Pacifiers are becoming a rather taboo subject among modern day parents. Some parents believe it’s the greatest toy for keeping your baby calm and at peace whereas other parents swear the complete opposite. Arguably, there are pros and cons to pacifiers which we’ll explore today, giving you the chance to make up your own mind on what’s best for you.
Advantages of Pacifiers:
A Pacifier Calms Your Baby Down
It’s a well-known fact that for years, babies have been calmed down by the active use of a pacifier. Suckling or sucking has a calming effect on babies which is why pacifiers have become so popular.
The Woombie Baby Soothie is a sleeper with 2 built-in pacifiers so baby can self-soothe throughout the night. Best of all, there’s no more missing pacifiers!
Reduces the Risk of Thumb-Sucking
Hand in hand in with the point above, although not a 100% sure thing, pacifiers have been known to reduce the rate of thumb sucking among babies. As above, the sucking sensation provides the baby with a soothing sensation, a sensation which is present from birth. Without a pacifier, your baby is almost guaranteed to develop a finger or thumb sucking habit.
SID Risk Reduction
One of the most heart-breaking experiences a parent can go through is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. There are a couple of studies which have suggested this, such as this one. There are also a handful of theories which detail that a pacifier will help to keep your baby rather conscious while sleeping, rather than just completely falling asleep, allowing them to not fall asleep too deeply.
Here is also an opinion that suggests that a pacifier helps to keep your baby’s face elevated from the bed, minimising the risk of suffocation.
Disadvantages of Pacifiers:
Increased Risk of Ear Infections
One of the most common downsides of pacifiers is the ear infections. A study in the mid-nineties exclaimed that a massive 25% of ear infections in children under the age of three was caused by pacifiers. In the same study, the researchers found that sucking results in an increase in fluid in the ears. It’s highly recommended that you only use a pacifier for bed and nap times.
Habit & Dependency
Similar to thumb or finger sucking, trying to rid your child of a pacifier habit can be a tough cookie to swallow. Thanks to their soothing properties, kids and babies can become extremely dependant on this effect and you can expect lots of tears, tantrums and wobbly fits when it comes to finally ditching the dummy.
Potential Problems with Teeth
Exclaimed by the American Dental Association, crooked or protruding teeth are much more common with children that have developed a suckling habit, especially with thumbs or pacifiers. A condition known as ‘crossbite’ can also develop as a result of this habit. In addition to this, this damage has also been known to proceed the baby teeth and can even cause the same problems with your child’s set of adult teeth. These problems can be resolved in many cases but can expensive if you have to invest in braces or other dental equipment to correct the damage. There have also been reports that these conditions can result in speech delays due to the jaw developing unnaturally.
Weighing up all the pros and cons, the one thing that remains certain is that pacifiers work. Not all the advantages and disadvantages will affect your baby or child and it completely depends on your personal situation and other factors including duration of use per day and the quality of the pacifier. But, at the end of the day, it’s completely up to you which route you decide to take.
Always remember that it’s highly advised that you hold out on the pacifiers till after you have begun breastfeeding and you try and rid the habit by the age of two!
About the Author:
Sandra Cobain is the head of content at BestForTheKids.com, a website that features detailed guides on toys and other cool stuff for kids, alongside parenting advice and various other kids’ product reviews. She used to be a practicing child psychologist before taking up her editorial duties.