The Pros And Cons Of Using A Pacifier With Your Baby

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A pacifier (or binkie or fussplug or whatever) can be bizarrely controversial. Some say it is the worst possible thing ever. Others admit that, sure, The Pacifier isn’t natural but it sure didn’t hurt Vin Diesel’s chances to make a bajillion more Fast and Furious movies.

Of course there are some people (morons) who seem to have no opinion of the softer side of Vin Diesel’s film oeuvre. They prefer to argue over the merits of actual pacifiers. If you find yourself in this kind of boring conversation, here are a few things that’ll help.

Pacifiers Can Be Good

Babies use the act of sucking to find a deep sense of calm and relaxation (unlike Cleveland Browns’ fans who use it as a way to ruin perfectly good Sundays). From an evolutionary perspective, this relaxation occurs via a lady nipple, but sometimes there are no ladies to be found. Enter the pacifier.

Because it leads to a soothing suckle, a paci can help in a couple of circumstance, including:

flickr / Mike Liu

flickr / Mike Liu

  • Fussiness: Pacifiers can provide a distraction and keep your little so and so from hulking out when they’re getting upset. Strangely nobody has considered this yet for Dr. Banner. A gamma ginkie, maybe?
  • Sleep: Wakeful babies can often use a pacifier to soothe themselves back to sleep if they startle awake at night. Or you could just not play Yahtzee in the middle of the night.
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: Doctors do not know exactly why, but children who use pacifiers at night are less likely to perish from SIDS. One theory is that it prevents the tongue from closing the airway.

Pacifiers Can Be Bad

They simulate the human nipple. Of course, babies don’t know what that means. So there can be issues when confronted with a real nipple, or when it’s time to say buh-bye to the fake one.

Here are some ways a pacifier might do damage:

  • Breastfeeding Issues: Pacifiers have been implicated in decreased breastfeeding because some babies are very sensitive to differences between boob and bubbie. The breastfeeding advocates Le Leche League suggest waiting several weeks for breastfeeding to be firmly established before introducing a pacifier.
flickr / Nate Grigg

flickr / Nate Grigg

  • Dental Damage: Use of a pacifier after the age of 2 can increase the risk of your kid developing a malformed grill. You don’t want to go down that road. Unless you really want to buy your orthodontist a new Porsche.
  • Dependence: Nipples are awesome, even fake ones, and pacifier dependence can lead to at least a couple of bad weeks as your toddler kicks the paci habit. It’s like watching a Baby First TV version of Trainspotting.
Flickr / Alipyon

Flickr / Alipyon

How To Pacifier Right

If you’re going to do the whole pacifier thing, stick to these very important guidelines:

  • Start after breastfeeding is on lock
  • Dispose of them regularly to keep avoid sickness and possible ear infection
  • Don’t “rinse” it in your mouth. Gross.
  • Boil them to keep them sterilized and avoid dishwasher chemicals
  • Don’t force your kid to use it. Which should be obvious.

In the end, it’s important to make sure your kid is done with pacifier use sometime between 2 and 4 years old. The longer they’re exposed to the pacifier the tougher it gets. But of course you know that already, considering how impossible it is to keep from watching Vin powerslide that minivan into a parking spot every night.

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