I am often asked about introducing the pacifier, should you keep it in place for sleep time only or what are the signs that it is becoming a sleep prop and hindrance. No matter the term you use, pacy, binky, soother/soothie or pacifier we always wonder if it is the magical trick or best item to introduce to our babies.
I have three children of my own and for years I have been a huge component of the pacifier and see it having a ton of healthy benefits. The pacy can greatly reduce the risk of SIDS for babies of all ages including newborns, it can help keep the germs out of a little ones mouth, it can help with the sucking motion as babies are born to naturally suck and this gives them comfort and always a favorite; keeping them distracted in a pinch, a positive!
At the same time there can always be some downsides and it all mainly focuses around sleep time. Many times baby’s can become dependent and want it to be reinserted often when going to sleep or getting back to sleep and parents become a slave to the pacy, especially for little ones who are not able to put it back in their mouth on their own. Also, it can keep a baby unsettled and wake easily while they sleep if it falls out suddenly waking them hoping to have it put back in their mouth quickly. Therefore, not able to get the solid and consistent sleep we are looking to achieve.
For older babies as they are learning to develop their words and speech, it can sometimes hinder or delay the speech. It can also effect a child's teeth just the same as a child who sucks their thumb or fingers. This is something you should talk to your dentist and pediatrician about and get their thoughts on this issue.
My first child was a pacy baby and I LOVED it, I have always had a weak spot for a binky baby, he easily gave it up around 18 months and thought, wow that was a breeze. Enter my second child who refused to take the pacy from the get go, she found comfort in her little finger and thumb, so I did not fight her. She was a very fussy and colicky baby from months and years on end as she was misdiagnosed with health issues so I would take anything I could to get her to be satisfied. Now, at age 3 I am fighting the battle of the thumb and finger sucker not so easy to remove. My third baby, fought hard to be a thumb sucker, but I was determined never again will I have a thumb sucker, so after 4-6 months of sticking to it, she FINALLY accepted the pacy and the rest is history. It was a long battle, in which many would give up, but I knew she would easily turn into a thumb sucker and all would be a repeat from my middle child, so it is possible to finally have that pacy baby.
If you are truly wanting to introduce the pacifier one important factor I remind parents, do not change pacifier types often, give your baby some time to adjust and see if they can enjoy that brand or type of pacy before moving on to the next one. There are so many types of pacifiers on the market, researching and finding the one that might be the right fit for your little one is important. Remember it took me close to 6 months to finally get my baby to latch on to the pacy for good and now I will soon be going through removing the pacy, but not until the dreaded flu and winter season are past us!
In the end their is actually no right or wrong answer to the pacifier. It is a families choice and like anything else you will have pros and cons to either way you decide to go. What is important to remember when talking about sleep and the pacy, if you have the solid sleep foundations in place, the pacy is just an added bonus to help a baby. It can be a comfort item as they sleep just like the swaddle or sleep sack.
If you are ready to finally have healthy sleep in place for your child and family reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would love to set up a free 15 minute call to discuss things further.