You will find here everything you need to know about the pros and cons of pacifier use for your baby.
This was something I really thought long and hard about while I was pregnant with my first. For many it is a controversial topic. Should you let your baby use a pacifier or just let them suck their thumb or fingers? Does it really matter in the long run?
These are all the arguments for and against pacifier use…
Pros of pacifier use
- Pacifiers are a useful sleep aid. It can help to settle your baby down when they’re upset. Having an aid like this is particularly useful when you are tired or have other things to tend to. Otherwise, baby will want to be cuddled, rocked and held – which will take a lot of your time, attention and energy. I don’t suggest you use this all the time because babies need human connection especially when they are upset, but when you’re feeling tired and burnt out it can be helpful.
- Pacifiers can be taken away. Pacifier use is generally considered to be a better alternative to thumb sucking, which can be a difficult habit to break in a child.
- Can help with gas pains. The sucking motions help a baby to deal with gas pains and pass gas. When a baby wants to suck from belly pain giving milk, even breast milk, can often make it worse.
Cons of Pacifier Use
- Pacifiers are linked to dental issues although this is generally associated with prolonged use.
- Pacifiers can cause ‘nipple confusion’ in breastfeeding babies. The sucking motions are different and can cause problems with latching and feeding efficiently. It’s not recommended to use a pacifier in the first 1-2 weeks if you plan to breastfeed.
- Dependence. Many parents struggle to get their children to give up pacifier use.
- Pacifiers are usually made of plastic. Plastic is becoming increasingly recognized as toxic to human health. Some alternatives are available though, like natural rubber., which is what I had planned to use.
- Cost. Like a toothbrush, pacifiers need replacing every few months. This can add up.
- Pacifiers need regular cleaning, another thing to wash.
- Your baby may not like them anyway. My son never liked pacifiers, and I’ve given up on offering them.
If you plan to use a pacifier, use it mindfully. Work it into a bedtime routine, or give it to your baby when they are in pain. Don’t get into a habit of giving it to them every time that they cry. Use a natural rubber pacifier to prevent unnecessary exposure to plastics. Even BPA free plastics still contain many similar toxins which leach and act in much the same ways as BPA.
Did you use a pacifier? What problems did you have? What did it help with? Let me know in the comments.