Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Pros and Cons of Pacifiers

Binkies, Pacifiers, Soothies, Nuks... they have a lot of fun names, but are they a good thing? I'm going to list some pros and cons in this article... but of course each parent chooses what is best for their child. My three babies were all binky babies. :-)

First we will start with the cons, because I like to get the bad news over first!

Binkies can be a hard habit to break. Babies can get "addicted" to them, and parents can get "addicted" to using them instead of helping the baby self-soothe. Then you get to go thru the awful "binkie break" as we like to call it. At our house, the binky fairy comes and the child leaves all of their binkies in a basket under the crib to give to new babies who need them. Then the binky fairy leaves the child a "big boy/girl" gift. We got them a new stuffed animal for example.

There have been some studies done that show the possibility of pacifiers giving children "pacifier teeth". This is when the child sucks on the pacifier for longer then neccessary and they begin to show these signs:

  • The top front teeth slant out 
  • The bottom front teeth tilt in 
  • The upper and lower jaws become misaligned 
  • The roof of the mouth becomes narrower side to side

This can be avoided by making sure the child does not use the pacifier after a certain age.

A different set of studies has been done that shows that infants who were given pacifiers at an early age had a harder time breastfeeding and did not breastfeed as long as children who were not given pacifiers.
  • Digirolamo AM, Grummer-Strawn LM and Fein SB. Effect of maternity care practices on breastfeeding. Pediatrics. 2008: 122(4) suppl; S43-s49. 
  • Kramer MS, Barr RC, Dagenais S, Yang H, Jones P, Ciofani L and Jane F. Pacifier use, early weaning, and cry/fuss behavior: a randomized controlled trial. 2001: JAMA. 286(3); 322-326.

So now that we have covered a few cons, let's get to the pros!

I personally loved binkies because my kids were able to soothe themselves with the binky and let's face it, they were happier. Here are a few more pros.

There have been many studies done that show that pacifiers reduce the risk of losing an infant to SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). That in itself is an amazing pro, but let's list a few others.

Pacifiers help babies to fall asleep, to feel safe, and to be happy.

Another pro, they help while flying, as they help the babies ears not to pop. They can be thrown away- meaning if your child soothes with a pacifier, you can throw it away eventually, if they soothe with their thumbs or fingers, well you can't throw those away!!

Pacifiers are good for babies who want to suck all day long... some breastfeeding mommies can't do that! They help the baby to be distracted during shots and other stressful situations. Plus, they have some darn cute binkies out there today! :)

These are just a few pros and cons, like I said in the beginning, it's up to the parent and it can be different for each child. It's good to do your research, but in the end, do what is best for your baby!

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