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Baby care: Pros and cons of using a pacifier


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For mothers, sometimes pacifiers may seem like a god send. You may just want five minutes of peace and quiet and giving your baby a pacifier may seem like the best idea at the time. But there are some pros and cons you may want to know before giving it to your child.


Pros


1. Suckling



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Suckling has been proved to be beneficial for your baby. It releases chemicals that help your child calm down faster. Suckling could be facilitated by their thumb or by a pacifier, as you see fit. But as they grow older, breaking the habit of the pacifier is shown to be easier as compared to using the thumb.


2. Distraction



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If you have to take your child out with you and he starts crying, the pacifier may act as a distraction for your him. It’s always handy to keep a pacifier in your handbag for situations like flights or movies.


3. Reduced risk of SIDS



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SIDS is the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome where a seemingly healthy baby dies in his sleep or without warning. Use of a pacifier is seen as an effective way to prevent SIDS as it enhances unconscious activity of suckling to the baby’s body.


Cons


1. Infections



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Increased use of the pacifier has been shown to increase risk of ear infections. It may also interfere in the growth of permanent teeth leading to cavities or growth of crooked teeth.


2. Increased dependence



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Your baby may be comfortable using the pacifier but you must be careful not to let him get too dependent on it. If your baby depends on the pacifier too much, he may start crying incessantly when you take it away from him.


3. Interference in breast feeding



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The introduction of artificial nipples at a young age may deter your child from suckling properly when you breast feed them. They may be sensitive to the difference and thus try not to use the pacifier excessively.


Certain precautions must be taken while using the pacifier. Wait a month after delivery to start using it. Use the pacifier while you’re putting your child to sleep and don’t re introduce it when it falls out. Keep it clean by regularly washing it under running water and if you notice cracks or tears then replace it immediately. Don’t force your child to use the pacifier if it makes him uncomfortable. If your baby is using it, start reducing the usage when he reaches the age of 1.


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