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Pacifiers - Should I Let My Baby Use Them?

 

“Soothie”, “dummy", “paci”, “‘fire-fire”; no matter what name you call it the pacifier can bring some much needed comfort to your baby. On the other hand, pacifiers can be the source of frustration for parents whose toddlers are still holding onto them. We’ll break down the concerns and the benefits of pacifier use so you can make the best decision possible for your baby.  

Disadvantages of using a pacifier

There are some drawbacks to pacifier use, before grabbing a pacifier, here’s a few things to consider:

  • Pacifiers can be tough to wean your little one from as they grow. It’s easy to become dependent on the pacifier for comfort and once they get into the toddler years, if they are still using a pacifier it can be a rough process to break the habit.
  • If you are breastfeeding, a pacifier runs the risk of interfering with establishing a healthy breastfeeding option. Some babies can get confused between your nipple and the pacifier. Once breastfeeding is established, this is less of a concern. 
  • It’s possible that the ongoing use of a pacifier can cause dental issues with your child later on. If you are worried about paying for braces later on, you may want to think twice before letting your little one use a pacifier as they grow. 

a mom eating an icecream while carrying her baby who is sucking on a pacifier

Advantages of using a pacifier

For as many drawbacks as pacifier use has, there are some benefits too:

  • Pacifier use is thought to help prevent SIDS.
  • Breaking the habit of pacifier use is easier than breaking the habit of thumb sucking. Babies need to suck to soothe, and some will find their thumb if not given a pacifier. When you are ready to wean them from a “soothie” you can remove the pacifier.  
  • It can be a comfort when nothing else seems to help. If your little one is hurt, just got their shots, is really tired, or just fussy a pacifier can give your little one some quick comfort.

Using the pacifier can be a big help, but the key is to not become overly dependent on it and to wean your baby from it, sooner rather than later to avoid any long term drawbacks. If you decide to use a pacifier, you may want to try a few different types in order to select the one that will work best for your baby.  

When to stop using a pacifier

You may be lucky enough that your baby decides to stop using a pacifier on their own, otherwise you may need to learn these tips to start weaning your baby off a pacifier. It is typically best to start weaning after your baby is at 6 months and before a year old, to avoid any teeth development issues.

 
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