Soothing Baby With A Pacifier

New parents are usually either adamantly on one side of the fence or the other when it comes to whether or not to give baby a pacifier. If you decide to, make sure you follow the rules of pacifier safety.

baby with pacifier

When to start

Newborns can start using a pacifier when they are first born. However, proceed with caution. If you are trying to exclusively breastfeed, do not introduce a pacifier until baby is well adjusted to his breastfeeding routine to avoid nipple confusion or having baby prefer the paci to the breast. This could be anywhere from two to 10 weeks, or whenever you feel baby has solidified his nursing patterns.

Don't force it

Many parents may feel the need to introduce a pacifier, but you really should not be obligated to do so. Babies can satisfy their urge for sucking during nursing sessions or when taking a bottle.

Should baby suck to sleep?

Research shows that babies who suck a pacifier at bed and nap times have a lower risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). There is little risk of baby choking on the pacifier during sleep -- when he falls alseep the paci will naturally fall out of his mouth. Once it does, don't put it back in.

Keep it clean

Be sure to wash baby's pacifier on a very regular basis in warm water and especially when it hits the floor. If it develops cracks, replace it right away. As many new moms will tell you, it's a good idea to keep a few pacifiers around the house (and tucked into the diaper bag) as they seem to disappear right when you need one most.

Avoid dependency on the pacifier

As baby gets older, don't offer the pacifier to him until he asks for it. Don't give it to baby to stave him off from a feeding and don't rely on it to help calm baby to sleep or baby could confuse the pacifier with a comfort object that he'll need to fall asleep. Comfort him in other ways before introducing it for sleep.

When to stop

To avoid baby developing a total dependence on the pacifier, try ditching the sucky habit before your baby turns a year old.

More on the pacifier

High-tech pacifier being tested in hospitals may help preemies
Help your baby ditch the pacifier
Are you a human pacifier?

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