A pacifier – also known as a dummy, binky, smoother and teether -is a rubber or plastic made, silicon nipple, given to an infant to suck upon. The standard appearance of a pacifier makes it easier for babies to get used to, as it resembles the mother’s nipple with its teeth at and mouth shield. Just as the breast becomes bigger than the nipple, so is the pacifier, as its mouth is big enough to not choke the baby or to be swallowed.

When to start giving my baby pacifier

Before using a pacifier, make sure the child is accustomed to breastfeeding so that it knows the difference upon being given the pacifier. The pacifier can be used as a substitute for your baby’s insatiable love for formula or breast milk, even when they are not hungry. Hence, the pacifier alternatively reduces your baby’s dependency on latching itself onto the nipple. Whilst still in the hospital, avoid using a pacifier and give it to the baby only if the nurses or the doctor advises you to.

Health benefits of giving a pacifier to a baby

A pacifier lowers the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome– that occurs when the child is sound asleep -by about 90%, according to a study. This is because a pacifier prevents the occurrence of SIDS, that mostly is activated in infants whilst sleeping on their stomach or in a soft bedding.

Alternatively, a baby soother goes a long way in satisfying the suck. Reflexively, Babies have a natural need to suck. The bottle or breast usually meets this need but the desire always lingers. However, don’t substitute nursing with a pacifier.

Can the use of a pacifier damage the baby’s teeth?

Children are unlikely to damage their teeth or jaws if they continue to use a pacifier, till the age of 2 to 3. A baby soother can cause harm if the baby still continues to suckle on a pacifier, long after the milk teeth have fallen.

How to manage your baby’s use of the pacifier

Take note that, if your baby resists the pacifier, do not force it in, as not all babies accept a pacifier right away.  Always offer the pacifier when the baby is not feeding or when he/she is not hungry.  Avoid using a pacifier as a delay tactic to postpone the baby’s feeding or as a substitute for your attention. Always use it when it is necessary, like, when you are out for shopping or when you are driving close to your house or when the baby needs something to occupy itself with. A pacifier should not be tied around the baby’s neck for it can result in choking.

When not to give a pacifier?

Do not give a pacifier to a baby who is having problems in gaining weight. If a baby has an ear infection, it is not advisable to give it a pacifier.

How to clean a pacifier?

Many people make the mistake of trying to clean a pacifier by putting it in their mouth and sucking on it. Doctors have confirmed that it is bad to do so, as our saliva might be carrying some bacteria that can be transferred onto the pacifier. Ensure that the guard of the pacifier is of a washable material so that you can clean it effectively. Adopt the same method that you use for sterilising and cleaning the baby’s bottles and sippy cups. Clean the pacifier at least once a day. Rinse and scrub using a baby bottle washing solution and allow the pacifier to dry.

How often should a pacifier be replaced?

There are signs which show that a pacifier needs to be changed.

These include:

1. The plastic in the pacifier has turned jagged.

2. A piece of the pacifier is loose.

3. The baby soother’s nipple is sticky even after being washed properly.

4. When there are holes or tears in the nipple.

You should always check, from time to time, if the nipple is still firmly attached to the body of the pacifier.

The best pacifiers for your baby:

The best pacifiers available in markets have latex or silicone nipple and do not pose any health hazards to the baby. An orthodontic pacifier works to your best interest, in case you are worried about the dental issues that may arise, in cases of prolonged usage of a pacifier. The market has flat and rounded bottom pacifiers which prevent any harmful effects on the baby’s jaw.

1. Multiple Piece Pacifier

The three components that constitute a pacifier- namely, the nipple, guard and handle -are all separately manufactured, before forming the baby soother before you. This ensures that no two pacifier looks alike, meaning that you can source a multiple piece pacifier in different shapes and sizes. Something that will attract your baby to use it.

2. Single Piece Pacifier

The threat of your child choking on the pacifier is visibly eliminated with the use of a single piece pacifier. Materials like latex or silicone are moulded to form this pacifier.

3. Feeding pacifier

Do you know that your child can be fed little bits of munchies through a pacifier?

Your child has to be over six months, for it to be able to use this pacifier. This is best used during warmer months when one can cut small pieces of frozen fruit and place them in the pacifier. Your child will be able to suck away a refreshing fruity flavour. The feeding pacifier is helpful for mothers who hope to introduce a transition from liquid food to solid food, for their children.

4. Glow in the dark pacifier

If your child is scared of the dark and cannot calm itself to sleep at night, then the glow in the dark pacifier turns out handy at such times. A soft light is exuded by the pacifier, which is reassuring enough for the child to trust the dark and fall asleep.  

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