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Pacifiers - The Great Debate

09 November, 2018 | DD Staff
  • Pacifiers - The Great Debate
Maggie Simpson from 'The Simpsons'

First appearing in medical literature in the 15th century and made popular in Europe between the 17th - 19th centuries, pacifiers of the time were made of ivory or bone, with a silver handle and said to have magical properties. In the 19th century, pacifiers took the form of a piece of cloth which was twisted into a bulb and often contained either sweetened bread, sugar, fat or meat.

The pacifier in its current iteration, designed with a teat, handle and shield emerged in the 20th century. From the beginning, it was the subject of great debate which continues on to the present day. The pacifier is said to be bad for dental hygiene and criticized as something only the poorer class of people used.

Times have changed and many people see it as a valuable aid, while others still have serious concerns with how it is being used.

Wondering if a pacifier is right for your child? Read our handy guide that outlines the pros and cons to help you make an informed decision.

To gauge the pulse of the ongoing debate, we at Daddy’s Digest took to our Facebook Page and asked people what they thought. There were many interesting perspectives, far and wide, on both sides of the fence.

Visit the post above to see all the comments. Join in the conversation and tell us what you think.

Overall, we can see that every parent has different 'use' experiences, cultural backgrounds, reasons and children with varying needs. Here are some of the key takeaways from all the perspectives shared. We have divided them into benefits, fears/concerns and ways to use them.

These are the benefits people found with using pacifiers:

  • Useful to help babies sleep and be well rested

  • Helps with a child’s emotional development as they otherwise suck their thumbs

  • Helps to calm a scared or overstimulated baby

  • Useful for child development as they learn to soothe themselves

  • Can be used as a temporary solution to soothe a baby when nothing else works

  • Some said that it was better than letting the child get used to sucking their thumbs

  • Is recommended by doctors as a prevention for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

  • Helps as an aid for working parents or nannies when the parents are not around to comfort the child

Here are the fears and concerns people expressed with using pacifiers:

  • A major concern for parents was with harmful materials like plastic and silicon being used

  • Extended use leading to the pacifier becoming a crutch for the baby

  • Becoming a habit that they won’t let go of easily

  • Hygiene was another concern with germs leading to infections

  • Long-term use affecting the development of speech

  • Interfering with the child’s language development

  • Negatively affecting teeth, gums and mouth structure

  • An unnatural way of soothing a child

  • An easy way out for parents who force it on their child

  • Parents ending up depending on it to deal with crying and it becoming a crutch for them

Despite the debate, there was some consensus on how it should be used:

  • Should not be used all the time

  • Is useful for certain times and specific reasons

  • Should not lead to extended use and dependency

  • Should be stopped after a certain age

As a parent, whichever side you decide to be on, it is best to understand all perspectives and make the decision that is right for you and your child.

Please note that the points shared above are opinions of the participating audience and must not be used as medical advice. They are not representative of Daddy's Digest's opinion on the subject. Always consult with a qualified medical professional when taking important decisions regarding your child's health.


Visit our Infant & Toddler section for short snappy informative guides.

Related articles:
Why Is My Baby Crying?

Why Does My Baby Put Everything In Their Mouth?

Early Signs of Baby Hunger

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

A Quick Guide to Teething

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