Ferrando emphasizes: “The pacifier it is not recommended in the first 20-30 days of life, especially in breastfed babies, to avoid it interfering with breastfeeding. Later, when the milk has risen and the baby is growing adequately, the pacifier can be offered for comfort. “This – according to the pediatrician – especially in babies who tend to cry a lot because of colic or because they struggle to fall asleep.
“The pacifier must not be offered every time the baby cries, because often the baby’s cry expresses his desire to communicate with his mother” (Alberto Ferrando)
The pacifier, of course, is not an indispensable item. There are children, especially if breastfed, who safely do without it or who refuse it obstinately (and in these cases there is certainly no need to insist). Having a pacifier available can be useful for the child to satisfy one of his natural instinct that is to suck.
What is sucking for
As the Genoese pediatrician Alberto Ferrando explains in his book How to feed my son, “the sucking reflex serves the newborn not only to feed himself, but also to console himself: it is proven that when newborns feel pain (for example, during colic) they want to sucking, even without feeding. Hence, for newborns, sucking is aimed at satisfying not only a physiological need, but also a psychological need for reassurance and gratification “.
Pacifier and SIDS
It has been suggested that the pacifier may decrease the risk of SIDS (cot death). The hypothesis is that sucking prevents the baby from sinking into a sleep so deep that it does not allow him to wake up if it were necessary, for example, to put more air into the lungs or to get rid of a regurgitation.
Excessively prolonged use of the pacifier leads to atypical swallowing which can cause dental malocclusion and speech disorders. For this reason, the pacifier should be removed within two years, or in any case not much later.
“The best time to remove the pacifier varies from child to child and, in any case, when they start drinking and sucking less” writes Ferrando: “In some children this happens around a year and a half, in others it goes beyond two years “.