Pacifiers (dummies) are You In or Out?
Yes, parents have relied on pacifiers/dummies to calm and to soothe crying and unsettled infants. Most parents swear by its effectiveness, others swear and agree dummies are lifesavers. However, many sneer at it. Others do not simply use them.
The fact is, if you are weary or tired, mom or dad, you would decide to try the pacifier in an attempt to ‘help’ your baby settle for a more extended period.
After all, some research suggests evidence that it is possible using a dummy when putting a baby down to sleep could reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. Our NHS includes dummy use in their guidelines as “It is possible that using a dummy at the start of any sleep period reduces the risk of cot death. However, the evidence is not robust, and not all experts agree’.
As you now know, a newborn infant is driven to suck on anything placed in their mouths, including a finger or artificial nipple. The benefit of a dummy is that it means baby can fall asleep in their bed, rather than on you. Moreover, separating settling from the feeding means you can follow the essential feed/play/sleep routine from early on. Some babies can self soothe with the simple act of finger sucking; hence no need to introduce a dummy.
Know that, the pacifiers shape can even cause changes in the arch of the soft bony roof of baby’s mouth, by moulding it high and narrow around the shape of the pacifier, creating a baby who may struggle to draw moms nipple or milk teether far enough into the back of the throat to stimulate adequate milk flow during feeding times.
Therefore it is important to avoid two common and harmful, practices when using pacifiers:
First, do not tie the pacifier to a string as it especially becomes dangerous as the baby becomes mobile and learning to crawl and roll, could pose a strangulation hazard.
Secondly, do not dip the pacifier tip in anything sweet, as this could introduce cavities in baby teeth.
Using an orthodontic dummy is best as it adapts to your baby’s mouth shape.
So what is considered the pitfalls in regards to the use (and abuse) of pacifiers(dummies):
Don’t force your baby to take a dummy or put it back in if your baby spits it out. Be careful about using a neck cord.
Be aware of the overuse or misuse of a pacifier. A baby may become dependent as they get older which usually starts to be an issue from over four months, once you find you are getting up several times a night to replace a dummy, then it may be time to get rid of it
Be mindful of how you are feeling as a parent when you are offering a pacifier to your baby. Is it really to pacify baby? Or, is it more to appease you?