Superstar, David Beckham, inadvertently shined a light on a subject not typically made a public issue; big kids using pacifiers. Members of the media chose to slam him after photos of him allowing his 4-year old daughter to use a pacifier surfaced. Beckham responded by saying, “Why do people feel they have the right to criticize a parent about their own children without having any facts?”
His statement is true. Neither the media, the general public, nor family and friends on the outside looking into your household have the right to criticize your parenting without a full understanding of the individual situation. In the case of David Beckham’s daughter, she had a fever and that is what he chose to utilize to calm and comfort her. His reason works for him, his wife, and his otherwise healthy and well taken care of child. That is not our concern. What is, is that you are as informed as possible concerning pacifiers so you can make an educated decision for your child.
According to WebMD and other sources, there are some common pros and cons of pacifiers.
Lower risk of SIDS. Pacifier use during naps or nighttime can prevent sudden infant death syndrome. Doctors aren’t sure how it works, but if you give your baby a pacifier while she’s asleep, you might lower her risk of SIDS by more than half.
Satisfy the suck reflex. Babies have a natural need to suck. The bottle or breast usually meets this need, but the desire can linger even after the belly is full. A pacifier can help. Just be sure it doesn’t replace mealtime.
Encourage baby to self-soothe. Pacifiers can help babies learn to control their feelings, relax them, and make them feel secure. The comfort factor can be a double win: A calmer baby can mean calmer parents.
Tooth troubles. Some parents wonder if a pacifier will affect their kid’s pearly whites. Just make sure your baby doesn’t use them long term, experts say. “Before age 2, any problems with growing teeth usually self-correct within 6 months of stopping pacifier use,” says Evelina Weidman Sterling, PhD, MPH, co-author of Your Child’s Teeth: A Complete Guide for Parents.
After the 2-year mark, problems can start. Your baby’s top or bottom front teeth may slant or tilt, Sterling says. And the problem can worsen as time goes on. “Pacifier use after age 4, which is when permanent teeth start to come in and can have major long-lasting effects on adult teeth,” she says.
Nipple confusion. If you nurse your infant, perhaps hold off on the pacifier for a little while — that gives time for your milk to come in, and for both of you to get in a good nursing pattern. That way, your baby won’t start to prefer pacifiers over the nipple. After that, studies show no link between pacifier use and breastfeeding troubles.
Ear problems. According to one study, children who use pacifiers are almost twice as likely to get multiple ear infections as children who don’t.
SexyMomsROCK Tip: Ending your child’s pacifier use can be stressful. The screaming, the tantrums, and the endless crying can disrupt the entire household. Should you choose to stop your child’s pacifier use, here is a tip I learned from my daughter’s pediatrician. Take it away on a Friday evening. Make sure it remains out of sight. By the end of the weekend, they will adapt, their binky will be a part of their childhood memories, and you can begin the workweek in peace.