Sometimes a pacifier is the only thing that can pacify and calm your infant.
Are you a new parent worried that pacifier use might be harmful to your little one?
You might be interested to know what the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says about them:
“Pacifiers do not cause any medical or psychological problems. If your baby wants to suck beyond what nursing or bottle feeding provides, a pacifier will satisfy that need.” AAP
“Pacifiers have been studied and recommended for pain relief in newborns and infants undergoing common, minor procedures in the emergency department (e.g., heel sticks, immunizations, venipuncture). Parents can consider offering pacifiers to infants one month and older at the onset of sleep to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.” American Association of Family Physicians
That was the good news about binkies. But it’s not all rosy.
Pacifier use does have potential problems
“Potential complications of pacifier use, particularly with prolonged use, include a negative effect on breastfeeding, dental malocclusion, and otitis media.” American Association of Family Physicians
New parents should educate yourself to the advantages and risks of pacifier use
Montz and Maher Dental Group and the AAP offer the following pacifier guidelines for parents regarding their infant’s pacifier use:
- DO only use a pacifier that is fabricated in one piece. Cheaper designs where either the nipple or handle is only loosely attached create a serious choking hazard.
- DO let your infant choose to use it.
- DON’T force your child to use a pacifier if he/she doesn’t readily take to it. Some little ones simply don’t like them. In that case, count yourself lucky that you won’t have to wean your toddler from a pacifier he/she can’t seem to live without.
- DON’T put sugar or honey on the pacifier.
- DON’T tie a pacifier to anything. This includes your baby’s crib, stroller, or wrist. This is a serious strangulation hazard.
- DON’T use a pacifier to delay a meal. They should be used to calm an infant whose other needs are already met–a full tummy and a clean diaper.
- DON’T let your little one use a pacifier past their first birthday. Better yet, start weaning them at six months.
Six months is also the age parents should start watching for their infant’s first tooth. When it appears, it’s time to set up a consultation and checkup with a pediatric dentist. Many Pearland parents don’t realize that a child’s first dental visit should occur around their first birthday or when their first tooth appears.
David C. Montz at Montz and Maher Dental Group has been serving Houston area families since 1997. We are devoted to preventing childhood tooth decay and helping families instill healthy lifelong dental habits.
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