11 Aug 2021
Any parent, at one time or another, has been confronted by the Big Pacifier Debate. The result of all the expert opinions from online to off the record (making us all feel, dare one say, like dummies), is often more questions than answers…
“Is it good, is it bad? Should we, shouldn’t we? Is it worth a few hours of peace and quiet if it is going to give our little angel buck teeth in ten years’ time?”
So, let’s take a look …
THE ADVANTAGES – A pacifier might:
- Soothe a fussy baby.
- Offer temporary distraction, e.g., when it’s inoculation time.
- Help your baby fall asleep.
- Ease discomfort during plane flights.
- Reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
- Your baby may become dependent on his/her dummy, e.g., to fall asleep.
- Pacifier use may increase the risk of middle ear infections.
- Prolonged use could lead to dental problems.
- A pacifier use could disrupt breast-feeding. If you're breast-feeding, it’s advisable to wait until your baby is three to four weeks old and you've settled into a nursing routine.
THE DO’S AND DON’TS:
- Don't use a pacifier as a first line of defence. Sometimes a change of position or a rocking session can calm a crying baby.
- Choose a one-piece, dishwasher-safe variety.
- If your baby is not interested in the pacifier, don't force it.
- Keep it clean. Until your baby is six months old and his or her immune system matures, frequently boil pacifiers, or run them through the dishwasher. After age six months, simply wash pacifiers with soap and water.
- Don't put sweet substances on the pacifier.
- Keep it safe. Replace pacifiers often and use the appropriate size for your baby's age. Watch for signs of deterioration.
- Never attach a pacifier to a string or strap long enough to get caught around your baby's neck.
WHEN AND HOW TO PHASE DEAR OLD DUMMY OUT:
- If the dummy is being used as a sleep cue, then introducing a different sleep cue can help.
- Give extra attention to your baby by cuddling or nursing instead.
- Try different ways to soothe your baby, such as carrying them in your arms or a sling.
- Restrict your baby’s dummy use to certain times only, such as in the car.
- Hide the dummy away so your child doesn’t see it.
The last word, and the smartest tip, comes from the mastermind behind Matchbox Designs, Marli Theron:
“Dummies are like earplugs. It soothes baby’s needs and keeps mommy sane!”
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