Pacifier: yes or no? Yes, after the first month of life, if desired, also to protect against the risk of SIDS, that is, cot death. The best pacifiers are icing and silicone for the first few months and then, in the following months, drip and rubber pacifiers are fine too. The pacifier does not ‘spoil’ the baby, just use it with common sense and start removing it after one year of age. Expert advice
Pacifier and babies
Yes to the pacifier after the first month of life, if it is appreciated, also to protect against the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, cot death); ok with the icing and silicone pacifier for the first time and then drip and rubber; the pacifier does not ‘spoil’ the baby, just use it with common sense and start removing it after one year of age.
In this article
1. What is the best material for the pacifier? The silicone in the first months, the rubber from 4-6 months
The pacifiers can be of two materials: silicone is rubber (or latex). The difference?
“Silicone resists sterilization well without altering, therefore it is more suitable in the early stages of life, in which hygiene is extremely important; on the other hand, being a fairly fragile material, it would be better to avoid it when the child begins to put the teeth, as it could tear off pieces and inhale them “says Claudio Profeti, neonatologist at the Anna Meyer Pediatric Hospital, University Hospital of Florence.
“Rubber is less advisable in the first months, since it is a porous material, which absorbs flavors more and can be more easily contaminated by bacteria and fungi, while it is preferable for children from 4-6 months onwards, who have fewer problems hygienic type but they can nibble it better when the first teeth come out and get more satisfaction from it “.
2. What is the best shape for the pacifier? Icing for the little ones, teardrop or anatomical for the older ones
Pacifiers can have three forms: a Cherry, to drop or anatomical. “Every baby has his own preference, but in principle the cherry one is the most similar to the maternal nipple and for this reason it is more suitable for newborns, even preterm; the crushed drop shape and the anatomical shape – in which the drop it has a downward curvature that fits better into the space between the palate and tongue – they are generally more popular with older children, “says Prophets.
3. For full-term babies, it is best to use the pacifier after the first month of life so as not to interfere with breastfeeding
In the term babies, it is advisable to start using the pacifier from 4-6 weeks of life, when the calibration phase ends and breastfeeding is now well underway. According to various studies, in fact, the use of the pacifier can interfere with the acquisition of the correct mode of sucking at the breast (since the sucking of the pacifier is more similar to that of the teat of the bottle) and can push the baby to latch on less to the breast. breast, resulting in reduced milk production and lactation duration.
“However, it is legitimate to think that if the pacifier is used sporadically and with criteria, the risks of interference can be reduced” says Claudio Profeti. “Among other things, recent and well-conducted studies tend to reduce the responsibilities of the pacifier, highlighting that its use may not be the cause of early weaning, but rather highlight pre-existing difficulties in breastfeeding or other complex factors, such as maternal motivation.
In the absence of a univocal vision, most of the scientific societies, prudently, recommend the use of the pacifier for the term born only when the breastfeeding is well started, that is after the first month of life has elapsed “. (READ ALSO: Pacifier to the newborn, yes or no?)
4. The pacifier is useful in preterm infants to promote independent feeding and in intensive care as an analgesic
It has been seen that, in preterm babies not yet capable of latching on to the breast and fed with a nasogastric tube, the systematic use of the pacifier can facilitate the acquisition of the ability to suck and swallow and therefore to take milk from the mother’s breast and bottle; consequently it can also reduce hospitalization times. In neonatal intensive care, the pacifier is also used effectively to reduce the perception of pain. “The non-nutritive sucking is an innate automatism in the child, which provides satisfaction and reassures” says Prophets. “Like breast sucking, pacifier sucking also has a consoling and analgesic function and for this reason in the hospital it can be of comfort to the child whenever painful procedures, such as punctures, have to be performed”. But even later it can represent an extra help, as an alternative to the breast, when for example the mother will have to bring her child to have the first vaccinations.
5. The pacifier used between the first and sixth month protects the baby from SIDS risk
It is not yet clear what is the mechanism by which the pacifier reduces the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), but the scientific community agrees that putting the baby to sleep with a pacifier in the mouth helps prevent SIDS, an event that occurs most frequently between the first and sixth month of life completed.
“It has been seen that the child who undergoes SIDS has a lower ability to wake up during sleep if he is subject to apnea episodes and for this reason he runs the risk of having a respiratory arrest” explains the pediatrician. “The use of the pacifier seems to lower the threshold of awakening and therefore favor the child’s ability to wake up if he goes into apnea”.
To exert its protective effect, it is not essential that the pacifier remain in the mouth all night, so if it falls shortly after the infant has fallen asleep there is no need to reposition it: the automatic sucking activated by the pacifier persists. long, even if the pacifier is no longer in the mouth. (YOU MAY ALSO BE INTERESTED IN: My child uses breast as a pacifier)