Sixteen Tips To Using A Pacifier With Your Baby

As a parent, there are often times your baby will be so fussy you can't seem to figure out a way to calm him or her down.  These are the times you wonder if you should introduce a pacifier to your newborn.  

Babies are born with an innate need to suck.  In fact, sucking is instinctive and necessary for feeding and for soothing themselves.

This instinct is the only way an infant has during his or hers early life to self soothe.  They are much too young to control their environment or themselves.

While infants can certainly use their voice in a variety of volume levels, they can't tell us what they need or want just yet.  This can be frustrating for both you the parent and the baby in determining what all the fuss is about and how to resolve it.

In trying to soothe themselves, the one thing your baby can do is suck.  This soothing action can be done on a pacifier, thumb, fingers, fists, bottle or breast.

Sometimes a little one will attempt to use mom as a 'baby soother'.  If you find that your infant needs to nurse more than every couple of house, an infant pacifier may be able to help satisfy his/her sucking needs.  At this point, you need a break and shouldn't become your little one's personal pacifier.

To help you with setting up for pacifier success with your baby, we've gathered sixteen tips from several pedatric physicians and the American Academy of Pediatrics.  If you determine that you would like to try a pacifier for your baby, keep these guidelines in mind.

  • If you are breast feeding, be sure you have a well-established feeding routine.  It's recommended to wait three to four weeks before you introduce your newborn to a pacifier.  By this time, you and your infant should be quite comfortable with a solid breast feeding routine.

  • The best and safest design for a pacifier is a one-piece model with a soft nipple.  This type of one piece design means there are no joints or cracks that can accumulate dirt and bacteria.  It also means there are no parts that can separate and present a choking hazard.

  • Pacifiers can be found made of plastic, silicon or latex.  If you choose plastic, be sure that it is BPA free.  Latex pacifiers are much softer and to a baby, are more like a mother's nipple.  However, they will need to be replaced about every six to eight weeks as they will wear down.  If there is any family history of latex allergies, ti's best to steer clear of a latex pacifier.

  • The shield that goes agains your baby's mouth should be firm and contain air holes.  It should measure about 1 inch across so it can't be swallowed.

  • Pacifiers come in several different styles.  You may need to try different ones to find the style that best fits your baby's mouth.

  • The pacifiers you select should be dishwasher safe.  It's best to clean them in the dishwasher till your baby is at least six months old.  During this time their immune systems are still developing, so the cleaner the pacifier the less chance of illnesses.  After they've reached six months old, it's okay to wash the pacifiers with hot soapy water.

  • Do not "clean" a pacifier by putting it in your mouth.  An adult's mouth carries a lot of bacteria and the last thing you want to do is pass those to your baby.

  • In order to avoid the risk of strangulation, never tie a pacifer to the crib railing, your baby's hand, or neck.  There are a variety of pacifier clips desinged for the purpose of keeping your baby's binky close at hand that you should use instead.

  • Be sure to use the right size pacifier for your infant.  Pacifiers generally come in two sizes, 0-6 months and 6 months and older.

  • Do not try to create your own pacifier by using a bottle nipple attached to a ring.  The nipple can separate from the ring and pose a choking hazard.

  • Don't force a binky on your baby.  If he/she takes to it quickly, then great.  If not, move on as you can always try again later.

  • Inspect pacifiers frequently for damage and replace them if the material has changed colors or is showing wear.

  • Keep several paci's on hand.  You never know when one will end up under the couch, the car seat or behind the crib.  It's always when your really need one now.

  • Giving your baby a pacifier for nap and bedtime frequently helps them fall asleep.  Several studies have found that a pacifier at bedtime lowers the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).However, there is no need to replace it in their mouth if it falls out once they are asleep.

  • If possible, do not use a pacifier to delay a feeding.  While there are times that might be difficult as you may be driving home or somewhere that you can't immediately stop to feed.

  • Do not sweeten the pacifier by dipping it in sugar, honey or juice to make it taste good.

A pacifier is best as a last resort for comforting.  When fussy, try other ways to calm your little one down.

Cuddling, rocking, playing or singing a lullaby should always be the first steps to soothing a fussy baby.  Not only does it help to soothe a baby, it helps create a bond between mom and baby.

However, if other ways don't calm your fussy one down, then by all means, offer the pacifier.


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