Pacifier In Children: Benefits And Risks
Figure: A pacifier
Why do some babies want a pacifier?
Sucking is a natural instinct in babies. Some babies will suck their thumbs or other fingers, while others prefer sucking the pacifier. In older babies, a pacifier is a form of safety or comfort.
What are some benefits of using pacifiers?
Soothers can soothe babies. If your baby is irritable or upset, pacifiers can help calm her down. It can also help your baby relax and fall asleep.
A pacifier can also help soothe your baby during regular medical tests, such as immunizations or blood tests.
Using pacifiers during daytime and nighttime naps may also help reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
What are some risks of using pacifiers?
If your baby is offered a pacifier too early, he or she may have difficulty learning how to breastfeed properly.
It is best to start using a pacifier when your baby has learned to breastfeed properly and at least after 1 month of age.
Babies who need a pacifier to sleep can wake up several times during the night until they are old enough to bring the pacifier back when it falls out of their mouth.
Babies who use pacifiers are at risk of getting an ear infection. Also, using pacifiers regularly after 2 years of age can cause dental problems. These risks are even greater if your baby continues to use a pacifier after 4 years of age.
Dummies are germs and can make babies sick if not cleaned often.
What do you need to know before giving your baby a pacifier?
Dummies appear to be most useful in babies under 6 months old
Never force your baby to use a pacifier. If the nipple falls during sleep without the baby knows, do not leave it in the baby's mouth.
Do not apply anything on the nipples (eg sugar, ...) before feeding your baby.
Nipples need to be cleaned and replaced regularly. Buy only a partial pacifier, a two-piece pacifier may be at risk of suffocation.
Choose a pacifier that has a larger shield than the baby's mouth and has air vents in it.
Never tie a pacifier to a baby's neck or attach to a baby's bed or crib. Doing so creates the risk of choking on a child (due to a tie).
When your baby is fussy or uncomfortable, try other gentle methods before offering a pacifier. Such as changing positions, rocking gently, or singing a lullaby. Before giving a pacifier, check if your baby's diaper is dirty and hungry.
Your doctor can help you decide when your baby should stop using pacifiers. Consider discontinuing use when your baby is 6 months to 1 year old.
Using pacifiers are not recommended for children over 4 years of age.
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