All about pacifiers
Although parents don’t all agree, pacifiers are a blessing for many babies. Pacifiers satisfy a baby’s inborn urge to suck. For that reason you may consider avoiding the use of a pacifier until she’s learned to breastfeed and your breastmilk is established... This helps prevent a condition known as “nipple confusion” which is caused by the difference in sucking technique used for a bottle or pacifier as opposed to breastfeeding. Also remember that a pacifier should never be used to replace a regular feeding or your loving attention.
Here are some other tips:
- Buy more than one. When you find a pacifier your baby likes, buy several and keep them in reserve. You’ll lose pacifiers—they’ll disappear like socks in the dryer. Keep one in your car and a spare in your purse.
- Never tie the pacifier to your child or an object. You may think of doing this after constantly having the pacifier fall to the floor. But tying it to your child or the crib, high chair, or other object is very dangerous due to the risk of strangulation and shouldn’t be done.
- Give your baby a pacifier during naptime and bedtime. Pacifier use during sleep has been associated with a lower risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
When should pacifier weaning begin?
Although a pacifier can be a great comfort during your baby’s first months, prolonged use of a pacifier or thumb-sucking beyond the toddler period can contribute to misalignment of a child’s primary teeth. Your baby’s need to suck begins to decrease between 6 to 9 months, so that’s generally a good time to start weaning. Here’s how:
- Use the pacifier to satisfy your baby’s sucking needs during the first 6 months but not to quiet her every time she cries
- When you begin to limit pacifier use, be prepared to comfort your baby in other ways such as holding or cuddling her.
- Set a goal of weaning your baby from the pacifier between 12 to 18 months. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends pacifiers through the first year of life, and most children give them up completely by age 2.