Benefits of the Pacifier
Updated: Nov 8, 2020
Oh the pacifier! Some babies are obsessed with them and will want to pack one for college, while others never seem to care for them (it’s a toss-up really). We all know that they are a great tool to include in your parent arsenal for those baby meltdown days, but did you also know that introducing a pacifier to your baby has some other great advantages? Here are some wonderful ways a pacifier can help your baby:
Satisfies the Sucking Reflex
Your baby is equipped with 7 natural reflexes, straight from birth! Unfortunately for us a “washed all the dishes” reflex isn’t one of them…..a girl can dream right? The sucking reflex however, allows your baby to move their mouth and tongue in a motion that helps them feed efficiently and to fill up their little tummies with milk. If your baby is still exhibiting the sucking reflex after finishing a meal, a pacifier can come in handy. The pacifier can help ease this reflex and settle them, giving you and baby some nice relaxing time together.
Helps Soothe a Restless Baby
Sucking can help soothe an upset baby, especially when included in the 5 S's by Dr. Harvey Karp. Along with relaxing your baby, pacifiers can help your baby feel secure and safe. This is helpful for when you need a break or cannot hold or comfort feed your baby at the moment. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends not introducing a pacifier until breastfeeding has been established, however once you're comfortable with trying a pacifier, it can be a wonderful addition to your soothing techniques.
Helps Reduce the Risk of SIDS
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), pacifiers are a part of safe sleeping practices. The AAP recommends giving a pacifier for daytime naps and night time sleep to reduce the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). One theory around this is that a pacifier will stop a baby from falling into an extremely deep sleep that they are not easily aroused from. Experts do not know exactly what causes SIDS, so following safe and preventative steps is the best call. You can find the AAP safe sleep recommendations here: Safe Sleeping
Great for Travel
We all know that chewing gum while on an airplane can help regulate the pressure in our adult ears during take-off and landing, but did you know that babies feel the same pressure? Sucking on a pacifier can help alleviate that pressure for your baby which in turn creates a smoother flight for you too. Pacifiers are also great for long car rides where baby may need some help with soothing but you're unable to comfort feed. As a mom, sometimes you just need to get through the day or from one moment to the next, and pacifiers are one way to help keep you sane!
Pacifiers can be a great addition to your routine with your baby once breastfeeding is established and they can offer many benefits. However, consult with your pediatrician about any concern you may have, and do your own research to make the best-informed decision you can for you and your family. As always, surround yourself with support and love and remember that you are doing an amazing job!