Bitting their nails, picking their nose, scratching their scars, or thumb-sucking are some of the most common bad habits in kids. These actions often relate to a kid’s behavior and character.
Some kids tend to make abnormal movements, mainly anxious kids with nervous characters. Parents can solve these tendential problems by explaining, as they grow, these recurring actions’ adverse effects on them.
Pediatricians greatly help parents deal with these issues, and there are many successful cases in which infants cease those habits with gentle reminders. So, regarding the use of pacifiers, it relates more to learned conduct than to their character.
In this article, we emphasize the discussion about pacifiers in babies and parents’ concerns and analyze the pros and cons of using them, insisting that parents must have them under control to avoid the development of malocclusions.
Is It Ok to Give Your Baby Pacifier?
Pacifier sucking definitely has several advantages but also some disadvantages. To introduce this topic, we must first talk about the sucking reflex. When a baby is born, they have many reflexes. However, one of the most crucial of them is “sucking.”
The sucking reflex is a primitive defense mechanism that makes the baby gets attached to her mother and begin to suck to extract milk. This reflex has nutritional and psychological benefits.
Among the psychological effects, we found sucking brings a sense of peace to the baby, relaxing her. For this reason, we call the sucking device a “pacifier.” So, pacifiers are not necessarily bad, and here we bring some scientific reasons for it:
It Calms a Baby’s Anxiety
Relaxing a baby is the number one reason to use a pacifier, and it is ok.
Significantly Reduces the Risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
Despite several research studies on babies, it is still unclear why sucking a pacifier reduces the possibility of SIDS. However, scientists conjecture it may be due to a reduction in changing positions while sleeping, reducing reflux.
Works as an Analgesic
For instance, when you take your baby to get a vaccine, breastfeeding a baby while getting a vaccine shot reduces the pain. The pacifier has the same effect, especially in cases where breastfeeding is impossible.
In emergency procedures like sutures, scar curations, and clean-ups, using a pacifier has an almost immediate effect on lowering pain in babies. Check out more in this study.
It Accelerates Premature Baby Release From a Hospital
Studies reveal that premature babies who suck on pacifiers increase their chances of being discharged earlier than planned.
Using a pacifier brings some benefits we can’t deny. For that reason, babies comfort themselves sucking on their thumbs as a resort. However, doing so after a certain age might indicate excessive anxiety in a child. You can learn much more following this study.
Are Pacifiers Harmful to Babies?
Despite some contrary criteria, pacifiers are not harmful. Still, they might cause forthcoming problems if parents ignore or neglect their potential harm, especially if used while a baby becomes a child. Here we list some of the disadvantages:
It Might Interfere With Baby Breastfeeding
Despite many opinions about the topic, we don’t recommend giving a newborn a pacifier until the baby is at least two months. Doing so might produce a misinterpretation in the baby, interfering with the breastfeeding course.
Breastfeeding at night is essential for a baby. The physiology of the mammary gland and the mouth of the baby is the perfect conjunction. So, giving a baby a pacifier at night interferes with the baby’s milk intake and production by her mother.
“Intervening in a natural process produces a disruption. “
In this sense, prolactin is a hormone that helps in milk production. Breastfeeding women produce this hormone having the highest production peaks at night. So, if you give your baby a pacifier to calm her down at night, this might interfere with prolactin production and a consequent milk decrease.
A Pacifier Might Cause Respiratory or Gastrointestinal Infections
Latex tends to be a suitable environment for staphylococcus, producing an increase or a high frequency of bacterial infections in babies.
Frequent Inner Ear Infections (Otitis)
There might be two causes of otitis. First, postnasal secretions that accumulate in the middle ear, and secondly, “obstructions” or “dysfunctions” of the eustachian tube we all have in the inner ear and that occur as an effect of malocclusion, which might cause recurrent otitis.
Despite a long controversy on whether pacifiers might be the cause of jaw and teeth misalignments later on during childhood, specialists arrived at a definite conclusion on this matter. “prolonged thumb sucking” and pacifier use, this is, sucking after thirty-six months of age (3 years), could cause dental malocclusions, like buck teeth.
Untreated dental malocclusions might produce a negative impact on a kid’s permanent teeth. We recommend parents take their kids for their first orthodontic consultation at age seven to define the need to start orthodontic treatment (interceptive orthodontic treatment) and for a follow-up on your child’s dental development with a suited treatment plan.
“For this reason, orthodontic pediatrists do not recommend using a pacifier for a prolongated (extended) time or three years of age.”
Can a Teething Baby Have a Popsicle?
Definitely no. You shouldn’t give your baby a popsicle; we will explain this in a structured manner.
First, the best is to skip giving your baby a pacifier for the first time. General Pediatrists and Orthodontic Pediatrists do not recommend the use of a pacifier.
This doesn’t mean you can’t do it. We simply don’t recommend using it, as it is something your baby doesn’t know, so if you don’t give it to her, she won’t need it and will make it without it.
Also, you will avoid unnecessary problems later on. Your baby already has her mother’s nipples and a feeding bottle, which should be sufficient. So, coming back to the question, a short answer is appropriate for the case.
A pacifier causes fewer problems than popsicles in a baby, and the issues it might cause are many already, like speech impediments. Can you imagine having additional problems? For instance, the dangers sugar produces in baby teeth are pediatric tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease.
So, pacifiers might be helpful, but, as parents, we must use them responsibly to avoid being factors that could produce forthcoming damage to our children as they grow. Popsicles also have their negatives and very bad ones for babies and kids. So we recommend avoiding or placing some control rules on them.
Two-Phased Orthodontics and Children and Teen Treatment
Dr. Estes and her team understand the importance of providing your kids with excellent orthodontic care accompanied by the latest technology and state-of-the-art treatments.
As discussed in this article, we strive to assist parents in parenting with relevant information, advice, and treatments to improve their child’s quality of life.
Schedule an appointment in El Cerrito, and we will accompany you to help your kid get a beautiful smile that will raise her confidence as she grows to adulthood.