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The Pros and Cons of the Pacifier

In this post I will go into the pros and cons of the pacifier and provide examples from personal experience.

Last week Lennox took his second trip to the dentist, and one of my concerns was confirmed; Lennox has “pacifier teeth.” Pacifier teeth is a consequence from prolonged use of the pacifier. Colgate quotes the following:

“The long-term use of a pacifier influences the shape of the mouth and the alignment of the teeth, because as babies and toddlers mature physically, their jaws grow around anything held inside on a repeat basis.

In fact, overusing pacifiers affects mouth and teeth development in the same way as long-term thumb-sucking, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD). As the child’s upper front teeth tip forward, teeth may become crooked and he or she can experience bite problems.”

The American Dental Association mentions passive versus aggressive pacifier/thumb suckers and how it can play a difference in the formation of the mouth. 

Lennox is an aggressive sucker, and he lets you know it when you try to take his monito or llama (the names of his current Wubbanubs) away from him. When you take it out of his mouth, you can hear a pop from his strong suction.

I started noticing a weird formation of his teeth shortly after he got his incisors. At first, I blamed in on genetics; however, as his molars grew in, I knew the pacifier was affecting his mouth formation. The dentist confirmed last week. He told me the sucking is causing his top teeth to be narrower than the bottom and it is something I need to address relatively quickly.  

He continued to advise that me the act of taking away the pacifier is sometimes harder for the parents. As much as I was in complete denial, I am terrified to take away the pacifier because it has been one of our most significant resources in parenthood.

See the following posts to see how the pacifier has benefited Lennox:

Nonetheless, we have narrowed pacifier use to nap time, and bedtime. Lennox asks to be put into his crib at night ready to love all over his Wubbanubs.

Nighttime pacifier use is something we will begin to break after he turns two. *Cue the never-ending tears.* Get ready for your graduation invitations as Lennox ditches his pacis and graduates from babyhood to childhood.  

Lennox, and I obviously have a strong attachment to his pacis; thus I wanted to mention the pros and cons of infant, and toddler pacifier use. Enjoy =)

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Pros of the Pacifier

1.    Reduces Sudden Infant Death

After a study, The American Association of Pediatrics recommends:

“Therefore, we recommend that pacifiers be offered to infants as a potential method to reduce the risk of SIDS. The pacifier should be offered to the infant when being placed for all sleep episodes, including daytime naps and nighttime sleeps.”

2. Soothes baby and satisfies their suck reflux. 

Lennox used to fuss so bad at the breast that I thought I had no milk supply. It was actually because he was tired and wanting to suck himself to sleep. 

3. Aids Sleep

4. Alleviates infants suffering from Gastroesophageal Reflux

5.  Facilitates car/air travel

Lennox hated car rides when he was a baby. He would never fall asleep in the car unless he had his pacifier.  As a toddler, Lennox doesn’t hate car rides, per se, but hates long car rides. Without his pacis, car rides are a nightmare.

6. Facilitates grocery shopping…

or just about anything you need to do outside of the house to avoid bystander stares due to your temper-tantrum-throwing-child. Disclaimer: I am not saying that the paci has some sort of magical powers by any means, but boy can it do wonders when you’re out and about!!

7. Pain Relief

Lennox had a rough time teething. The only thing that alleviated his pain were his pacifiers. It has also helped in other painful/difficult situations, such as after falls, after shots, when he had roseola as in the picture below.

Related: 12 Tips for When Your Toddler Has the Stomach Flu

8. Yelena Moroz Alpert from The Bump states that the pacifier:

Encourages breastfeeding in mothers with PPD. A new study in the Journal of Human Lactation showed that mothers at high risk for postpartum depression did better with breastfeeding if their baby used a pacifier. Minimizing infant crying is especially important to vulnerable mothers who are easily agitated. As baby learns to self-soothe, Mom gets a little extra time between feedings, making things less stressful. In this case, pacifier use offers emotional support for both mom and baby.

Related: Understanding Colic. Tips on How to Survive the Fourth Trimester

I never saw the correlation between the pacifier and PPD  but looking back now; it absolutely helped me survive breastfeeding through my postpartum depression. If only I wasn’t so stubborn and hadn’t written off the pacifier entirely due to fear of “nipple confusion,” maybe my stay in the hospital wouldn’t have been as traumatic.

