Pacifiers are controversial. Depending on where in the world you are, it may also be known as a Binky, Soother or Dummy.
What doesn’t change by geography, is how polarizing the little thing is. There are believers or non-believers. No one and we mean absolutely no one expresses apathy.
We at Daddy’s Digest are giving you the top line pros and cons, devoid of opinion (binky swear), so you as a new dad can help take an informed decision with your partner.
So, what is it?
A pacifier is an artificial teat designed to satisfy a baby’s urge to suck. It is usually made from rubber, silicone or latex.
They come in different shapes, some claiming to be better for orthodontic issues. They come in different sizes, varying with the age of the child using them. Not every child accepts a pacifier with ease and like with choosing the perfect baby feeding bottle, if you do decide to give it a try, you will need to start with a small selection and go with your child’s preference.
The big upsides are soothing and thereby reduced crying, but those aren’t the only benefits.
- Reduced risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). But never attach the pacifier to the child’s neck or crib with a strap as that may present a choking hazard.
- Since the baby is more at ease and has learnt to self-soothe, mothers suffering from Postnatal Depression may find it easier to breastfeed their child as things are less stressful.
- Pacifiers increase comfort and distracts children from stressful situations e.g. after a vaccination. It also provides relief during air travel.
While the cons are probably what you hear more of through the parenting grapevine, we will share them with you anyway.
- Long terms pacifier use may cause dental issues.
- Using a paci may increase the chances of an ear infection.
- It’s addictive, both for the baby and the parents.
Do remember though, ‘sucking’ to a baby is an instinct which is why it’s referred to as the sucking reflex. It relaxes them and if you deny your baby a pacifier, they will substitute it with their thumb or their fingers. If you do choose to give it to them, make sure to distinguish between their desire to suck versus their feeling of hunger. Too often parents confuse the two and end up overfeeding their children.
While we have put together this awesome summary for you, it is important to always consult with a qualified medical professional or childcare expert when taking important decisions regarding your child and their health.
Impress your partner with key facts, take better co-parenting decisions and be 'in the know'. Visit our Partners & Parents resource center for more.
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