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Newborn Basics

Q&A: Pacifier Pro And Con?

I've heard a hundred different opinions— pacifiers, yes or no?

Forget politics! Once you're a parent, pacifiers are a farmore intense topic of discussion. Here are the pros and cons, spelledout by the American Academy of Pediatrics.


[ ] Babies love to suck — a pacifier can soothe a fusspot or help a night-waker fall back to sleep on his own.

[ ] Pacifiers provide distraction, buying you time to make a bottle or finish a phone call before nursing. A pacifier can also work wonders while baby's getting shots.

[ ] Research links bedtime pacifier use with a decreased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

[ ] The pacifier habit is much easier to break than thumbsucking- simply throw away those binkies when it's time.


[ ] Starting baby with a pacifier too early may interfere withbreastfeeding, because sucking a nipple requires a different techniquethan sucking a pacifier (or bottle). The AAP recommends waiting a month before giving a baby a pacifier, which will help him learn to nurse first.

[ ] If baby uses the pacifier at night, you might experience someloud pre-dawn protests when it falls out of his mouth and he can't findit.

[ ] Using a pacifier may increase the incidence of ear infections.Keep in mind, though, that middle ear infection rates are lowest duringthe first six months- when the risk of SIDS is highest. The trade offmight be worth it.

Ultimately, the choice is yours — and baby's. Wait a month after delivery to establish a solid feeding routine, then try a pacifier if you'd like. If baby takes to it, great; if not, toss it.

By Paula Kashtan