The great thing about this particular topic is we know that babies have an insatiable desire to suckle. By nature, their sucking reflex oftentimes begins in the womb. Sonograms have even shown depictions of babies sucking their fingers or toes. It is a very natural intuition they are born with. However, once they arrive earth-side, it is important to evaluate the decision to give them a pacifier and whether or not doing so would do more harm than good in the long run.
A few studies have been conducted to weigh the pros and cons of babies using a pacifier. Ultimately, the choice is up to the parents. Nonetheless, it is important to have the research handy to influence these important decisions.
According to an Infant and Toddler Health article written by the staff at the Mayo Clinic (https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/in-depth/pacifiers/art-20048140), there is a variation of benefits and risks in using a pacifier. Let’s take a look at what they had to list for their pros and cons.
For some babies, pacifiers are the key to contentment between feedings. Consider the advantages:
Of course, pacifiers have pitfalls as well. Consider the drawbacks:
Of course, upon evaluating all the information here and making your informed decision, what comes next is the importance of figuring out when it is best to wean your baby off of the pacifier. Once again, this article gives a great response in providing insight to assess.
“The risks of pacifier use begin to outweigh the benefits as your baby gets older. While most kids stop using pacifiers on their own between ages 2 and 4, others need help breaking the habit. Use praise when your child chooses not to use the pacifier. If your child has difficulty giving up the pacifier, consider asking your child's doctor or dentist for help.”
As always, consulting your medical care provider is of the utmost importance in making informed decisions for you and your family. Knowing that you are doing what is best for your baby provides a certain level of comfort and offers great confidence in your parenting choices.