The Pacifier – Pros and Cons

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The pacifier is one of the things that we always have to carry inside the bag of the newborn, and is usually released in the early days.

Newborn babies have two types of suction, which they bring from the belly:

1) The food: It is the one that allows them to suck and swallow, that is to say, that serves the function of feeding and calming the feeling of hunger.
2) Non-nutritive suction: is the one that helps you to calm down alone, it is suction for pleasure. When the baby sucks on the fingers, pacifier or other objects not related to feeding, it is non-nutritive suction. It is completely normal in fetal and neonatal development.

In general, 85 percent of babies use pacifiers and the remaining 15 percent suck their thumbs. The use of the pacifier decreases with age and should be suspended around 2 years or 2 ½ years.

At this age the child no longer needs to suck and its use goes against dental development.

In the first days of life it is advised to breastfeed the baby on demand and not offer the pacifier. The child has to repeat the sucking of the mother’s nipple frequently, since they are learning to feed themselves and need contact and maternal warmth. If we offer the pacifier at this stage, “nipple confusion” may occur, since the way to suckle the breast and the pacifier or teat of the bottle is different and can delay breastfeeding.

In the first few weeks, the infant can use the breast of the mother as comforting, and after the lactation is established – something that usually occurs in 15 or 20 days – we can offer the pacifier.

 

Reassuring effect

Sucking at certain times as colic or other discomfort moments produces a pleasant effect on children because it allows them to discharge their tensions.

Babies, and especially the little ones, do not have the movable elements to discharge their energies; then, in these cases we can resort to the soothing effect of the pacifier.

When breastfeeding is already established, it is also a good resource, since sometimes the mother can not offer the breast at all times when the child wishes to suck.

The pacifier is a great resource for children with colic or irritable babies, in multiple pregnancies or complicated puerperium.

 

Prevention of Sudden Death Syndrome.

Another of the advantages of the pacifier is that it has been identified as one of the factors that decrease the risk of sudden death.

That is why it is recommended to place the pacifier at bedtime, from the time the baby has regained birth weight and lactation was established.

In babies who are not breastfed, the pacifier can be incorporated in advance.

In any case, you should not insist on rejecting it.

 

Alterations in teeth

Nonnutritive sucking habits have been related to dental malocclusions: permanent open mouth, and inverted bite.

The first is the most common and tends to be improved by suspending pacifier use. The second is observed when pacifier use goes beyond 3 years of age, and requires the intervention of the pediatric dentist.

Also in children who prolong the use of the pacifier is observed a greater number of caries. This is because when eating, the pacifier is in contact with food remains and sugary drinks, increasing the risk of tooth decay.

 

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