Pacifiers can be a blessing and a curse all at once!! We love them because our babies love them!! Nothing helps a baby learn to self soothe faster than a pacifier. Blissful sleep at last!!....
Many parents find the blissful sleep initially provided from the pacifier, soon becomes a nightly service required every hour!! Pacifiers are recommended by the AAP and are considered a good safe sleep practice. They may also help reduce the risk of SIDS and are strongly encouraged for premature babies in NICU's everywhere. Sucking is soothing and comforting to a baby. It actually releases endorphins and provides pain relief for babies. The feel good when they suck, even non-nutritive sucking! Without it your baby will look for their "sucking fix" somewhere else, thumb, fingers or momma's breast just for comfort. The decision to introduce a pacifier is one you must carefully consider. Many sleep advocates discourage pacifiers for the very reason they become a sleep crutch, but for some parents the short term wakings are worth the long term benefits. How does one decide??
If your baby has a spirited temperament, I strongly recommend the pacifier. These little ones have a harder time calming themselves down. Babies in the first three months benefit the most from sucking and pacifiers can be easily removed by four months of age. If you're past four months and wonder what to do now, I recommend you work on alternative sleep methods and decide before your baby is six months of age. At six months sleep associations are established and many parents consider sleep training. If you've got some good sleep routines and a sleeping baby except for the occasional waking for a pacifier search, I'd wait it out!! Independent sleep with a pacifier is a blessing, you will likely have a baby who learns to pick it up and replace the pacifier by themselves around six and a half to seven months.
If you decide to keep the pacifier, please consider keeping it until your child is two! Talk to your pediatrician and do your research, but this attachment is strong and your baby is designed to suck until age four, so two is a good compromise! If you are worried about dental issues, again speak to your dentist or pediatrician. Many children use pacifiers and thumbs without any issues, but i realize the risk is there!! Breaking the pacifier habit between the ages of six months and two years of age is tough on everyone. It can certainly be done but if you decide to allow the pacifier at six months, please look ahed and decide when you plan on removing it! Sleep will be affected if taken too soon. I recommend you plan on teaching your baby better sleep skills at six months of age if you want to take the pacifier away early!
If you need more advice or a free consultation, please reach out and I will book a time!!