Friday, December 26, 2014

Busting the Myths – Pacifiers, Are They Really OK?


I’ll be honest, from time Junior was wee small I gave him the pacifier. I have no complains, it was good for him and good for me. It wasn’t a short cut or the easy way out. It was essentially what it was – a soother, that most times calmed my baby and helped him fall asleep!74422325

Infants find sucking not only necessary for feeding but they find comfort in it too, it is a security blanket for them. The gesture calms and soothes them and at times they need this and it is indeed very helpful to have it around.
Obviously, Junior is now a lot older and has been off the soother for years, but sleep is something he has always fought. I can see that more now!
As a first time Mum, I bought the soother against the advice of some! I’ll admit it I loved the designs and the idea of my little bubz having it in his mouth was appealing. Having said that, I have never regretted giving the pacifier to him.
I’ve seen Mums who had to dance and rock their baby to sleep, lie down next to them and not move till the baby fell asleep and yes I know of an instance when the Mum had to give the baby her breast through the night, even after the baby was about 1 and half years which was really uncomfortable and a tad bit awkward for her. I kept asking these mums why they never gave a soother and they spoke of various reasons (myths) as to why they didn’t.
So here I am!! I’m going to break down some of these myths and let you know that the soother isn’t so bad!
Myth 1 – The baby will have buck teeth! And Ane, she’s a girl, must look pretty no!
I heard this so many times and might have rolled my eyes so much that I probably got some good eye exercises out of it. The buck teeth from soothers is just a myth and there isn’t any research to prove it. There may be instances when a few kids did have their kids teeth sticking out – but.. these are the milk teeth and once the big teeth come out, there’s no worry at all. For starters, remember your little one will have stopped using the pacifier well before the permanent teeth come out  and therefore will not cause any damage to the big teeth. Also remember when choosing a pacifier to check for pacifiers tested by orthodontists and those of reputed brands.
Remember to also buy age specific soothers, you get from 0-6months and from 6 months – 18 months.
Myth 2-  Using the pacifier will cause cavities in baby’s teeth.
It is important to regularly clean the baby’s pacifiers as well as sterilise them. Along with this make sure you clean baby’s milk teeth morning and night.
Never coat the pacifier with honey, medicine or anything likewise that is sweet. Apart from the fact that it is unnecessary and can have loads of negative impacts, it’s simply unhygienic and is a definite invitation to cavities.
Myth 3 – Your baby will drink less milk if you give them the soother.
It is recommended that you do not give the baby the soother right away from birth. If you start a few weeks later, the baby will in fact recognize the difference between the mother’s nipple, bottle teat and a pacifier. The soother is essentially a device which gets the baby to suck and therefore calms the baby when distressed or when battling sleep but will not give him milk, so when he’s hungry, he will cry for it!.
Myth 4 –  Your baby will get used to the soother and you won’t be able to stop it.
Yes, the baby will have a dependency to the soother but it can be broken. It’s a part of a growing experience and when your child is old enough or ready to give it up, you can train the baby to give it up just like you would when you potty train. Take a moment to think of the alternatives. Babies who get used to thumb sucking is much harder to stop. You can throw away a soother and break the habit but the hand is a habit that is something that is very very difficult to stop.
All in all trust me, the pacifier is not a bad idea. Here are a few tips when choosing a soother.
  • Make sure you always use a reputed brand of soothers. Avent, Farlin and Apple are all companies that have been around for many years and there products are known to be quality products.
  • Make sure the soother you get is orthodontist tested.
  • Get a few that have different nipple shapes, you will find your baby likes a particular shape!
  • Sterilize all the time before use and after cleaning.
  • You will need two! When one is dirty and needs sterilize or when you are out and about.
  • When you are going out, try to get a soother which comes in a box and preferably one with a pacifier holder. Yes, you’ll thank me for this tip!
Having said that, not all babies take to the soother but modern parenting isn’t about being frustrated with your baby when he needs soothing, its about working out a formula that keeps baby happy and you happy. A soother if used moderately and properly will ensure a baby is not a light sleeper!
If you are still reluctant to give a soother, that’s alright too :)  Give it a go and if you need one later, you can if you wish to get one!
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