Do pacifiers really work on babies?

  • By Team TDO

The pacifier is generally nipple shaped and can be found snug in any newborn’s mouth. It is what keeps mum from falling apart trying to figure out why the baby is wailing. When cradling in the arms, making soothing sounds or singing lullabies doesn’t work, the good old pacifier or binky can help.

Some feel that since the pacifier substitutes a mother’s nipple it must simulate mother’s protective shield in some way thus somewhat soothing the baby, but doctors rubbish this as they have actually seen image of foetuses sucking their thumbs inside the womb. Long before they even spot a nipple or understand its use.

There can also be this thing with pacifiers called ‘Nipple Confusion’ where the pacifier wins hands down over the nipple and thus affects the babies proper nursing. This dependence ought to be discouraged in the long run if the baby is being breast fed. Despite this some mothers are reluctant to let go off the pacifier because that would mean the baby will seek comfort of the thumb and that can lead to misalignment in teeth later on.

There is also that distinct possibility that prolonged use of the pacifier can lead to middle-ear infections. The most spoken about benefit of pacifiers is that it reduces the risk of Sudden Death Syndrome in infants. This is where pacifiers have a distinct advantage and are popular with most parents.

While UNICEF and the World Health Organization, advise mothers to breastfeed exclusively if possible for the first six months and recommend parents to “give no artificial teats or pacifiers to breastfeeding infants." Several studies have shown an association between soother use and early weaning.