Forget politics! Once you're a parent, pacifiers are a farmore intense topic of discussion. Here are the pros and cons, spelled out 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 or her 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 thumb-sucking- simply throw it away when it's time.
- Starting baby with a pacifier too early may interfere with breastfeeding, because sucking a nipple requires a different technique than sucking a pacifier (or bottle). The AAP recommends waiting a month before giving a baby a pacifier, which will help him or her learn to nurse first.
- If baby uses the pacifier at night, you might experience some loud pre-dawn protests when it falls out of his or her mouth and he or she can't find it.
- Using a pacifier may increase the incidence of ear infections. Keep in mind, though, that middle ear infection rates are lowest during the first six months- when the risk of SIDS is highest. The trade off might 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.