0 - 12 Weeks

Pacifier pros and cons

Baby with a pacifier in their mouth

Like the name suggests, pacifiers not only help soothe your baby, they can also reduce crying significantly. As with so many parenting choices, there are benefits and drawbacks to weigh as you decide whether to introduce one. 

If your baby is nursing, you should wait to offer a pacifier until breastfeeding is well established—usually around 3 to 4 weeks, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). If your baby is nursing regularly, seems satisfied after feedings, is peeing frequently, pooping at least three times a day, and gaining weight, breastfeeding is likely going well. Consider avoiding the pacifier in the 30 minutes or so before you suspect your baby may want to feed so you can observe their hunger cues.

Pacifiers can affect speech development if used too frequently. When your baby is alert and happy, limit pacifier use so they have plenty of opportunities to practice making noises, cooing, and babbling.

The pros of pacifiers

  • Some babies start sucking (on their thumb, hands, or feet) even before birth for comfort in the womb. But once they’re born, they don’t have the coordination to keep a thumb in their mouth. A pacifier can help replicate the calming feeling they had in the womb.
  • Preterm infants who use a pacifier are discharged from the hospital sooner, studies show.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends giving your baby a pacifier at naptime and bedtime to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). 
  • Studies have shown that pacifier use in healthy nursing babies doesn’t significantly impact the frequency or duration of breastfeeding in the first 4 months.
  • Pacifiers allow your baby to suck up to twice as fast as they can when breastfeeding or drinking from a bottle. If your baby is upset and has recently been fed, a pacifier can help calm them more quickly. 

The cons of pacifiers

  • For most parents, the biggest worry is dependence. Weaning a child off the pacifier can be a challenge. 
  • When a baby gets accustomed to a pacifier, they may wake up or get upset when it falls out of their mouth. 
  • They are small and easy to lose, and they need to be cleaned often.
  • With prolonged use, pacifiers have been linked to dental and speech issues, and an increased risk of ear infections. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and speech and language therapists recommend starting to wean from the pacifier between 6 to 12 months, and weaning completely before a child’s 3rd birthday (at the latest).
  • Even if you decide to introduce a pacifier, your new baby may refuse to take it.


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Posted in: 0 - 12 Weeks, Feeding, Newborn Care, Sleeping, Lovevery App, Child Development

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