Pacifiers can be a controversial subject for many moms and dads. When we raised the topic on our Facebook Page, we got quite a reaction. But why are people so passionate about pacifiers? What is it about this little baby accessory that gets our AOA Family so fired up? Let’s take a deeper look into the discussion behind the decision to use, or not use, a pacifier.
Sucking naturally has a soothing, calming effect on babies. In fact, many little ones learn to such their thumbs in the womb, and continue to do so after birth. It’s for this reason that many parents and physicians are pro-pacifier. However, pacifiers can lead to dependency and the possibility of dental problems in the future, which is why many parents and physicians on the other side of the line are against using them.
The American Academy of Pediatrics actually recommends using a pacifier when your newborn is sleeping, either at naptime or bedtime, to reduce the risk of SIDS. Pacifiers can soothe a fussy baby and can offer a wonderful distraction during shots, blood tests, or any other procedure or experience that might be uncomfortable for your baby. They can make travel easier, might help your newborn fall asleep faster, and are easy to use and dispose of.
However, pacifiers could possibly interfere with breast feeding because sucking on a pacifier is different then what is needed for breastfeeding, and thus the baby’s sucking habits might change. Your little one could become overly dependent on the pacifier in order to fall asleep or feel soothed. Pacifiers have been associated with middle ear infections as well. And there is always the risk for dental problems later in life.
At AOA, we let parents come to this pacifier decision on their own. It can be another one of those small decisions that weight heavy on a parent’s mind, and so we are here for discussion to help you work out your pros and cons.