How Pacifying is a Pacifier?

Whoever invented pacifier (also known as a dummy or a soother) really knew how to keep babies quiet! Do you think your baby should have one?

Babies are adorable little creatures that require constant care and comfort. There are a number of ways to comfort a baby including giving him an item he is requesting such as food (in case he is six months or older), an opportunity to sleep or a toy he wants to play with. Often, a dummy (sometimes called a baby nipple) comes to the rescue when all the other tricks fail to work! At other times, these dummies can be a somewhat poor choice.

5 things you should know:

Here are the 5 things you should know about them:

1. Why should you use pacifiers?

There is a reason why dummies were invented. Many babies are born with sucking reflexes that may be imitating the uninhibited flow of amniotic fluid that existed in their mother’s womb. Hence, the feeling of sucking on something can have a soothing effect for babies. The dummy was created for this purpose. It provides babies with something to suck on that can be carefully monitored and kept clean.

2. Do pacifiers work?

They can work.

If the intention is to calm a crying or fussy baby, then it can do the job effectively. This is especially useful when the baby is hungry and you want to buy some time to prepare the milk bottle; or the baby is sleepy and seems to want to fight back the drowsiness. The soother can create the soothing rhythm. It can also help distract the baby and minimize tantrums.

If you are lucky, it may help in calming down a colicky baby - IF you are lucky (*fingers crossed*)!

3. Health risks involved:

Like every other product that is useful to humankind, this mute-button also comes with some cons. There may be links of its use to middle-ear infections and dental problems. Although the chances of these risks may be low, yet, these are still significant health concerns, especially if there is a prolonged use.

A pacifier should pacify a baby for a maximum of few hours in a day. Prolong usage and total dependency should be avoided. If you have a nanny, make sure you communicate this to her as well.

4. Dependency:

I just mentioned the "total dependency" factor above. This is a very important point and is often observed that a baby becomes highly dependent on soothers.

Parents could have great intentions when initially providing the dummy to their babies. However, their use can take on whole new life of its own when babies become dependent on them. When babies become so accustomed to having it their mouths, their world can appear to suddenly shift if the dummy becomes dislodged or removed from their mouth.

5. Overuse:

Nothing should be overused. Though dummies are quite useful at times, such useful tools can be abused and overused, which in turn creates additional issues that need to be addressed.

During teething, a baby often tries to shift the teething pain to a dummy. A dummy put in the freezer for some time can really help reduce the pain. However, ensure that the pacifier is of good quality and the baby’s continued health, growth and development are not jeopardized.

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