According to a very quick google search, and we all know that google clearly knows everything, the pacifier was invented in 1902 by James Meacham. If that is true, I wonder if it’s because he was desperate to quell the new screaming baby in his house or if he simply had a grand idea. Either way, moms have been unknowingly praising him ever since. When the sweet infant that just took over your life won’t sleep and won’t stop crying and you aren’t sure what else to do, you thank God for that little piece of rubber and plastic!
As wonderful as they may be, at what point should you be concerned about the use of a pacifier? Here is a simple list of the pro’s and cons of “nonnutritive sucking” or, the paci.
Lower the risk for SIDS. This is the biggest pro in my opinion. SIDS, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, grips mothers everywhere with anxiety. With a growing list of things that all of our mothers have responded to with “I never/always did that and you turned out fine!” anything that gives us a little relief from that stress is appreciated. Studies show that using a pacifier during naps and overnight sleep may reduce risk of SIDS by 90%.
Happy baby = happy parents. When you bring home the baby for the first time you realize that life is about to get crazy. Amazing and lovely and beautiful, but crazy. When some of those crazy things happen they are much easier to deal with without the screaming. Giving a baby a pacifier will help them learn to self sooth. It helps them relax and feel secure.
That smile. Long term pacifier use can effect the way the teeth meet together. Before age 2, it’s unlikely that a problem can arise. If it does, growing teeth may be able to self correct. As time passes, problems can become worse with slanting and tilting of the front teeth. By age 4 to 6, there will be long lasting effects on the teeth. Around this age is when adult teeth begin to make their appearance. If your child has a pacifier habit, discuss with their dental hygienist/dentist if there has been any changes to your child’s teeth, or any other implications that may arise. Buying a pacifier with a ventilation hole can help prevent oral problems.
“When the baby closes down on the teat, the air from inside the teat is pushed out through the ventilation system thereby flattening the teat and adapting to the baby´s individual oral cavity. So, the ventilation hole is needed in order to allow for proper development of your baby’s jaw and mouth.” ~MAM products
Speech. We just love when our babies have sweet mispronounced words or sayings. It tugs at the heart strings. For the longest time, whenever my son needed to say “yes” he pronounced it “yesh.” Why we found this adorable I can’t really explain. But we have all been there. As cute as they can be, we want them to grow out of it. According to ASHA, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, a pacifier in the mouth often or past an acceptable age may interfere with the development of the tongue tip movement needed for the production of speech sounds.
A few things to keep in mind with pacifier use: If the pacifier falls on the ground, do NOT use your own mouth to cleanse it. There are many more damaging bacteria in your own mouth that you do not want to pass on. Do not sweeten a pacifier to make it more enticing. Pick a pacifier with a ventilation hole. Wash pacifiers with soap and water to keep them clean between uses. Get the right size. Pacifiers are designed to fit your baby’s mouth based on age.
Do you have any funny stories or tips about taking the pacifier away from your own experience? I’d love to hear them!
As always, ask if you have any questions!