According to Webster, the pacifier, commonly referred to as a paci, binky, soother, or pappy in our homes, is a nipple-shaped device for babies to suck or bite on. Early on in a child’s life, their parents will have to make the ultimate decision of whether they will introduce their baby to a pacifier. Depending on who you ask, the pacifier is either known to be a lifesaver, especially when it comes to fussy babies, or it is thought to be the start of a bad habit that can be very difficult to break down the road. The truth is, the parents of the child are the only ones who can make this important decision for their child. That’s why the child care Winterville NC experts from Children’s World Learning Center are here to break down both the advantages and disadvantages that we have noticed over the years so that you can make your own decision, based on what you think is best for your baby.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, (AAP), using a pacifier has shown to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). The AAP encourages families to use a pacifier when putting a baby down for a nap or to bed after the baby reaches 3-4 weeks old but advises the pacifier should never be attached to the baby or crib as this can create a choking hazard.
Since babies have a natural desire to suck, giving them a pacifier can help to satisfy their instinct in between feedings. This will also help to keep them calm and soothed if they do not fall asleep while eatingbut are too full to continue. This is referred to as self-soothing, which is when babies learn to relax without needing to be held, rocked, or fed by a parent or caretaker.
Sometimes babies will naturally start to suck on their fingers or thumbs as a way to self-soothe. That’s why some parents also encourage the use of a pacifier because it may be easier to wean the child off of using a pacifier than it is to break the habit of sucking their fingers or thumbs. The child care Winterville NC experts from Children’s World Learning know first hand that a pacifier can be removed from a child’s life much easier than the alternatives!
The main drawback of introducing your baby to a pacifier has to do with whether or not you choose to breastfeed. It has been said that if you introduce your baby to a pacifier too early, it may interfere with how well they take to latching on to their mother to breastfeed. The way a baby latches onto the nipple is different than the way a baby would latch onto a pacifier or bottle, which is why the AAP suggests waiting 3-4 weeks, or until you’ve established an effective nursing schedule, to introduce your baby to a pacifier.
Dental health is another concern when it comes to introducing babies to a pacifier. Long-term use of a pacifier can affect the way your child’s mouth and teeth develop. This may lead to dental problems, like developing an overbite or a crossbite. If your child sucks strongly on a pacifier, or his thumb or fingers for that matter, beyond 2 to 4 years of age, this behavior may affect the shape of his mouth or how his teeth are lining up.
Although a minor inconvenience, some families also do not care for using a pacifier simply because it is likely that you will need to get up multiple times in the middle of the night to put it back in your child’s mouth until they are old enough to do so themselves. When you are already running on little sleep, these minor inconveniences really take a toll on new, sleep-deprived parents!
If you are still unsure of whether or not to introduce the pacifier to your child, speak to your child’s pediatrician about the pros and cons, and any specific concerns you may have. At Children’s World Learning Center child care in Winterville NC, we will fully support your decision and will always respect your wishes when it comes to your child. We understand that at the end of the day, the “right decision” is the decision you and your partner are most comfortable with. For more tips and tricks or to schedule a tour, contact Children’s World Learning Center child care in Winterville NC today!