Pacifier to babies, give it or not? Here are advantages and disadvantages

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Marie-Ange Demory
@marie-angedemory
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Contents

  • 1 Is a pacifier for newborns a vice?
  • 2 The pacifier prevents "cot death"
  • 3 When to offer a pacifier to babies 
  • 4 Pacifier to babies and teeth
  • 5 What are the most suitable materials for the pacifier for newborns 
  • 6 How long to give the kennel to newborns 

And here we are at another of the doubts that haunt new parents: is it appropriate to give a pacifier to newborns or is it better to leave it alone? The schools of thought are different. Some will tell you that there is nothing wrong with proposing it to the little ones, while for others the pacifier is an "object of the devil" that twists the teeth and is then impossible to remove. In fact, as in all things, there are pros and cons and now let's see why.



Is the pacifier for babies a vice?

First of all, let's debunk a very common misconception: the pacifier is not a vice. Babies come into the world with the need to suck, it is an instinctive fact of fundamental importance: this is how they feed. They already suck in the belly. Maybe during an ultrasound you will have seen it with your thumb in your mouth. Therefore, it is a completely innate gesture.

For a newborn, sucking is consoling, reassuring him and giving him pleasure. And did you know that it also has an analgesic effect in premature babies? So why sucking on your thumb, pacifier, or piece of sheet should be considered a vice?

The pacifier prevents "cot death"

Second point. Giving a pacifier to newborns is a protective factor against "cot death". Even if the connection is not yet fully understood, it seems that sucking keeps SIDS away because it would facilitate the child's ability to wake up in case of apnea. Among the guidelines against "cot death" it is specified the use of a pacifier when the baby falls asleep.



When to offer a pacifier to newborns 

In general, it should be proposed after breastfeeding is well underway, i.e. after about a month. According to some studies, in fact, the sucking of the pacifier is more similar to that of the nipple of the bottle, so it could interfere with breastfeeding. However, if this proceeds quickly there is no reason not to give the pacifier. In preterm births fed with a nasogastric tube, the pacifier teaches how to suck: as soon as they grow up enough, the little ones will be ready to bottle.

The use of the pacifier must however be moderate. Do not put it in his mouth every time he cries because this way you will not understand the reason for his despair (remember that the crying of babies always has a meaning). Sure, it can be useful at certain times, for example to fall asleep, but make use of it intelligently. Otherwise it risks becoming a harmful habit.

Pacifier to babies and teeth

"The pacifier will deform his teeth", might suggest some grandmother or aunt particularly opposed to this system. In truth, pacifiers for newborns have not been proven to cause deformation of the dental arch, at least up to 24 months. The most modern models adapt to the mouth in a more natural way: they stretch and flex like the mother's nipple. The tongue remains in the correct position and the palate, gums and teeth develop normally.

Much more harmful is sucking the thumb: it exerts greater pressure on the palate, with important deformations also of the teeth. And in this regard, never, ever dip the hickey in sugar or honey. They predispose to caries and honey for children is not indicated for the entire first year of life due to the risk of botulism.


What are the most suitable materials for the pacifier for newborns 

Let's talk about pacifier materials. In the beginning, the silicone is perfect as it resists sterilization well. Yes, because up to 6 months pacifiers must be sterilized exactly like baby bottles and teats, at least once a day or if it is particularly dirty. After this time it is enough to pass it under water. When the little ones grow a little, choose rubber products.



How long to give the kennel to newborns 

There is no precise rule, but clearly the more it is held, the more difficult it will be to remove it. Some pediatricians argue that after 10-12 months the benefits are less than the drawbacks.


One last thing. Some babies hate the pacifier and may literally "spit it out" by pushing it away with their tongue. All that remains is to get over it.

Text updated on 29 September 2022

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