Binky, paci, pluggie, nuk, dummy…no matter what you call it, there has been some controversy over using pacifiers. Probably the major concerns are nipple confusion for breastfed babies and dental issues in the future.
Let’s face it – babies love to suck. It is their primary way of getting food in the first 4 to 6 months of life. It is also a soothing, comforting mechanism. Here are some tips and info regarding pacifier usage:
- If, for no other reason, pacifiers actually decrease the risk of SIDS by keeping the baby’s airway open.
- Offer the pacifier at naps and bedtime.
- Do not offer the pacifier when the baby may be truly hungry.
- If baby is nursing, consider waiting until baby is 3 to 4 weeks of age before offering pacifier, to diminish “nipple confusion” (though in my experience, this is rare).
- Look for a pacifier that is one molded and solid piece. The shield should have ventilation holes.
- It may take several different pacifiers to find the one baby likes.
- Keep extras on hand, in case one is lost!
- Wean off the pacifier by age 2, if possible, to decrease risk of dental issues.
- If your baby does not want a pacifier, no big deal.
- NEVER tie the pacifier to baby’s crib, hand or neck!
Here’s a Monty Python video about pacifiers. Some babies are truly like this!
For more information, check out www.healthychildren.org.