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Did you know there are so many details people don’t know about pacifiers for babies? Many new parents wonder if it’s okay to use pacifiers when a baby is crying and fussing. If you are trying to breastfeed, you hear that it’s best to wait until a few weeks before introducing the pacifier to avoid nipple confusion.
Most experts agree that they’re safe and valuable if you follow simple steps and gradually get the child off them. When you are in the first few days of parenthood and need a break…put that pacifier in, sis; it won’t harm the baby, trust me!
A fun fact about pacifiers is that they appeal to a baby’s natural urge to suck to get nourishment and soothe themselves.
This post is about pacifiers for babies.
Pacifiers are quickly dropped, misplaced, or get dirty often. There have been studies done that even suggest that they can have significant health benefits. Some include reducing the risk of sudden infant death syndrome and helping preterm babies to gain weight. I also have found that it allows Noah to go and stays asleep longer. We got the little clips that you can put on the baby. You don’t always have to go around looking for them.
How to use a pacifier
Today’s pacifiers come in so many different styles and designs. The crucial thing is that they’re safe for your infant. You can find what you are looking for without spending a lot of money on costs.
Below are some common recommendations to avoid risks:
- Make it sturdy. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends one-piece designs that will hold together ventilation holes to let air in. Here are the pacifiers that we used with our son at that age.
- Some perfect pacifiers are by Avent. My son really likes them, and it has the ages of when the baby should use them (which reminds me we need to switch his out for a 3 month one). I wouldn’t recommend using a more small pacifier since they can easily choke on it, and it’s not a good look at all. New parents already catch so much heat from the doctors about what to do and not. You don’t need this added to the list.
- Find the correct size for your infant and baby. Pacifiers come in two sizes for babies under and over six months. Make sure you select the one for your child’s closest age. They also need to be at least one inch wide to prevent them from being swallowed if you didn’t know. As a new parent, I knew nothing about this after having a baby, so don’t feel bad.
- Many companies now list the ages for each pacifier stage, so you don’t have to worry about it but be alert and mindful since every baby is different. If you still have concerns, it’s always best to talk to your pediatrician, as they will know your baby the best and can provide you with the best recommendations.
Pacifier pros and cons
- Clean them thoroughly and often. Put used pacifiers in the dishwasher or hand wash them very well until your baby is six months old. After that, you can wash them with disinfectant soap and hot water.
- I sterilize the pacifiers every few days in boiling hot water. This is the best way to kill any bacteria since babies put them in and out of their mouths.
- Breastfeed first as recommended by your medical professional. Spend your first days or weeks of motherhood and become comfortable with breastfeeding before introducing the pacifier. Remember that the pacifier is to soothe rather than postpone feedings.
- If you can’t breastfeed, that is totally okay since there are many reasons why women cannot breastfeed. Do NOT feel pressured to do it if you are not comfortable. Again, it’s your choice, and you know what is best for you, your situation, and your baby.
- Also, sometimes you need to use the pacifier to delay the feeding a little because you may be out in the street and can’t pull over right away. Or you are in the process of making the bottle and need a few more seconds to make sure that you got it together before feeding the baby.
- Watch for ear infections since they are expected at this age. Its efforts can be eliminated by giving your baby a pacifier only when they’re going to sleep.
- Typically, if a baby has an ear infection, it will start with them tugging on their ears, and most babies would have had at least one ear infection by the time they are two years old.
Pacifier side effects
My son is still an infant, so we have a long way to go before we even need to worry about this, but for the mamas and papas in the village who are further along with their baby’s journey, this is for you!
It’s recommended to remove the pacifier by six months before any emotional attachment forms. As a new parent, I let my son lead me when he is ready to move on. Most medical professionals say that four years is the longest a child should be using a pacifier to avoid dental issues. Each child is different, so you’ll know what is best for you and your family.
If you are looking for tips on the best way to remove the pacifier from your child, see below:
- Just cut them off completely. This might work for some children, which might not work for others. Try it and see if it’s best.
- Set limits on how long it can be used. If you take the gradual method, be firm on the time limits. Daily start cutting the time your child is using the pacifier. You will probably see it for emergencies, but if going cold turkey is drastic, this is another more straightforward way.
- Tell stories to give the pacifier meaning. Make up a magical family to assist in the transition of removing the pacifier from your child’s life. If you want hacks on getting your baby to go to sleep, this post has six ways of doing it like a mom boss.
- Offer rewards if the child shows positive interactions after removing the pacifier. Praise them for becoming more grown-up. You can plan something special to show what happens when there are no meltdowns after removing the pacifier. Great examples are toys, meals, snacks, or an event. Whatever strategy you use, incentivizing your child might not be wrong.
- Consistency is key. It will not happen if you are not firm. Make sure everyone in your village is aligned with the removal of the pacifier and the removal method. Over time babies will understand it will become more manageable.
The purpose of pacifiers is to be comforting and convenient. Just make sure you re-cleaning them and do not use them after the recommended age so they can learn to self-soothe in more appropriate ways. This process shouldn’t feel like punishment, so if your child needs the pacifier from time to time, go ahead.
As mentioned above, always do what is best for you and your baby. Often, everything is so generalized that it doesn’t consider your personal and specific baby, so keep that in mind.
I’m all about taking the recommendation from doctors and other parents and spinning it to work the best for my son, myself, and my family.