What Are the Pros and Cons of Pacifiers?

It seems like a rite of passage to suck on a binky when you are a baby. Parents love it too because it keeps their sweet babies occupied. But, is a pacifier all that it is cracked up to be?

A pacifier is used to do just what it says – pacify. If your child is wet, hungry or sick they will still cry even with the pacifier in their mouth. But, if they are feeling fussy or irritated for no particular reason, a pacifier can help them to calm down a bit.

There are professionals on both sides of this argument. If you have a baby or are preparing for one, you can read the pros and cons to make an informed decision for yourself.

Pros

* Pacifiers may reduce the incidence of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Doctors have noticed that there is a lower risk factor for babies who suck on pacifiers. There is no proven reason why this is so. Speculation is that it has to do with the tongue. A pacifier pushes it forward and doesn’t allow it to roll backwards down the throat.

* Pacifiers help to develop the sucking motion. If babies are bottle-fed, this motion is right in line with that.

* A baby is calmed with a pacifier. When they have gum issues because they are cutting teeth, chewing on a pacifier can soothe them, especially if you just took it out of the freezer.

* Pacifiers don’t ruin teeth like a bottle could. Falling asleep with a pacifier is better than the sugar of a bottle of milk which can lead to tooth decay. As long as you insert the pacifier correctly, baby should have no problem.

Cons

* Pacifiers feel different than a breast. For breastfeeding moms, it may be better for baby to fall asleep at the breast than with a pacifier. The baby can get confused between their binky and the breast when it is time to eat.

* Baby gets attached to the pacifier. When they are irritated, they only respond to the pacifier. It is like Linus with his blanket. We as parents may want to use the pacifier as a last resort so baby doesn’t cry without one.

* Children who use pacifiers may have a higher incidence of ear infections. There is no known reason why, but they are more at risk.

* Pacifiers can lead to dental issues if they are dipped in something sweet before being given to baby. This technique is often used to stretch the time between meals or if you are not able to feed baby when they cry.

Most doctors are leaving it up to parents to use their discretion when it comes to pacifiers.