9. Avoids early termination of breastfeeding

Thanks to the pacifier, Lennox didn’t use my breast as his own personal sucking device. I think if that would have been the case, I wouldn’t have lasted 11 months that I did. Props to you mamas who have that godly patience to be sucked on all night, but it just wasn’t for me.

The Cons of The Pacifier

1. Dental problems

2. Dependence

Luckily, we are at a point now that Lennox doesn’t obsessively think about his pacifiers, but I remember those days when Lennox (and I) couldn’t survive a day pacifier-less without losing our sanity!

3. Infant sleep issue

Newborn sleep is inconsistent in general; however, when they finally start sleeping a few hour stretches around 2 months, a pacifier dependence will be your worse nightmare. It will pop out all of the time, and your baby isn’t developmentally capable of putting it back in his mouth yet. Be prepared for multiple wake ups because the pacifier has fallen out!

Then, when they are capable of putting it back in their mouth— around six-months or so—your baby will have a hard timet finding his pacifier in his crib at night. Forget about it. One suggestion to counteract this issue is to purchase a Wubbanub which are made to to help stay in a baby’s mouth and to be found easier.

In the picture below, The elephant is serving as a “pacifier, you better not move” prop. Disclaimer: Do not worry. This was during a nap and he was under my constant supervision.

4. Nipple Confusion

Lennox didn’t have nipple confusion, and I’m not so sure I even believe it exists, but see WebMD for specifics.

In my personal opinion, I believe that if you hold off too long from introducing a bottle or pacifier that your baby will only prefer your breast, and will reject any bottle/pacifier. Again, Lennox never once experienced nipple confusion, so don’t take my word. 

Related: The Two Reasons My Baby Is Fussing at the Breast

I hope you enjoyed this post. If you couldn’t tell, I am slightly biased. I love the pacifier. I love seeing his little toddler eyes light up when he can have his pacis, not to mention toddler eyes in general when they have a Paci, and it honestly saved my sanity during my first year of motherhood. 

I would love to hear your experience with the pacifier! Let me know below in the comments. Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog for the latest updates and motherhood advice. 

The Pros and Cons of Infant and Toddler Pacifier Use #pacifierprosandcons #pacifiertips #babypacifieruse #babypacifiertips #toddlerpacifieruse #toddlerpacifiertips #pacifierweaning

mhea

Sunday 11th of August 2019

My son hated the pacifier. And I read that it affects how they soothe themselves, and their teeth formation. But, there are kids who really need to be pacified through this. I'm sure they'll get over it!

Laurin Ruprecht

Tuesday 13th of August 2019

I hope my son gets over his soon! It has definitely affected his teeth, but hopefully not permanently.

Samantha

Friday 9th of August 2019

I personally only used a paci in desperate times (when baby was inconsolable) to see if it helped. Which didn’t help in most cases HA None of my kids have religiously used a paci by their own choosing - I was also nervous about the dental issues it may cause as they grew!

Laurin Ruprecht

Tuesday 13th of August 2019

You were right to be nervous. My son definitely has an overbite from his pacifier. I hope it adjusts once he gets his last molars, if not, i foresee braces in the future! That was smart of you to only use it in desperate times. For me, everything felt like a desperate time as a first-time-mom. ha!

Tricia

Tuesday 16th of July 2019

My first born didn't take to the pacifier but my second lived with it up until he was almost a year old. He was a sensitive sleeper and had severe reflux, the only way we could get him to sleep was to swaddle him and give him a pacifier.

Danielle

Monday 15th of July 2019

Love this post. Couldn't decided when I wanted to stop using a pacifier and I'd using would do any harm. This gave me some clarity, thank you for sharing!

Cheri

Wednesday 29th of May 2019

Hello! Great information. The pacifier helps so much when I used to take my son out. Especially the grocery store. I was lucky because he stopped sucking it all on his own.

Laurin Ruprecht

Wednesday 10th of July 2019

Cheri, that is extremely lucky! We are still struggling with taking it away.