Pacifiers: Pros and Cons

For some babies, pacifiers may be the key to contentment between feedings. Here are the the advantages:

  • A pacifier can soothe a fussy baby. Some babies are most happy when they’re sucking on something.
  • A pacifier provides a temporary distraction. This is especially true when your baby’s hungry. A pacifier can buy you a few minutes to find a comfortable spot to nurse or to prepare a bottle. Pacifiers can also come in handy during shots, blood tests or other procedures.
  • A pacifier may assist your baby to fall asleep. If your baby has trouble sleeping, a pacifier might do the trick.

Pacifiers have pitfalls as well. Here are the drawbacks:

  • Early pacifier use can interfere with breast-feeding. Since sucking on a breast is different from sucking on a pacifier or bottle, some babies have trouble learning how to nurse properly if they’re given a pacifier too soon.
  • Your baby may become too dependent on the pacifier. If you have been giving your baby a pacifier to help them sleep, you may face frequent middle-of-the-night crying spells when the pacifier falls out of your baby’s mouth.
  • Prolonged pacifier can cause dental problems. Normal pacifier use during the first few years of life will not cause long-term dental problems. Prolonged pacifier use may cause a child’s top front teeth to slant outward or not come in properly.
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