Pacifier alert

Pacifier alert

Not all babies need to be pacified

Lucille Beseler, RDN

Is co-author of Nurturing with Nutrition and a former president of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics representing over 100,000 Nutrition professionals, while also active as a clinical dietitian in South Florida.

Article in collaboration with: Melanie Bazarte, PhD

Tips and Tricks for giving your baby a pacifier 

  • Not all babies need or want a pacifier. 
    • Sucking on a pacifier is much different than sucking on a breast, so do not push one on your breastfeeding newborn until nursing is established (about 1 month), and decide if your baby even needs one after 2 months. 
  • Pacifiers should be wider than the baby's mouth
    • They should have one-piece construction orthodontic nipples, and ventilation holes to prevent skin chapping. Never attach it to the baby's body or crib with a string or cord longer than 7 inches (to prevent strangling). 
  • Long-term use of a pacifier can contribute to chronic ear infections, impaired bite and speech, and dental problems. Remove the pacifier when your baby is sleeping. 
  • Never give a pacifier when your baby is hungry. 
  • The real need for pacifiers is over by age 6 months, even though the desire for them may continue. 
    • It's easier to wean babies off pacifiers before they become addicted to them.            
    • They will be naturally distracted from sucking by new skills of sitting, crawling, and hands-free locomotion. 
    • Avoid using a pacifier as a crutch to stifle fussing; find out why your baby is fussing. 
  • Never put your baby's pacifier in your mouth because your baby doesn't need your bacteria.

Adapted from Nurturing with Nutrition by Dr. Melanie Bezarte and Lucille Beseler, RDN

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