Baby With Pacifier

The Truth About Pacifiers

Dear Sara,

I have a new baby. She’s two months old now. Some people are telling me not to give her a pacifier but I think that it would help soothe her when she’s cranky. What do you think about pacifiers?

Dear Faye,

Dentists have cautioned against pacifiers because parents let their child continue to use them for long periods of time and this results in misaligned teeth or change in the shape of baby’s mouth. This is a legitimate concern but this happens gradually, over a period of years.

The sucking reflex is nature’s way of making sure that your baby gets the nourishment she needs. It’s soothing and comforting for her. There is also some evidence that using a pacifier reduces the incidence of sudden infant death syndrome(SIDS) so that is a plus on the side of pacifiers.

If you wait until nursing is well established, usually after the first month and limit the time your baby uses it to bedtimes or when she is unusually fussy, you shouldn’t have any negative results.

I realize that it’s difficult to take away the pacifier but try to take it away by age two. I have heard of parents who started cutting a little piece of the pacifier off every day until their child had nothing more to suck on. Some babies get really attached to their pacifier so you may want to have a backup supply in case you lose one.

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