Babies can be chaotic and pacifiers can calm them down. All of us agree unanimously upon these couple of facts but there is no evidence to substantiate the discourse that is doing the rounds regarding the benefits and disadvantages of pacifiers. So, we have consulted experts to get to the depths of all the fallacies and myths related to pacifier clips.
1 – Pacifiers mitigate the risk of SIDS
This is a truth since number of studies corroborate the fact that the use of pacifiers results in the reduction of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome among babies. Jennifer Shu, M.D., a Parent Advisor and coauthor of Heading Home with your Newborn is of the view that continuous movement of your little one’s mouth while he is sucking at the pacifier keeps him in a lighter condition of slumber which reduces the probability of him to stop breathing. She believes that having a pacifier clip in his mouth ensures that his airway is left opened which can result in the mitigation of the risk of SIDS. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends giving your little one a pacifier clip at night when he is about to go to sleep. Having said that, it does not mean that you force your baby into taking a pacifier when he does not take a liking to using one. And if your baby is unable to sleep without a pacifier, it does not mean that you keep on inserting the pacifier back into his mouth when it pops out during the night.
2 – Pacifiers should not be given to breastfeeding newborns
This is nothing but a fallacy which gives rise to the concept of nipple confusion due to which mothers tend to stay away from administering pacifiers to their newborns. This myth is further supported by the recommendation by American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) that nursing babies should be made to wait until they are one month old and they are well-acquainted with breastfeeding before administering them with pacifier clips. Having said that, a large number of exports are contesting this recommendation since pacifiers are believed to mitigate the risk of SIDS. Scientists at Oregon Health & Science University Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, Portland, conducted a research that found out that the proportion of babies who were breastfed only plummeted after pacifiers were prohibited by the mother-baby-unit and more mothers resorted to feeding their kids with formula milk. Freda Rosenfeld, a lactation expert in Brooklyn, New York is of the view that some infants are not able to meet their sucking needs with feeding alone so a newborn being given a pacifier clip is not essentially a wrong practice if she weighs appropriately and has been fed just recently. However, mothers need to be careful of the fact that they should not shy away from giving their breast to the baby and try to pop that pacifier into his mouth when he is feeling hungry.
3 – Pacifiers can cause dental issues
Yet another myth, pacifiers are not harmful to babies during the first couple of years. A baby’s mouth is so pliable that whatever modifications a pacifier may bring about in the palate and teeth could get corrected by themselves. If your baby continues to use the pacifier until he is a toddler, it can cause disruption in the alignment of teeth such as an open bite at the front or a cross bite at the back. Dr. Shu contends that in addition to the age at which a child relinquishes pacifier clips, the ferocity with which he sucks at it is also important. If a baby is a gentle sucker, lesser pressure will be applied on the front teeth and so he may be able to keep using it for a longer period of time even until he is three years of age. On the contrary, babies who tend to suck at pacifier clips more vigorously, tend to develop evident problems with their bite around 18 months.
4 – Pacifiers exacerbate the risk of ear infections
This is a reality since older babies who regularly use pacifiers tend to suffer one-third more ear infections as compared with who stopped using them at 6 months of age. Some physicians are of the view that sucking at pacifier clips tends to vary pressure in the ears and the consequent pressure variations may prevent fluid from draining through the tube connecting the middle ear to the back of the nose and the throat. The collected fluid there may cause ear infections. Nevertheless, there is not sufficient evidence to corroborate these assertions against pacifiers and doctors should only be concerned if the baby contracts ear infections regularly.
5 – Pacifiers should be washed regularly
This is obviously true since pacifier clips tend to get dirty but the extent to which they may get dirty can be quite a bit of a surprise. According to recent studies by Richard Thomas Glass, D.D.S., Ph.D., Professor of Forensic Sciences, Pathology and Dental Medicine at Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, when used pacifier clips were examined under a microscope, fungi plus bacteria similar to E. Coli were found on the pacifier itself and within the nipple. Experts suggest mothers to wash the pacifiers regularly using a dishwasher or hand washing them using soapy water frequently. They also recommend to store the dry pacifiers in zip-top bags for addition protection against germs and during travel. Moreover, it is also a good idea to keep on replacing the older ones frequently.
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