In addition to ensuring breastfeeding – and, consequently, the baby’s survival -, sucking is something natural to the baby since he is in the mother’s uterus, even many ultrasounds show, for example, babies sucking their thumb. In addition, the sucking movement also promotes the release of endorphins, which are directly related to the child’s sense of pleasure and well-being.
The act of sucking on the mother’s breast is sufficient to satisfy the baby’s basic desire for sucking and, in addition, it is very important for the development of the jaw and other bones of the face, the muscles of mastication, dental occlusion and proper breathing. of child. However, it is a fact that the use of pacifiers, with the aim of “calming the baby”, has been passed on from generation to generation, and has become a cultural habit.
But when it comes to pacifiers, there are many doubts and contradictions. After all, should parents offer a pacifier to their baby or not? What health risks can it pose?
Tatiana Miranda, coordinator of the pediatric emergency department at Leforte Hospital, points out that the history of the pacifier dates back thousands of years. “Ancient writings from the 2nd and 4th centuries reference the use of sugared or honeyed objects for babies to suckle in order to soothe them. Over the years these objects have been refined to the way we know pacifiers today, but always with the same goal,” she says.
Are there any advantages to using a pacifier?
Tatiana highlights that, in special cases, there are advantages in using a pacifier:
- Helps to anticipate the start of oral feeding in premature babies;
- Helps reduce stress in babies during painful procedures (such as drawing blood, for example)
- It can be used to stimulate sucking in children with neurological diseases.
Some studies even show a possible protective effect of pacifiers against sudden death in babies.
Tatiana points out, however, that this is quite controversial in the literature. “Some studies show that it reduces the risk of sudden death because the pacifier helps prevent the tongue from ‘falling’ backwards during sleep – which causes suffocation, which leads to sudden death,” she says.
On the other hand, explains the doctor, studies show that breastfeeding reduces the risk of sudden death in babies by 50%. “And since the pacifier reduces breastfeeding time, its use is also reported to increase sudden death,” she points out.
The pediatrician explains that the time the child usually uses the pacifier depends on the environment in which she lives, the family relationship with the child and with the pacifier. “It is recommended that if the child is going to use it (which most professionals discourage) that use should be up to one year of age,” she says.
6 reasons not to give your baby a pacifier
Tatiana points out that there are disadvantages in using a pacifier, as it can pose risks to the baby’s health.
Discover the main reasons why most professionals are against the use of pacifiers:
- It prevents the establishment of breastfeeding and induces weaning by being offered when the child cries;
- It is responsible for the shorter duration of breastfeeding;
- May cause suffocation;
- It can cause poisoning or allergies;
- Increases the risk of caries, infections and parasites;
- It causes teething and speech problems, especially if its use is prolonged beyond 3 or 4 years.
Ways to soothe a baby without using a pacifier
Tatiana exposes the main ways to “reassure” a baby without offering him a pacifier:
- Offer affection;
- “Nanar” the baby;
- Try to figure out why he’s stressed and lessen that stress.
“A study also showed that the use of music associated with offering breast milk in the mouth of babies had a ‘calming’ effect superior to the use of a pacifier during painful procedures in hospital”, adds the pediatrician.
How to help the child let go of the pacifier?
Tatiana points out that the ideal is for the child to drop the pacifier alone. “Your need to suck something should naturally decrease as she grows,” she says. However, the pediatrician gives some tips that can help you in this process:
- Keep an eye on it and when the baby wants the pacifier, provide something to replace it;
- If the baby takes the pacifier when he’s bored, offer some more interesting activity, like a book to flip through, for example. Or, make funny faces to distract him;
- If the child tends to put the pacifier in his mouth when he is worried or feeling insecure, help him to explain what he is feeling. Ask questions to find out what’s going on and comfort her in other ways – with kisses and hugs, for example.
Now you know the possible advantages and disadvantages of using a pacifier. It is worth mentioning that the Brazilian Society of Pediatrics recommends that parents clearly have this view of “pros and cons” in relation to this subject, so that, together with the baby’s pediatrician, they can make the best decision as to whether or not to offer the pacifier.
Journalist graduated in 2009 (58808/SP), freelance writer since 2013, totally adept at working from home. Communicative, always full of topics to talk about and inspiration to write. Responsible at work and outside of it; dedicated to commitments and the people with whom she lives; in love with family, dogs, home, the sea, moments of tranquility and also excitement.
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