’t drag out the conversation for too long, keep it around a minute or two.
If the child is worried or upset, support him by saying that you understand his feelings.
Repeat your short pacifier discard conversation twice that day.
Warn your child that tomorrow he will need to give up the bad habit.
Keep your promise as tactfully but firmly as possible.
You can tell your child that their pacifier will be recycled to make new teats for young kids.
Phasing out the pacifier
Start taking off the pacifier in those moments when the baby is as calm as possible and busy with exciting games.
As a rule, it is better to start this process at home, where the comfort zone is maximum. Then gradually begin to prohibit its use outside the home.
The last step will be a complete rejection of the pacifier.
For such an important step, you can attract allies to your side. They can be both fairy-tale characters and real people.
For example, you can say that Santa Claus collects pacifiers from adult children on New Year’s Eve to give them to the little ones.
Or you can arrange with a doctor who will exchange a pacifier for a toy the baby wants during the examination.
After the age of two, children are more likely to find alternatives to pacifier sucking as a relaxation agent.
Various new activities and games that become available with the ability to walk, run, and talk may well replace a pacifier for a baby.
Parents need to be patient in this difficult but important journey.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the right pacifier?
When deciding in giving your little one a pacifier, few things should be taken into considerations, which are:
The Baby Age:
In some infants, the sucking reflex begins during their fetal life, at which point the baby is still like thumb sucking. But in the majority of cases, the need to suck begins after birth and ends when the child decides to quit…
So, when choosing a pacifier take into consideration the baby’s age to avoid a possible deformation on the palate of the child. They are available in evolving shapes adapted to the oral cavity of the child.
The pacifiers are divided into 3 categories based on the ages:
- from 0 to 3 months: can be used from birth. The size of the nipple (the rubber or silicone part that the baby puts in the mouth) is adjusted to the palate of toddlers up to 3 months
- from 3 to 6 months: the nipple is quite large compared to the first category, but still respects the palate of your little one
- from 6 months and up: they are much larger and wider to avoid the risk of strangulation
The age required is always indicated on the packaging.
The pacifier, or more precisely it’s nipple, is available in two distinct materials: the silicone nipple and the rubber one.
Each material has its particularity:
The silicone nipple can be recognized by its transparent color. It is a supple, soft material, tasteless or odorless.
The rubber nipple is brown, thanks to the latex that composes it. It is even softer than the silicone one, but it has a slight taste that probably won’t bother your baby.
If you are looking for longevity, go for the silicone pacifier.
It costs a little bit more than the rubber one, but it is stronger. Yet, if your baby is not allergic to latex and has a lower urge to suck, give him a rubber pacifier.
But don’t forget that baby is also the master of his choice, do not hesitate to have him test both subjects to find out.
Whichever one you choose, remember to change your pacifier every 3 months to avoid any danger.
Think about the pacifier’s shape:
There are two main shapes in the market.
The first is a regular round-shaped pacifier. These nipples are suitable for newborns and babies who are breastfed, as they resemble the shape of the nipple.
The second type is an orthodontic pacifier. It is designed for children who have cut teeth as it is designed to protect them. Also, this nipple is required to wean the child from the unpleasant habit of sucking fingers, which is fraught with the formation of an incorrect bite.
A good pacifier should have a collar hollowed out at the nose to allow the baby to breathe comfortably.
Also, for a matter of practicality, prefer a model with a protective cap to keep the pacifier clean after its sterilization in boiling water for 5 min.
And for the day, a pacifier fitted with a clip is very practical for easily hanging the cord on your clothes.
If it falls off, never clean it by passing it through your mouth, you risk spreading germs that promote cavities.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I take car of a pacifier?
Before the first use, the pacifier should be boiled for five minutes, then this should be done at regular intervals. Do not leave the pacifier in the sterilizing solution for longer than the recommended time. Sometimes water can get inside the nipple, this happens due to the ventilation system that is in the nipple and gives the pacifier its orthodontic properties.
How often should a pacifier be changed?
Check the pacifier before every use, especially if your baby is teething, and replace it at the first sign of wear or weakness. For hygiene reasons, we recommend changing the pacifier at least after two months of use.
Is the shape of the pacifier and the nipples it contains important?
Yes, because only orthodontic pacifiers contribute to the healthy development of the baby’s jaws and teeth.
How many pacifiers to buy?
In most cases, a baby is unlikely to last long on one nipple. This is because kids (especially those who have erupted teeth) often chew pacifiers and damage them. So the frequency of purchase depends on your baby’s habits and the material from which the nipple is made. Besides, nipples are often lost, so it is always best to keep a few “proven” ones in reserve.
In any case, a six-monthly visit to the dentist is recommended for children from 3 years of age.
The original purpose of pacifiers is to soothe and comfort a baby.
If your baby’s habit of using a pacifier lasts long, it is important to try to prevent using it regularly by the time he turns 2 or 3 years old, especially if signs of a problem are beginning to appear, such as a reverse bite (where the upper teeth are behind the teeth Below it instead of in front of it).
The information in this article is only a guide for educational purposes only and should not be construed as a substitute for advice from a medical professional or healthcare provider.