Infants And Pacifiers
Infants And Pacifiers
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- Using the pacifier between meals, when a baby is not hungry, will minimize interference with normal feeding patterns.
- A pacifier may be soothing at naptime or bedtime to help an infant fall asleep. When an infant is young, he or she may need a caregiver to find the pacifier if it falls out of their mouth. As the infant becomes older, he or she may be able to find the pacifier and start sucking independently.
- When an infant cries, it is important to try to hold and cuddle the infant. Pacifiers should not take the place of bonding between a caregiver and an infant. A pacifier should not be placed in a baby's mouth every time he or she cries; rather, it should be used to satisfy the need for extra sucking above and beyond feeding from a bottle or breast. When a child is upset or stressed he or she may have a need for extra sucking as a security. A caregiver can also provide security by holding, rocking, singing to, or playing with a child.
- Look for one-piece pacifiers that have a soft nipple. Some two piece pacifiers can come apart and be a choking hazard.
- Pacifiers usually come in two sizes, one for children under 6 months of age and another for children older than 6 months. Purchasing a pacifier that is age appropriate will offer more comfort based on the way the pacifier fits in the mouth.
- The shield of the pacifier should be at least 1 1/2 inches across, so it can not fit entirely into a child's mouth, again becoming a choking hazard. A pacifier with a shield made of firm plastic with air holes will reduce skin irritation around the mouth.
- Purchasing a pacifier that is dishwasher safe helps to keep the pacifier cleaner. It is a good idea to boil the pacifier or run it through the dishwasher before using it for the first time and frequently after use. This is especially important with a child 6 months of age or younger, who is more vulnerable to germs.
- Pacifiers come in different shapes. Some are almost a square orthodontic-shaped, and some are shaped like the nipple on a baby bottle. The orthodontic shaped pacifier is often recommended by dentists and healthcare professionals because it may prevent tongue thrusting. However, the standard pacifier that is shaped like the top of a baby bottle usually causes no problems. Trying different pacifiers and allowing a baby to choose the pacifier they like, by trial and error, is another option.
- It is helpful to buy extra pacifiers in case one is lost, dirty, or broken.
- Never tie a pacifier around the baby's neck. The cord may strangle the baby's neck. There are holders for pacifiers that have a clip that can attach to the baby's clothes. This special cord is short enough to prevent it from wrapping around the baby's neck, but will also help keep the pacifier from falling on the ground.
- Pacifiers wear out and fall apart over time. It is a good idea to check the pacifier frequently for torn rubber or any change in color.
- Homemade pacifiers, made from a nipple taped to a bottle cap, can also come apart and present a choking hazard.
- Coating the pacifier with honey may cause a serious disease, known as infant botulism.
- Coating a pacifier with any sweet fluids may cause dental caries.
- The pacifier should be rinsed after each use or after it drops on the floor, to decrease exposure to germs.
- Certain chemicals that were once used in production of pacifiers are no longer recommended. Pacifiers made with diisononyl phthalate (DINP) or phthalate esters are not recommended for use. These chemicals are "plasticizers" that can be released during sterilization and contaminate the nipple of the pacifier.
Your Child' Health, Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. 1991
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