IS PACIFIER USE GOOD FOR BABIES?
Pacifiers can be beneficial to newborns who have a strong urge to suckle. It also helps babies in developing and strengthening oral muscles until 6 months of age. American Academy of Family Physicians state that pacifiers actually have a positive influence on kids between one and six months old. It also reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome(SIDS) in young babies.
HOW DOES A PACIFIER AFFECT TEETH?
According to American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry(AAPD), pacifiers when used beyond the age of 6 months affects the shape of the jaws and teeth. The common changes that are seen in the mouth due to pacifier teeth include the front teeth not meeting when the mouth is closed and the back teeth close in a crossbite. The key elements to a good oral development include:
Making sure your child is breathing through their nose
Stopping early sucking habits like thumb, pacifier, bottles, sippy cups etc
Encouraging chewing of regular food and not mashed food
WILL PACIFIER TEETH CORRECT THEMSELVES?
Pacifier teeth do not correct on their own which is why preventing pacifier use is the best bet.
HOW IS BREASTFEEDING AFFECTED BY PACIFIER USE?
Suckling is one of the earliest reflexes to develop in babies. Between two to six months, babies switch to a sucking reflex. Breastfeeding is necessary for ensuring a natural progression from suckling to sucking. Introducing a pacifier to a baby under one month of age can interfere with establishment of breastfeeding. Pacifiers do help in strengthening oral muscles but prolonged use can delay the transition from suckling to sucking. In the longer run, pacifier use also switches from soothing a reflex to soothing emotional needs.
PROS AND CONS OF PACIFIER USE
|Strengthens oral muscles
|Reduces the risk of SIDS
||Increases the risk of middle ear infections
||Affects the establishment of breast feeding
WHEN SHOULD YOU STOP PACIFIER USE?
Once your baby starts cooing and babbling which is at about five months is good to stop pacifier use. This is the timeline when they have achieved a good control over their tongue and mouth and suckling is replaced by sucking. Also you can use teething rings as soothing toys to eliminate the emotional dependence on pacifiers.
TIPS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
1) Restrict pacifier use only till the baby is falling asleep.
2) Use a pacifier with holes to prevent any choking.
3) Do not tie the pacifier to your baby’s clothes.
4) Do not dip pacifiers in honey or any sweet liquid.
5) Do not use pacifiers with moving parts. Use a symmetrical nipple.
6) To break the habit, dip the nipple in white vinegar, leave it behind on a holiday or pierce it or cut it short to reduce the sucking satisfaction.
In my opinion, pacifiers are a barrier for proper childhood development. Even if some parents wish to use it, they should be a very temporary measure. Anything is excess is harmful.
“Dependance is a misery!”
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Keywords : baby pacifiers, pros and cons, breastfeeding, pacifier use