Maternity nurse and postnatal expert MELINDA HUNT answers common questions about babies, pregnancy, parenting and more. Here, she discusses the topic of pacifiers for babies and some things to take into consideration before deciding whether to introduce one to your newborn.
What to bear in mind before introducing a pacifier to your baby
There isn’t really a wrong or right answer with regard to giving a pacifier to a baby. Some parents fear it will turn into a bad habit; others are very open and keen to introduce this non-nutritive method of soothing. To help you decide whether introducing a pacifier is something you might want to consider, here are a few guidelines to bear in mind before you take the plunge!
- Babies do have a very strong sucking reflex (some more than others!). So it’s only natural for them to want to suck a pacifier, and it may help with soothing them and gettng them to sleep – and staying asleep!
- Current research suggests that giving a pacifier may help reduce the chance of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
- Before popping in the dummy, remember it’s best to establish breastfeeding first. Once that all important latch is honed by about week three or four, if you want to give baby a pacifier then, it’s a good window of opportunity to do so.
- Think about when your baby most needs the pacifier; maybe it’s only a night-time requirement or for unsettled times. For some particularly “sucky” babies, it might be beneficial to offer a pacifier more frequently to soothe a frazzled temperament and reduce stress.
- If your older baby is starting to spit the pacifier in and out, and you’re required to constantly put it back in, this may be the right time to review whether the dummy has become a habit.
Did you know?
- There are a lot of different words around the world for the substitute nipple made of plastic, rubber or silicone that we give to babies to suck on between feeds. Just a few that you might find in English-speaking countries are: soother, dummy, nunu, pacifier, comforter, nookie, binky, paci, piece, bobo and dodie.
- The first mention of this kind of object in medical writing dates back to 1473, where it appeared in a German text; a painting (also German) from 1506 appears to show a baby holding such an object. It wasn’t until around 1900 that the first rubber version with a handle appeared, including one patented by a pharmacist in Manhattan.
Melinda Maternity is a bespoke postnatal care and night nurse service. Melinda brings firsthand experience and professional advice on topics from feeding and settling to basic baby care.
5177 7240 | melindamaternity.com
This article first appeared in the Spring 2022 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.