Pacifiers- Good or Bad?
Let me tell you, as pediatric nurses we rely on pacifiers daily! They are wonderful tools for a particularly cranky baby, or a baby in pain.
What about outside of the hospital? Many parents of newborns struggle with the decision of using a pacifier or not. As with most topics regarding babies- the use of pacifiers sparks a lot of debate and strong opinions. We helped summarize some up-to-date information to help make your decision easier.
A pacifier can help calm a fussy baby. The suckling action is soothing for infants.
Pacifiers have been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS. Studies have shown that the suckling action of pacifiers may be helping coordinate breathing, which results in reduced risk of SIDS.
Pacifiers can help with pain relief. With painful procedures such as shots, blood draws, or teething, pacifiers can be very useful and relieving for the baby.
Pacifiers can help your baby fall asleep.
Can cause teeth issues if not using properly. See the myth section below for proper age ranges for pacifiers.
Weaning off the pacifier can sometimes be difficult. If your child grows to love their pacifier, weaning can sometimes be difficult. Every child is different, so this may not be the case for every baby.
Use of pacifiers may cause an increased risk of ear infections. Although, the risk is still relatively low from age birth to 6 months.
Myth: a breastfed baby cannot use a pacifier. “Studies have shown that the use of a pacifier in healthy breastfeeding babies, starting from birth or after lactation is established, did not significantly impact the frequency or duration of exclusive and partial breastfeeding up to 4 months of age. However, you may wish to consider introducing a pacifier after you and your baby are comfortable with breastfeeding. It’s important to ensure that a pacifier doesn’t replace or delay feeding time!” - Madela
Myth: pacifiers will damage teeth. “When used responsibly and within the recommended time limits, pacifiers should not negatively affect developing teeth or cause crooked teeth. Experts recommend limiting pacifier use to a maximum of 6 hours per day. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends weaning from the pacifier should start by 3 years old at the latest.” -Madela
Myth: pacifiers cause colic. There has been no evidence to support this claim. Actually, pacifiers can be helpful for babies with colic to help calm and soothe them.
We hope that some of this information helps you decide if a pacifier is right for your baby. In conclusion, are pacifiers bad for your baby? No. We say use the pacifier- as long as it is used for the recommended time frame and safely. For pacifier safety tips, click here.
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Jeri Ford, RN, BSN, CPN