Baby pacifiers are one of the most used baby products in the world. They are primarily used to calm weaning and crying babies. During the 1680s, a pacifier in the form of a corn cob is already being used by babies. Since then the pacifiers have evolved in terms of size, forms, and materials used, from the tied-cloth pacifier in the 1900s to the plastic, silicon, or rubber pacifiers in the 21st century. Regardless of their sizes and forms, pacifiers remain as one of the most convenient baby products that parents can have for their babies.
Pacifiers, which are also called binkies and dummies, are being widely used by babies in different parts of the world. However, it is important that parents are aware of the possible effects of using pacifiers in the health of their babies. They should weight first the advantages and disadvantages of using pacifiers before deciding on whether or not they should let their babies use them.
Advantages of Baby Pacifiers
Babies cry and wean for various reasons. For parents, giving a pacifier to their babies is an effective way to soothe them for the mean time while they prepare their food or determine what is wrong with them. It is a good alternative for thumb sucking. Babies often suck their thumbs to sooth themselves. However, the habit of thumb sucking can be difficult to break in babies. That is why, parents choose to use a pacifier as it can easily be put away.
Another benefit of using a pacifier is that it helps decrease the risk of children from developing sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), which is considered as one of the leading causes of infant death. According to a study, babies have 90% chance of not suffering from SIDS during sleep when they use pacifiers.
Aside from preventing SIDS, this baby product also has health benefits in premature infants. A study reveals that sucking a pacifier helps premature infants gain some weight faster. Moreover, another study shows that pacifiers enable babies to develop sucking patterns, which promote muscle development.
It is believed that binkies help babies feel good as sucking promotes the release of brain chemicals that are known to relieve stress.
Disadvantages of Baby Pacifiers
One disadvantage of using a pacifier is that it can affect good breastfeeding. Since most pacifiers are made to resemble the nipples of mothers, babies are often confused with the types of nipples presented to them. There is also a great possibility that babies become dependent on a pacifier that they tend to cry whenever it was removed from their mouth.
This baby product also increases the risk of babies from developing ear infection by 40%. Researchers claim that this can be due to the change caused by sucking in the pressure between the upper throat and the upper ear. There are also claims that sucking pacifiers can cause speech delay and dental problems such as misaligned teeth, gingival recession, and crooked teeth.
Every baby product has its own pros and cons. What’s important is that parents know their limitations when using the product. Pacifiers are beneficial to babies. It is a great help for parents especially during the first few months of the baby when they mostly cry and wean. It would be better if they change their babies’ pacifiers regularly especially when there are already signs of wearing out and cracks.
It is also important to always keep them clean to prevent germs from transferring into their babies’ mouth. Parents should make sure that they only let their babies use this product in moderation and temporarily. They should teach their babies on how to soothe themselves without being dependent on pacifiers.
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