Pacifiers can sometimes be helpful in calming down a restless baby. The sucking provides comfort and soothes them. Pacifiers are not only handy in stopping babies from being fussy, but also provide temporary distraction or help them fall asleep faster. Having a pacifier can save you, and your baby, from a lot of pain. However, they can also harm your baby, for example, causing misalignment of teeth and increasing their risk of suffering from infections to the middle ear.
Here are six ways in which pacifiers can harm your baby;
Latex pacifiers are preferred to silicone ones as they are softer and more flexible. However, most babies are said to suffer from latex allergy arising mostly from vaccinations. The allergy could lead to rashes, or even worse, asthma and shock. The softness of the latex pacifier also makes it easily chewable and can cause serious health issues when ingested.
Silicone pacifiers are recommended because they are stronger, more durable and silicone allergies are not as common as latex allergies. Some babies are however allergic to silicone and any exposure, however minimal, can trigger a reaction. Silicone allergies are characterised by watery eyes, rashes, labored breath and in the worst cases, shock.
Sweetening the pacifier
Oral bacteria thrive in sugary environments and therefore can cause harm to the baby’s gums and teeth which are still developing. The bacteria release acids that cause decay and childhood cavities. Honey is also known to contain a chemical that can lead to food poisoning and should never be given to children under the age of two.
Pacifiers, being constantly in contact with saliva and oral bacteria, can be an avenue for the growth, contamination and transmission of bacterial organisms. Given that most parents just wash and dry the pacifiers instead of disinfecting them, pacifiers can cause dental caries, intestinal parasitic infections, candidiasis and infection to the middle ear. Use of tap water to clean the pacifier has also been linked to bacteria that cause dental caries. While cleaning a pacifier in your mouth can help pass good bacteria to your baby, there are also risks of transmitting harmful bacteria to them.
Frequent use of the pacifier can turn into a habit such that the baby cannot do it anything, including fall asleep, without it. This can interrupt the baby’s sleep, and yours, when it falls off in the course of the night. Addiction to the pacifier could also delay the baby’s speech development. As the baby gets older, consider restricting the use of a pacifier to bedtime only until you get them completely off it. Momcrib.Com recommends finding other ways of calming the baby down.
Gassing up the baby
It is inevitable that the baby will swallow air when feeding and have the need to pass gas. However, frequent and vigorous sucking on the pacifier could also cause gas problems. If the gas builds up, it may cause stomach acid reflux or abdominal pains which make the baby uncomfortable. When they cry due to the discomfort, giving them a pacifier further worsens their discomfort.
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