When stocking up on items for your nursery, a pacifier is one item you cannot miss. It is a great tool that helps to soothe your baby when upset, teething, or sick to his stomach. It is such an excellent tool to have in your purse, car, or diaper bag when you are with your baby.
The sucking action helps in calming the baby plus discouraging thumb or finger sucking. Pacifiers come in two types, so you have to know which one works for your child. The best idea is to purchase both types since it might not be easy to know which kind will work for your child.
They are made in one piece with a guard or shield attached to the base. Pacifiers are made from a material such as latex, silicone, or a combination of both. Silicone ones are sturdy, easy to clean, and never retain odor. However, latex pacifiers are softer.
Why get your baby a pacifier?
Babies do cry and wean for many reasons. Giving your child a pacifier is an effective way to soothe him. It helps you buy time as you prepare to feed the baby or determine what is bothering them. Pacifiers have many benefits, as outlined below:
To soothe themselves, babies suck their thumbs. However, this habit might be difficult to break. The best alternative to prevent this practice is to offer your child a pacifier.
Reduces sudden infant death syndrome
Another reason for giving your child a pacifier is to help decrease the chances of developing sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). It is one of the significant causes of death in infants. Pacifiers can reduce the chances of SIDS by 90 percent in babies during sleep.
Helps premature infants
The sucking effect of a pacifier helps premature babies to gain weight much faster. The sucking effect is also beneficial in helping the child to develop his muscles.
Useful tips when purchasing pacifiers:
- Ensure nipple is secured to the base
- Go for an orthodontic or rounded one
- One with vent holes in the guard is better in the prevention of skin rash
- Check for details on sanitization
- Look out for recalls
Teaching your baby to take a pacifier
Are you trying to introduce a pacifier to your baby? Well, he might not readily accept it. To get your child to use a pacifier, you need some techniques plus patience. The following ideas might help.
Choose a pacifier wisely
There are a lot of superior products in the market. However, your baby needs one which is appropriate for his stage of development. Do check the package for a rating for a newborn or infant. Does it indicate that the pacifier nipple resembles a synthetic nipple or breast nipple?
There are some products with broad bases. However, choose one with holes to allow your baby to breathe as they are using it.
For safety purposes, a one-piece pacifier model is better than a two-piece model. It helps avoid risks of the parts coming apart and posing a choking hazard.
You should introduce the pacifier to the baby when he is a bit calm and content. It is not good to wait until he is upset or crying very hard. Touch it to his cheek to encourage him turn toward and suckle. It is a natural reflex babies are born with.
Watch his reaction
It’s nice to watch your child as he sucks the pacifier for several minutes on its first introduction. Does he reject the pacifier? Try and dip it in breast milk or formula. You can as well warm it in your hand before getting him to take it once more.
How to get a breastfed child to use a pacifier?
A pacifier is a great part of any new mom’s arsenal. However, not all babies take to it lightly. Does your child spit the pacifier out? Try some of the following ideas might be of help.
Introduce after feeding
Give your baby a pacifier directly after feeding. At this moment he is content and calm. It is better to offer the baby a pacifier when he is happy. He will associate the sucking action with his contentment.
Do not use it as a substitute to feeding. He will soon learn to link it to hunger and will spit it out instantly.
Trial and error
It might not be easy to find out which kind of pacifier works for your baby. So, with trial and error, test with a variety of shapes, sizes, and nipples until you find one which he likes. Purchase some cheap ones from a supply store and keep trying until you get one he enjoys.
Coat the pacifier
If the baby goes on spitting out the pacifier, try coating it with breast milk or formula. It will give it a pleasant taste which might make him enjoy it. New pacifiers usually come with a rubbery taste which might be unpleasant to your baby.
Desist from coating the nipple with sweet substances like honey or corn syrup. They are one of the leading causes of dental problems. Further, honey poses a risk of causing botulism in babies.
Pacifier safety tips
Not all kids take easily to a pacifier though they are a great source of comfort. When your child is using one, here are a couple of safety tips that you should consider.
- Avoid accessories
- Never attach it to the baby
- Go for a one-piece model
- Never modify the pacifier
- Avoid liquid-filled types
- Go for a standard size
There is a belief that the sucking on a pacifier makes the brain to release chemicals which relieve your baby’s stress. It makes your little one become calm and gives you time before you feed him again. What is your experience with your child using a pacifier? Drop it in the comments. Can you share the techniques you used to get your child to suck on a pacifier?