The Benefits of a Pacifier.

benefits of a pacifier

We are excited to have another post by Bethany of Baby on Board Consulting share her wisdom on a hotly debated topic: PACIFIERS!

Oh the pacifier!  Some babies are obsessed with them and will want to pack one for college, while others never seem to care for them (it’s a toss-up really).  We all know that they are a great tool to include in your parent arsenal for those baby meltdown days, but did you also know that introducing a pacifier to your baby has some other great advantages? Here are some wonderful ways a pacifier can help your baby:

Satisfies the sucking reflex:  Your baby is equipped with 7 natural reflexes, straight from birth!  Unfortunately a “washed all the dishes” reflex isn’t one of them…..but a girl can dream right?  The sucking reflex however, allows your baby to move their mouth and tongue in a motion that helps them feed efficiently and to fill up their little tummies with nutrients.  If your baby is still exhibiting the sucking reflex after finishing a meal, a pacifier can come in handy.  The pacifier can help ease this reflex and settle them, giving you and baby some nice relaxing time together.

Helps a baby self soothe:  Along with relaxing your baby, pacifiers can help your baby feel secure and safe.  This is helpful for when you need a break from holding and/or breastfeeding your agitated baby.  It helps your baby soothe themselves without your outside help, which makes it a great addition to establishing healthy soothing habits for the future.

Pain control: Another benefit that the pacifier offers is it can help a baby with pain relief.  When a baby is sucking, they are distracted from stressful stimuli caused by unpleasant situations, such as a vaccination at the doctors.  While breastfeeding and/or bottle feeding does help the same way, a pacifier is handy for the situations when you cannot comfort feed them.        

Helps reduce the risk of SIDS: According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), pacifiers are a part of safe sleeping practices.  The AAP recommends giving a pacifier for daytime naps and night time sleep to reduce the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).  One theory around this is that a pacifier will stop a baby from falling into an extremely deep sleep that they are not easily aroused from.  Experts do not know exactly what causes SIDS, so following safe and preventative steps is the best call.  You can find the AAP safe sleep recommendations here:  Safe Sleeping

Great for flights: We all know that chewing gum can help regulate the pressure in our adult ears during take-off and landing, but did you know that babies feel the same pressure?  Sucking on a pacifier helps alleviate that pressure for your baby which in turn creates a smoother flight for you too.

Pacifiers can be a great addition to your routine with your baby and can offer many benefits.  However, consult with your pediatrician about any concern you may have, and do your own research to make the best-informed decision you can for you and your family.  As always, surround yourself with support and love and remember that you are doing an amazing job!