Sucking thumbs or fingers is a very common habit in babies. In fact, sucking has a soothing, calming effect and that is why you see your baby sucks his fingers more and more when he starts teething. So, many parents consider pacifiers as the perfect solution for this problem. But before giving a pacifier to your baby you need first to understand the pros and cons of using it.
1. Pacifier provides the baby with a soothing effect that he aims for when he sucks his fingers. The pacifier can provide a baby with short-term satisfaction while a caregiver is preparing a bottle, changing a diaper or completing any other task that leads the infant to cry.
2. The only proven medical benefits linked to pacifiers have been seen in preterm babies. Preemies who suck on binkies gain weight faster, according to a 1992 study published in the Swedish journal Acta Pediatrica. Other research has found that preemies who use pacifiers shortly after birth show earlier sucking patterns and experience fewer health complications. “Sucking promotes oral-muscle function and muscle development,” says Nina L. Shapiro, M.D., assistant professor of pediatric otolaryngology at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Medicine.
3. A pacifier may assist a baby in falling asleep. The Mayo Clinic indicates that it can help an infant settle down when he is struggling to sleep. The Mayo Clinic also points out that sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) risks can be reduced with the use of the pacifier.
1. The use of a pacifier early in life can interfere with breastfeeding. Sucking on a breast is different from sucking on a pacifier or bottle, and some babies are sensitive to those differences. The Breastfeeding website warns that an infant given the pacifier before proper sucking or latching to the breast has been established may develop feeding troubles. This can make breastfeeding painful for the mother or unsatisfactory for the infant. The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that waiting until the baby is a month old can reduce the feeding interference.
2. Pacifier use might increase the risk of middle ear infections. However, rates of middle ear infections are generally lowest from birth to age 6 months — when the risk of SIDS is the highest and your baby might be most interested in a pacifier.