There’s no doubt that pacifiers are great for comforting your baby and calming their tears. However, if you are a new or expecting mom, it may have not even crossed your mind that there are setbacks to giving your baby a pacifier. It’s important to be aware of these setbacks as your baby grows and enters its toddler stages.
Pros of Pacifier Use
In addition to its calming effects, pacifiers do have benefits to the health and protection of your baby:
Research has shown that pacifier usage is linked to a decreased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Some believe that babies who sucks on a pacifier do not sleep as deeply and wake up more easily than babies who don’t, making them less susceptible to SIDS. Others believe that sucking on a pacifier helps open up air space around the baby’s mouth and nose, allowing more sufficient oxygen intake.
Sucking is a natural reflex for newborns. Some babies develop a habit for thumb-sucking before they are even born. By using a pacifier, you allow your baby to continue their natural reflex, but you are in control of when it’s time to wean them off of the pacifier. In fact, research has shown that finger-sucking can be a harder habit to break than pacifier-sucking.
Cons of Pacifier Use
Long-term pacifier use can affect the shape of the teeth and mouth of your child. Dental problems, such as overbite and crossbites, are commonly created by pacifier use. Pacifier use is also linked to an increased risk for ear infections. It is believed that when a baby sucks or swallows, there’s a change in pressure behind the ear which may shift fluids into the middle ear and cause an infection.
If you decide to use pacifiers, it is recommended that you start to wean your baby off of them around 6 months to a year. For dental development, it is suggested to permanently retire the pacifier by age two.