I love pacifiers.
Forget how great they are for babies for a second. Pacifiers should be marketed as a new mom sanity saver.
For a fussy baby, it’s sometimes nothing short of magical how awesome they are at calming them down.
Unfortunately, while for some parents pacifiers are a godsend, some moms find that their children, especially those that are breastfed, want nothing to do with them.
This list is specifically for breastfed babies, but the truth is, they’re good for ANY baby, even if they’re fed formula or drink from a bottle.
I’ll show you 5 of the absolute best pacifiers: one of them should be in every mom’s arsenal!
My 5 Favorite Pacifiers: The Good Stuff
Philips Avent Soothie
These soothers are often given out in hospitals to newborn babies, so you know they’re good. They’re soft and comfortable and great for newborns. Highly recommended.
WubbaNub Tabby Kitten
I love these cute little guys! Not only are they adorable, but the design makes it easy to keep track of the pacifier; it’s almost impossible to lose them. It also makes it very easy for children to hold on to.
Mustachifier, The Gentleman Mustache Pacifier
Okay, yes, this is a novelty pacifier, but I couldn’t resist adding it to the list. While it is, at first glance, just cute and funny, it’s also a great soother. Trust me, if you get this one for your baby, they’ll be the center of attention everywhere you go.
MAM Air Silicone Pacifier
These have holes in the shield to let your baby’s skin breathe; an excellent idea that should be in more binkies. It also functions to stop the collection of saliva in the shield; this can actually be a common problem. Not so with the MAM Air Silicone.
Philips Avent Translucent Orthodontic Infant Pacifier
These have an orthodontic design, making them great for parents who have concerns over their child’s dental development. The collapsible nipple conforms with the baby’s palate, making it less likely for it to effect it.
Why Do I Want To Use a Pacifier?
Pacifiers do just what the name implies (if you’re lucky), they pacify and comfort baby by using their natural suckling instinct.
Not only that, but studies by the American Academy of Pediatrics have shown a direct link between the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and the use of pacifiers; the reasons why aren’t known exactly, but there has shown to be a direct link.
A big advantage of pacifiers is that they tend to keep children from developing the habit of sucking on their thumbs. That can be a really hard habit to break (trust me) so it’s well worth having some pacifiers around.
When Should I Introduce My Baby to The Pacifier?
It’s recommended that you wait at least 3-4 weeks before introducing your breastfed baby to a pacifier or any sort of artificial nipple, and that includes baby bottles.
Personally, I’d recommend waiting even longer until mom’s milk supply is well established, which should be about 6-8 weeks. That way your supply is well-established and you won’t lose any needed nipple stimulation to the pacifier.
Are There Any Disadvantages to Using Pacifiers?
There are some proven and unproven disadvantages and risks to using pacifiers that you should be aware of.
They Could Interfere With Breastfeeding
First of all, early pacifier use is sometimes associated with an interference to breastfeeding.
There is a definite difference to sucking on a nipple and a pacifier, and babies tend to be very conscious of that difference. Early pacifier usage is linked to decreased exclusive breastfeeding and a lower duration of breastfeeding overall, although.
As mentioned, it’s best to wait at least 4-6 weeks before introducing a pacifier to avoid these issues.
Increased Risk of Inner-Ear Infections
Another risk associated with pacifiers is an increased risk of inner-ear infections; the risk is greatest around 6 months to 2 years of age.
However, the risk of ear infections is highest during the early months when the risk of SIDS is highest, and therefore many experts suggest that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.
Prolonged Pacifier Usage Could Lead To Possible Dental Issues
Pacifier use past the age of 2 years old can affect the development of the palate; the front teeth on the top and bottom becoming misaligned.
If you’re worried about this, just ask your doctor or dentist; they should be able to figure out whether or not your child is developing any kind of jaw or dental issues due to their pacifier use.
When Should I Stop Using Pacifiers?
Generally, extended pacifier usage is not recommended; it can lead to various issues that just aren’t worth it. Experts recommend stopping pacifier usage around 2 years of age, although up to 4 years old isn’t unheard of, but it’s pushing it.
Most kids will have no trouble stopping their usage on their own, but some will need extra help in doing so. Here are some tips to make it easier to wean your child off of their pacifier:
- Infants & Younger Children can be aided in weaning off the pacifier with swaddling, rocking, singing, soft music or massage.
- Older Infants & Children prefer toys or activities to distract them from the pacifier. You might also consider objects they like, such as blankets or specific toys.
Pacifier Do’s & Don’ts
- Do keep the pacifier clean. They collect bacteria and germs rapidly, so wash and sterilize it regularly. You can simply throw them in the dishwasher (if they’re dishwasher safe) or boil them in hot water before giving them to baby.
- Do let your baby dictate how they use the pacifier. Don’t force it! If the pacifier falls out of their mouth and they don’t seem to want it, let it be; babies know best when it comes to pacifiers.
- Do wait until the breastfeeding routine is well-established, meaning at least 4-6 weeks. This will minimize the chances of their being any kind of interruption due to pacifier use.
- Do offer the pacifier during times you know baby isn’t hungry. A hungry baby will only get cranky if they expect a nipple but only get the rubber one.
- Don’t coat the pacifier in sugar or any other sweet substance in an attempt to get them to use it. This can lead to caveties.
- Don’t use the pacifier as a replacement for your attention or to delay feeding time. Having said that, they can be a godsend if you’re somewhere where you just can’t give your full attention, such as in a busy checkout line or at the airport. Just use your judgement!
- Don’t tie the pacifier to your baby, the crib or stroller, or anything at all for that matter. This is a definite strangulation hazard, and it’s not that big of a deal if it falls on the floor. Just sterilize it and it’s good as new.
Is There Any Situation When I Shouldn’t Give Baby a Pacifier?
If your baby is having trouble gaining weight, it’s not a good idea to introduce a pacifier, or if you’re having difficulties with breastfeeding.
There’s no need to complicate things by throwing a pacifier into the mix.
Having said that, if your baby is premature or feeding well and just not gaining weight, this may not apply, especially because of the defense against SIDS that pacifiers offer. Just talk to your doctor to discuss the situation.
Also, if your child has been having issues with ear infections, you’ll probably want to hold off with the pacifier, as they do increase the risk of such infections.
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