Pacifiers give babies plenty of comfort, but there's more to know about your infant's go-to soother.
Scrambling around on your hands and knees to find a lost pacifier may not be your idea of fun, but it happens! So too does popping a binky in your mouth to clean it off in a pinch when there's no water around. Babies, binkies & you go hand in hand, so be aware of what you're dealing with:
• Studies have found that pacifiers may decrease the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Having a pacifier in your baby's mouth helps to keep his airways open and the involuntary sucking movement that a pacifier produces also creates a lighter state of sleep.
• Even breastfeeding newborns benefit from the comfort of a pacifier. It's simply not true that newborns will be satisfied by binkies if they're hungry. However, try to refrain from offering your newborn a pacifier until your milk supply and his eating schedule are well established. That way you won't have to wonder about nipple confusion.
• Pacifiers only create dental bite issues if the child using them is an intense sucker and uses the pacifier for too long. If your baby sucks hard on the pacifier, beware. He or she could develop bite issues (maloccusion) as early as 18 months, says Jennifer Shu, author of Heading Home with Your Newborn.
• In a study published in Pediatrics, researchers found that older babies who use pacifiers regularly have a third more ear infections than babies who stopped using them at 6 months.
• Remember the part about popping binkies in your mouth to clean it in a pinch? It's not really getting clean that way. Fungi and bacteria grow on pacifiers, so be sure to clean them with hot water and soap daily. You can also run them in a dishwasher, and when on the go, travel with them in a plastic baggie.
More about: Susan Swindell Day, Editor
Susan Swindell Day is the editor in chief of Nashville Parent and the mom of four amazing kids.