Babies have a natural, innate need to suckle. Though the bottle or a mother’s breast can sometimes meet this need, this desire can often persist long after mealtime is finished. That’s where a trusty pacifier can come in. Before introducing your baby to a pacifier, keep in mind that parents should wait until breastfeeding is firmly established to bring a pacifier into the mix.
A pacifier can provide a number of benefits for babies and parents alike. Offering infants a pacifier at nap time and bedtime can help calm them and ease them into sleep more easily. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, giving your baby a pacifier during naps and bed time can lower the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome by more than half. Additionally, a pacifier can help a baby self-soothe and make them feel secure even without a parent in the room.
We recommend keeping the following tips in mind when choosing a pacifier for your baby:
- Try a few different nipple shapes to see which one your baby prefers.
- We recommend picking a 1-piece model instead of a 2-piece model that can break apart and create a choking hazard.
- The outer shield should be at least 1.5 inches across so your baby cannot put the entire pacifier into his or her mouth.
- The shield should be made of solid plastic with air holes for breathing.
- Try to find a pacifier that is dishwasher-safe for cleaning. If not, boil it to sanitize.
- If you do boil it, make sure to squeeze the water out of the nipple with clean hands to prevent potential burns to your baby’s mouth.
- Pacifiers don’t last forever. Be aware of the expiration date for your baby’s pacifier if there is one. Inspect the pacifier from time to time to check whether the rubber has changed color or has become torn. If so, it’s time for a new one.
- Keep extra pacifiers on-hand in case of your baby’s pacifier falls apart, gets lost or becomes too dirty to use when your baby needs it.
We hope this was helpful. The right pacifier can help calm and soothe your baby, and a calmer baby usually means calmer parents too. For more tips on baby care or general information about the health and well-being of your child, please contact Children’s Wellness Center today. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for more news and updates.