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8 Pacifier Do's & Don'ts

Learn the do's and don'ts of giving your infant a pacifier from pediatrician Dyan Hes, M.D. in this Howcast video about newborn and baby development.


We now recommend that pacifiers not be introduced in a breastfeeding baby until four to six weeks of age because you want to establish a good latch with the breast. That being said, I have plenty of patients who feed off the breast very, very well and take a pacifier at night or for for naps, and they do fine with it. Bottle fed babies it's easier to introduce a pacifier because they're already sucking from,you know, a silicone or some kind of a nipple, artificial nipple not a mom's nipple.

Pacifiers are best used at night time when a baby needs to console themselves to go to sleep, and it's difficult to put the baby down. When a pacifier falls out you should never put a pacifier back in. Leave the baby asleep without the pacifier.

I recommend for my patients to stop the pacifier use between nine and twelve months of age. This is for several reasons. One, it's a very hard habit to break once a child is crawling or walking, because they will go to look for their pacifier all over the house.

The second reason being is that I feel that pacifier use interferes with speech. Often, babies have the pacifier in their mouth when they come to the office and they put it in their mouths to the side and they speak as if they almost have a cigarette in their mouth. So I find that they're not speaking clearly because they have the pacifier in at all times.

Another thing is that parents use the pacifier to stop the babies from crying. It doesn't mean that crying is bad. Crying is okay. Your child might have a tantrum, or your child might be upset. And what I often see is that parents stick that pacifier back in and don't let that child express themselves that they're upset. When I see parents using the pacifier too much I might often say to back off with the pacifier.

If your child suffers from increased ear infections, also known as otis media, I would recommend to stop the pacifier. Because the pacifier gets colonized with bacteria. Every time it falls down it has saliva on it. And you put that pacifier back in the baby's mouth. The baby lies back, and the eustachian tubes are very horizontal. That bacteria goes back up to the tympanic membranes. So if your child suffers from recurrent ear infections discontinue the use of the pacifier.

Of course, discuss pacifier use with your pediatrician to see what he or she recommends.

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