“My child is still sucking on his thumb and he’s eleven years old” bemoans my friend.
When Joyce and I heard that, we decided to go out there and get a pacifier for our baby. We didn’t like the idea of our child sucking on her thumb or any other finger at the age of eleven.
We have never seen any child sucking on a pacifier at that age. Until the age of four or less, a pacifier may be the daily companion of the child, pretty much the same way adults can’t go without their mobile phones. But usually, they stop using the pacifier as they grow up. The logic is quite simple as a friend explained. Carrying a pacifier around takes effort and the child just grows out of it. However, the thumb is always around and thus if it becomes a habit, it is more difficult to stop.
On a practical note, a pacifier does have some benefits and these are some situations where it comes in really useful.
On a Flight
The pressure difference when the plane is taking off or descending can be uncomfortable for the baby’s ears. The pacifier solves this by aiding the baby to suck and thus alleviating the pressure build up. The alternative is to feed your baby milk during takeoff or landing but that means you have to time your feeding and it is not always easy to get it right.
Different babies may have different routines when it comes to sleeping at night. At the 3rd month onwards, our baby started to suck on her fingers and this encouraged us to use the pacifier as an alternative, especially at night just before she sleeps. It calms her down and she is able to sleep earlier.
Cons and Pros
As parents, one of our concerns is whether our baby may be addicted to the pacifier. Friends relate stories of their babies who couldn’t sleep without their favourite toy, pacifier and this created a sense of hesitation. We use the pacifier only for the situations above, and in most cases, we try to calm the baby down by holding her.
Pacifier teeth can develop due to the prolonged use of pacifiers, which affects oral development and alignment of teeth. The suggestion is to wean off pacifier before age of two for healthy teeth development.
On the positive end, studies have shown that pacifiers can help prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
Recommendation: The Pacifier We Are Using is from the Pigeon Brand
What’s your experience with using a pacifier for your baby? We love to hear from you.