Whether babies should be calmed by a synthetically manufactured “object” instead of comfort themselves or have a caregiver look after their needs, is a matter of debate. Parents should find out what’s bothering the baby before just stuffing in the pacifier.
In some instances it’s the parents, not the baby, who become addicted to the pacifier as it’s easier to “have peaceful time” rather than find out what’s could be the problem. Sometimes, however, a pacifier that quiets a crying baby is a godsend. While many babies can and will suck on their hand or thumbs to comfort themselves, it may take many weeks before they can get their hand to their mouths.
Sucking is a natural instinct for babies (and it may last less than a year). The sucking urge ensures a baby will eat. Many babies get enough satisfaction at the breast or milk bottle. For these babies, use of a pacifier may provide so much satisfaction that they would rather not nurse. Others need to suck more and will suck on their hands, parents’ fingers, pacifiers or anything that they’re able to pop in their mouths. Sometimes, only a pacifier seems to calm an otherwise attended-to baby.
1. If you opt for a pacifier, then buy ones labeled “orthodontic” as they have a unique shape best for tongue or palate development. However, if your baby doesn’t like these, don’t fret. Some kids just don’t like pacifiers, or won’t till they are older. And your baby won’t be malformed because he or she uses a traditional-shaped pacifier. You may be able to find special “new-born size” pacifiers, as well.
2. Buy silicone, instead of latex/rubber, as they last longer and are less likely to break off and choke the baby. Also, they can be washed in the dishwasher.
3. Buy ones with air holes around the guard or shield around the nipple, so air can circulate and skin won’t get irritated by saliva. The guard should be too big to fit in the baby ‘s mouth and should have ventilation holes so the baby could breathe if it did get in there somehow.
4. Cleanse a new pacifier before use, and check it by pulling on it to ensure no parts tear away.
5. Never use a homemade pacifier: it’s just not safe.
6. Never secure the pacifier around the baby’s neck or to a cord to prevent strangulation.
7. Do not dip the pacifier in honey (it may cause botulism) or other substances such as alcohol, corn syrup or milk (which could lead to tooth decay or gum disease).
8. To let the baby use it, “tease” their cheek or lip with the pacifier’s nipple, as you would to get the baby to take the breast or milk bottle. It may need to be rubbed on the roof of baby’s mouth or held in the baby’s mouth for a few seconds before the baby catches on and sucks readily. Some kids just don’t like pacifiers.
As they say, knowledge equals power, so continue to read information on this topic until you feel you are adequately educated on the subject.