The use of pacifiers have grown over time as more and more parents have turned to one for their babies for a number of reasons. The reasons have ranged from trying to “pacify” a crying baby to the pressing need for breast-feeding mothers to get back to active work to help support the family and therefore the need to keep the baby “busy.” These have made pacifiers a very handy “toy” for infants and a search by parents for the best pacifier for their breastfed babies.
A natural instinct for all babies is the instinct to suck. Sucking is arguably a baby’s first activity. It is known that some unborn babies suck their thumb or their fingers(s) before birth and this action helps them to feed. Some babies also suck as a past-time activity as parents have found out that it helps babies stay quiet and active. This has made the patronage of pacifiers quite prominent among parents for their babies.
A pacifier also known as a dummy, soother, binky, teether or dodie is a soft nipple shaped rubber that a baby sucks on. It is made of three sections – a teat, a mouth shield, and a handle. This design helps to ensure a baby’s safety while using the pacifier. The teat is small enough to get comfortably into the baby’s mouth and allow sucking while the mouth shield is large enough to ensure the pacifier cannot be swallowed therefore avoiding the possibility of babies choking on their pacifiers.
There are chances that a baby that is introduced to a pacifier early could prefer the pacifier to actual feeding. This is often the case as babies readily chew on the soft teat. This is quite common, especially among teething babies. Therefore, resulting in the need for parents to ensure a healthy balance in the use of pacifiers by babies.
Great Advice About Pacifiers
Parents need to be aware that while pacifiers are beneficial for babies, they need to be cautiously introduced.
- The sucking action on the nipples of a breast-feeding mother helps her in the breast milk production. And so where a baby does not feed well at the mother’s breast, introducing a pacifier would compromise the baby’s healthy feeding.
- Care needs to be taken not to substitute a pacifier for a baby’s feeding at the breast. This is especially important for a baby with a very healthy feeding appetite with capacity to tire out the mother from constant feeding.
- Breast-feeding mothers should have regular feeding hours for their babies and only use the pacifiers when the baby is not at the breast.
- Pacifiers need to be properly sterilized to prevent babies from contracting oral yeast. If transferred to the mother’s nipples, the oral yeast could take much longer to treat in breast-feeding babies.
- Ensure not to fasten a pacifier to your baby’s neck. This could spell danger as it can lead to death from strangulation.
- Research indicates that babies that use pacifiers are more likely to stop breast-feeding earlier than babies that do not use pacifiers. This, therefore, presents breast-feeding mothers with a working clock by which to prepare to wean their children from breast-feeding.
- It is on record that exclusive breast-feeding is a birth control method. Breast-feeding mothers who give their babies more time at pacifiers, therefore, increase their chances of getting pregnant.
- There are studies connecting pacifier use to an increased incidence of ear infections in babies.
- There is also the possibility of babies developing allergies from the teat materials.
- An extended use of pacifiers can cause a misalignment in the dentition of babies
Battle of Teats
Besides sucking at their mother’s breast and pacifiers, babies can also suck using bottles. Baby feeding bottles also come with soft, silicon, pacifier-like teats. These are great alternatives as breast-feeding mothers can transfer their breast milk into these bottles for their baby’s feed.
Feeding bottles help breast-feeding mothers enjoy some rest while at the same time ensuring that their babies are fed with the nourishment from their breast milk. So, in a manner of priority, babies (depending on the age) should spend more time at the breast, then the feeding bottles and then with pacifiers. Also in a manner of safety at meal, a breast-feeding mother is able to ensure that the baby is well positioned to feed while at the same time able to control the feeding volume. And of course the best part, it stimulates better bonding and connection between mother and child.
A pacifier will however always carry the day among parents where there is concern about a child sucking the thumb or finger(s).
Types of Pacifiers
How then do we determine the best pacifier for your breast-feeding baby. This is actually pretty easy – the best pacifier for your baby is one that is the right size, made of the right material and safe for your baby.
In general, however, the breast is still considered the best pacifier for breastfed babies.