A baby pacifier is a nipple shaped dummy soother given to infants to suck upon. Many parents consider it among the top baby items to be purchased as it can calm a crying baby. Most babies have a strong tendency to suck, hence offering a pacifier is considered as one of the best ways to calm an irritable baby. Though widely used, pacifiers do have benefits and negatives associated with it. This article discusses the merits and de-merits of offering pacifiers to babies.
One of the main advantages of using a pacifier is that it gives you time to keep your hungry baby calm till you prepare to nurse or get formula milk ready in a bottle. When a baby is extremely cranky, offering a pacifier can help. Some babies also fall asleep quickly while sucking on a pacifier. So, from the perspective of keeping your baby happy especially when your little one is extremely irritable, a pacifier is greatly useful. Some babies get into the habit of sucking their thumbs or fingers, and this is much difficult a habit to get rid of than pacifiers.
Since muscular movements involved in sucking on pacifiers is vastly different from that involved while the baby nurses from the breasts, offering pacifiers may interfere with breastfeeding. Most pediatricians will advise you to wait until your baby has got into a proper breastfeeding cycle before you actually offer a pacifier. Some babies become too dependent on pacifiers and may instantly start crying if the pacifier falls off their mouth.
This can be particularly bothersome during nights as babies used to sucking pacifiers can get disturbed during their sleep if the pacifier falls off. Prolonged use of pacifiers can lead to dental problems when the baby grows up, with front teeth jutting out or not getting aligned properly.
It is always good to see if you can calm your baby using natural means before offering a pacifier.
Try to find the cause of your baby’s crankiness. Sometimes babies may feel uncomfortable due to certain type of clothing or if they are hungry. A change in position or carrying the baby around the sometime may help soothe a crying baby many times.