Pacifier Pros and Cons for New Moms

Pacifier Pros and Cons for New MomsWhich side of the fence do you stand on concerning babies using pacifiers? Some moms feel strongly again allowing their little one to use a pacifier for fear of nipple confusion or increased fussiness while other moms are relieved to use them as tools to provide peace and quiet while in public or napping. If you haven’t made up your mind one way or another yet, we’re proving some basic facts about pacifiers that might help you decide if the soothing tool is good for your baby or not.

Across the board, most experts agree that your baby should not use a pacifier before his or her first month if you’re breastfeeding. Until a consistent nursing pattern is established, there is a worry that your little one will have a hard time sucking and gaining weight if also using a pacifier. After your newborn has begun to consistently gain weight (something best noted by newborn check-ups) and you feel confident that his or her nursing skills are in place, it’s ok to start using a pacifier. Evidence that mixing a pacifier with breastfeeding will cause nipple confusion is inconclusive, so if you’re worried that your little one’s breastfeeding success will be compromised by using a pacifier, take careful note of how your wee one likes to suck and if they are prone to continue rooting or sucking after nursing. Pacifiers are not appealing to every baby, so being aware of your baby’s patterns is a good start to see if a pacifier is the right choice.

The biggest accolade pacifiers receive from researchers is that there is strong evidence to suggest that if a baby uses a pacifier while sleeping, then their chance of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is less than an infant who sleeps without a pacifier. The explanation lies in the fact that if a baby falls asleep while sucking on a pacifier their consciousness is more alert and can help them wake up instead of being at risk to SIDS. There is also evidence that the sucking motion creates more airflow for baby’s breathing. Again, this research is not fully conclusive and many experts are quick to note that if a baby stops using a pacifier while asleep, you should not force it back into your baby’s mouth.

One more thought on introducing a pacifier to your baby: they can be wonderful stress-savers while out in public running errands with your little one. Sometimes when you’re juggling a full grocery cart in the checkout line, you’re not going to be able to give your little one your full attention. A pacifier can help calm your baby until you get out of the grocery store and into a space where you can give your wee one your love and affection. There’s a risk of relying too heavily on a pacifier’s soothing elements, though. Be careful that you don’t mask real causes of frustration or anxiety by popping in the pacifier each time your baby whines or cries. A pacifier can help with fussiness during a car ride home, but it should not act as a stand-in for your love and care.

What do you think, moms? Did you let your child use a pacifier? Let us know why or why not in the comments.