Parenting: To use a pacifier or not?
June 5, 2012 (WPVI) -- Should you use a pacifier to calm and soothe your baby? It's a question that pediatricians, lactation consultants, dentists and parents have debated for years.
I used one with my first son, Jake, successfully but my twins, Zeke and Hunter, showed no interest and never had one.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development actually recommend using a pacifier at night to decrease the risk of SIDS. But you shouldn't force one on your child if they keep spitting it out.
Some nurses give them to babies in the hospital, like in the NICU, where they may need extra comfort while they're growing bigger and stronger. It is an easy way to provide comfort and seems to have few negatives.
If you decide to use a pacifier, make sure you wash it regularly in warm soapy water. Throw out any that get cracked, torn or damaged.
As your child grows, the pacifier should get bigger too. Don't let toddlers use an infant-sized pacifier because there is a choking risk. Smaller pacifiers may rest more on their front teeth too, causing "bucking" of teeth or a malocclusion.
Don't dip the pacifier in sugar, honey or anything else and never tie them around your baby's neck. The ribbon, string or rope can get tangled in other things and choke them.
Try to wean your child from the pacifier between the ages of 6 months and 2-years-old. If not then, definitely by age 3, you should take it away.
For more discussion and tips, check out Seattle Mama Doc.
monica malpass parenting reports, parenting, monica malpass
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