Pacifier Pros and Cons
Everything you need to know about using pacifiers
As a parent you will be faced with lots of decisions when it comes to your child and their well-being. You will undoubtedly try your best to make the right ones. Sometimes you will succeed, and, sometimes you won’t. Naturally, when faced with decisions you may hop online to do some research and there you will be faced with an overload of information and biased opinions which can make it all the more difficult!
One of the hotly-debated topics is about pacifiers. Whether to allow your child to use one at all, and if so—for how long. Below are some pros and cons presented in an unbiased way that can hopefully help you decide what works best for you and your child. What’s important to remember is that you know your child best; so, you are in charge of these decisions and should follow your instincts.
The Pros and Cons of Pacifiers
- Soothing. For some infants, pacifiers can offer contentment in between meals or for when they need comforting.
- Temporary distraction. If you need another minute to prepare something, to take a quick phone call, or to comfort your child while they get their shots, etc, pacifiers can be a good distraction.
- Travel aid. Pacifiers are one solution to help ease discomfort associated with pressure build up and release in your child’s ears during flights.
- Sleep aid. Some babies fall asleep easier with a pacifier. It can help to calm them or put them back to sleep in the middle of the night if they wake up.
- Easier to stop. Pacifiers can be taken away where other habits like finger sucking can be harder to stop.
- SIDS Prevention. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a pacifier might help reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) if they suck on them during nap and bedtime.
- Breastfeeding interference. If introduced too early on, a pacifier may prevent your baby from sucking effectively during breastfeeding which in turn can effect your breastmilk supply. It is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics to first settle into breastfeeding before introducing a pacifier, typically between 4-6 weeks.
- Dependency. If your child loses his/her pacifier while sleeping they may constantly wake up each time it falls out of their mouths.
- Dental issues. Prolonged pacifier use or thumb sucking (after the first few years) according to many dental professionals can eventually be a concern for the growth of the mouth or alignment of the teeth.
- Speech issues. If your child continues to use a pacifier as they develop some language and constantly has a pacifier in their mouth during the day, they may not have the same practice speaking or annunciating, as they should at that age.
- Health concerns. Using a pacifier may increase the incidence of ear infections however, ear infection rates are lowest during the first six months when a child might need the pacifier most and the risk of SIDS is highest.
- Unsafe materials. Not all pacifiers are created equal. And you don’t want your tot sucking and gnawing on materials that could leach potentially dangerous chemicals and materials. If you do decide to use a pacifier, opt for 100% natural rubber latex that contain no PVC, BPA, phthalates or artificial colors.
The concept of pacifiers has been around for a long, long time; and, the use of pacifiers is something that is not going to go away any time soon. Being a little guy or gal is hard work—so, if a pacifier can help your child feel better than use it. If your child is not interested—great, no need to force it, there are other recommendations to decrease the risk of SIDS. You need to decide what is best for your child. If you use a pacifier there are many creative ways to help give up the pacifier when it is no longer needed.
If you do opt to use one, choose wisely and choose pacifiers that are made from natural, baby-safe materials that won’t leach potential toxic chemicals.
Our Favorite Non-toxic Pacifiers
Made from pure rubber from the Hevea brasiliensi tree, Natursutten pacifiers are softer than silicone, and are extremely hygienic because they are molded in one piece. This means that there are no joints or cracks where dirt and bacteria can accumulate. In an effort to be extra hypoallergenic, the protein that can provoke a very rare latex allergy is eliminated during production, making their pacifiers not only sustainable, all natural, healthy, but also super SAFE for your baby.
Made from 100% food-grade silicone, every time this clever Pop pacifier falls, the nipple pops back into its built-in protective silicone bubble. No need for a case! The safe and intuitive design mimics the natural teat with a gentle pop. With a gentle push from a parent the nipple is slightly exposed and there’s no need to pop it any further, your baby’s suckling will keep it in place.
Available in more colors
- As a parent, it’s up to you to decide when it’s time for for your child to wean off their pacifier. See our article on How to wean your child from a pacifier.
- If the thought of pureeing a dozen different foods for your baby makes you want to cry into your blender, why not skip it and offer finger foods right away? Here’s everything you need to know about baby-led weaning…