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There are pro’s and con’s to using a pacifier to sooth your baby and it will be up to you to decide whether you wish to introduce one or not. Babies are born with a strong sucking reflex and so it is unsurprising that pacifiers can have a soothing and calming effect. It is best to consider the positives and negatives and possible long-term implications before making a decision. 

Potential advantages:

  • If your baby has trouble settling a pacifier may help your baby fall asleep.
  • A pacifier may help soothe and relax a fussy baby.
  • A pacifier may useful on a flight to help a baby with the discomfort of cabin pressure and associated ear pain.
  • A pacifier can be a temporary distraction
  • A pacifier can be removed and disposed of at the appropriate time – if your baby develops the habit of sucking on their thumb or fingers it can be more problematical to break the habit.

Potential disadvantages:

  • Early introduction of the pacifier can interfere with breastfeeding.  Wait at least four weeks when a strong breastfeeding pattern will be emerging.
  • Pacifiers fall out in the night and your baby may be reliant on them which can interrupt sleep (both yours and your baby’s as this will require frequent visits in the night to replace the pacifier!)
  • Pacifiers may increase the risk of middle ear infections
  • Prolonged use of a pacifier may interfere with normal dental development.
  • There will come a time when the pacifier must go and this can be stressful for both parents and child, although there are many strategies and methods to achieve this with the minimal of fuss.

Ultimately it is your decision to do what feels right for you and your baby having educated yourself on the pro’s and con’s of introducing a pacifier. If in doubt consult your health care professional. 

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