Should I give my baby a pacifier?

Babies are born with an innate sucking reflex. Pediatricians have established that our little ones don’t only suck for food but also for comfort. Not all babies calm down with a pacifier; but if you notice that your baby wants to keep sucking, and is no longer hungry, a pacifier might be a good idea!

Pacifier advantages:

• Calms your baby and comforts him.

• It works as a temporary distraction.

• It can help your baby go to sleep.

• Studies have shown that pacifier use during sleep reduces the risk of SIDS.

Pacifier disadvantages:

• It can become a hard habit to break.

• It can increase the risk of ear infection.

• Long-term use (beyond 12 months of age) can affect your child’s teeth.

Properly using a pacifier:

• Wait until your baby has mastered nursing, and until your milk supply is well established before introducing the pacifier.

• Don’t force your child to take it, if he doesn’t like it, try again later. If he doesn’t take it, possibly it is not for him.

• Don’t use it as a substitute for food.

• Make sure your baby’s pacifiers are safe by checking to see if there are any parts that could break off.

• Before the 6-month mark, keep pacifiers clean by sterilizing them before giving it to your child.

• It’s best not to fasten it to your baby’s clothes, as the cord can become a choking hazard.

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