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Guide Happy parents


number of advice: 20


number of advice: 18


number of advice: 15

A pacifier or no pacifier: that is the question.

advice in category: infant

Should you give a pacifier to your baby or not? This question has been troubling a lot of young parents. On one hand, it is common knowledge that a pacifier is a baby’s best friend and comforter. On the other hand, the pacifier myth is almost as popular as the dragon myth: it's a monster that completely destroys the baby’s bite. Where’s the truth? Probably somewhere in the middle, as usual. A baby is born with the need to suck. Breastfeeding satisfies this need well. That’s why, if you breastfeed your baby, it will probably reject a pacifier. And rightly so. Giving a pacifier to a breastfed baby can disturb the sucking process and result in disturbed lactation. It is different in case of babies fed with a bottle. They have a strong need to suck (because bottle feeding is much shorter than breastfeeding). Normally, they will demand a pacifier.

The risks of giving a pacifier to your baby are the following: infections, malocclusion, speech disorders and a negative influence on the development of the emotional bond with the mother. We should make it clear that the pacifier should not be demonised as a seat of bacteria. The idea that a pacifier is a tiny biological bomb occurred to doctors in the middle of the last century when the level of hygiene wasn’t as high as today. If you change the pacifier at least once a month, and scald it before each use, you have no reason to worry. Remember not to lick the pacifier. It is not true that this disinfects it. On the contrary, you transfer a lot of bacteria from your mouth to the baby, which can result in caries. Never spread honey or pour juice or sweet tea on the pacifier. Sugar is a perfect medium for bacterial growth. It is true that if a pacifier is used too long or too often, it can contribute to malocclusion. But if your baby has a strong sucking need and does not get a pacifier, it will find a substitute, like a thumb or a fist. And the consequences of sucking a finger are not only graver (jaw and palate degeneration), but also the habit is much harder to kick. The child will often suck on the finger even at school or longer and this could affect the growth of permanent teeth.The sucking reflex enables the baby to satisfy the basic physiological need of hunger and to be close to the mother. A breastfed baby can feel her warmth and feels safe in her arms. In order not to ruin the emotional bond with your baby, you should treat the pacifier as the last resort. First of all, try drawing your baby’s attention to something: look at a book together, take a walk, play together, or cuddle, and only if all these methods fail, use the pacifier.

1. Stimulate your baby, provide new stimuli. The more interesting the surroundings, the lesser the baby’s need to suck. 2. Never give the pacifier unless your baby is demanding it. 3. Weaning the baby from the pacifier should be gradual and gentle. The effects of a sudden weaning could be much worse than the effects of its usage. 4. The pacifier must fit the baby’s mouth perfectly. It’s best to buy an anatomical one that resembles the mother’s nipple. Remember that the mouth shield shouldn’t be too big or it might obstruct breathing. 5. Never hang the pacifier on the baby’s neck - the baby might suffocate!

If the pacifier is used occasionally under strict parental supervision until your baby is a year old, it won’t do any harm to the baby.

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