Being a parent means thinking about one hundred things including the following: How many diapers should I stockpile?
How many pacifiers do I need? Do I need them at all?
While diapers are non-negotiable because they’re an essential item for every baby and their parent, pacifiers are still up for debate.
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Some parents praise baby’s pacifiers and see them as genuine life-savers and others are against them.
I can’t tell you whether or not you should give your baby a soother because every parent should decide for themselves and their baby.
But, I can tell you everything you need to know about them so that you can make an informed decision.
Another thing that is also debatable regarding soothers is the right amount to stockpile.
Do you need 10, 5, or only 1 soother?
As with everything, this depends on your lifestyle, your baby’s needs, and how likely you are to lose things.
To help you decide how many pacifiers you should put on the list for your baby registry, or which ones to choose, here’s all you need to know about baby’s pacifiers!
How Many Pacifiers Do I Need?
A million-dollar question for every parent out there: How many pacifiers do I need?
Maybe we should rephrase this question to: How many pacifiers does a baby need?
Well, the answer to this question varies from parent to parent and it depends on the age of your little one as well.
Basically, every parent needs about three soothers for their little one.
Keep in mind that you should always carry extras (particularly if you’re on the road often).
It’s recommended to have a soother in the diaper bag, attached to the stroller and car seat, in the living room / the nursery, etc. so that you have a soother on hand at every occasion.
A replacement soother is a must-have in case your baby drops it (chances of this happening are really high), or loses it.
Also, some children prefer certain soothers over others so when you offer them the one they don’t like, they will not want to use it.
Because of that, it’s wise to stockpile their favorite soother. Another wise tip is not to overdo it because as babies grow, soothers need to be changed accordingly.
Do You Really Need Pacifiers?
Before stockpiling pacifiers, there’s another important question every parent faces at some point and that is: Do I actually need pacifiers?
If yes, why?
If you’re a first-time parent, this will be even more confusing for you, but don’t worry, I’ve got the answers for you.
American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) claims the following: “Pacifiers do not cause any medical or psychological problems. If your baby wants to suck beyond what nursing or bottle-feeding provides, a pacifier will satisfy that need. However, a pacifier should not be used to replace or delay meals.”
If you’re one of those parents worrying about risks associated with pacifiers, the above is the answer to your questions and concerns.
Now that we’ve got that straight, let’s shift to the question: Why do you need a pacifier aka paci, binky, soother?
The answer to this question is pretty much self-explanatory.
Babies need different types of soothers to soothe themselves.
For example, some babies suck their lower lip while other babies chew their tongue as a form of self-soothing.
With that being said, let’s have a closer look at the benefits that soothers offer to little ones.
Benefits of pacifiers
• Soothers help with breastfeeding.
• Pacifier use reduces the risk of SIDS / the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
• It helps to soothe a crying and fussy baby.
• It helps babies fall asleep.
• The use of pacifiers increases gastrin secretion which helps improve the baby’s digestion.
• Helps infants develop a sucking reflex.
• Helps infants in NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) environments who are in need of pain relief, soothing, and stress release.
Now that you’re familiar with all the benefits that soothers provide, it’s up to you to decide whether your baby will use them or not.
If you decide to use it, don’t forget to put it on the list of things to pack for daycare as well.
When Is The Right Time To Introduce Your Baby To A Pacifier?
The answer to this question depends on whether you’re planning to breastfeed your baby or not.
If you decide to bottle-feed your baby
If, for some reason, bottle-feeding over breastfeeding is the only or better option for you and your baby, you can introduce your baby to a soother immediately.
Before giving your baby a soother, it’s advisable that you take some time to learn his/her cues when it comes to feeding, gas, sleeping, or pain so that you always know exactly what your baby needs and wants.
Also, it’s recommended that you wait a few days (approximately 10) until you see that your baby has gained some weight before introducing your baby to a soother.
If you decide to breastfeed your baby
If you plan on breastfeeding your baby, it’s recommended that you wait a few weeks (around 6) before introducing your baby to a soother.
You should allow your baby to establish a breastfeeding routine before they start using a pacifier.
If you introduce your baby to one before they have established their feeding routine, they might become confused.
A soother is different from sucking on a breast so if your child starts using a soother before learning to suck on a breast, they might experience what’s known as nipple confusion.
The worst case scenario is your baby sucking on your breast in the wrong way and because of that being hungry most of the time.
So, if you decide to breastfeed your baby, give your baby some time to get used to breastfeeding first.
If you notice that your baby has established their breastfeeding routine before 6 weeks, then you can introduce them to a soother earlier.
If Your Baby Does These Things, Then It’s Time To Introduce Them To A Pacifier
If you’re a parent, you probably know that babies give clues for everything but sometimes it’s hard to decipher what it is that they really want.
If your baby is doing the following things, then it might be the time for you to introduce them to a soother:
• Your baby continues suckling on their bottle even when it’s completely empty.
• They suck on their thumbs/fingers.
• Your baby suckles on your breast but doesn’t draw any milk.
• They suck toys, blankets, or other things.
These are all hints that your baby desires a soother. Still, keep in mind that not all babies give clues that they would like a soother.
The best bet is to try offering them one to see if they accept it or not.
If they do, then you know that’s exactly what they want.
7 Things To Pay Attention To Before Buying A Pacifier
Choosing the right pacifier for your little one is as important as choosing the right mattress, diapers, or similar.
Before buying it, there are some things you need to pay attention to so that you find the best one for your child:
1. Look for pacifiers that are appropriate for your baby’s age
Here’s the thing, if you choose a soother that’s too small, there’s a danger of it becoming a choking hazard.
If you choose one that is too big, this might affect your baby’s teeth development and speech.
There are soothers of different sizes for a reason.
You shouldn’t choose a soother that is too small or too big for your baby’s mouth.
Instead, make sure that it’s for the right age and that it fits perfectly.
2. Choose a pacifier with an orthodontic design
Even though your baby doesn’t have teeth yet, this doesn’t mean you should neglect their future development.
Choosing a soother with an orthodontic design is the best bet because this will help support your baby’s teeth and gums.
3. Always choose one-piece pacifiers
We all know that babies are susceptible to choking hazards (especially if they are left unattended).
Because of this, you should ALWAYS choose soothers that are made of one piece.
That way you won’t need to worry about it coming apart and causing suffocation.
4. Avoid pacifiers that are scented
In today’s modern times, we have so many scented things and soothers are no exception.
Still, parents should avoid using scented soothers because they might contain chemicals that help those soothers stay scented.
If you still choose to use soothers that are scented, make sure to check that there’s nothing harmful to the baby in the soother.
If you’re wondering why someone would invent scented soothers, it’s because these scents, apparently, help soothe babies.
Still, there’s no real evidence for scented soothers being more effective than the unscented ones.
It’s important to mention that some babies might not like the scent of a soother and because of that refuse to use one.
If you ask me, I would suggest using the unscented ones so that you’re on the safe side and you don’t risk your baby developing an aversion to certain scents.
5. Pay attention to what material soothers are made of
As always, silicone pacifiers and natural rubber pacifiers should be preferred among parents.
If you choose silicone ones, know that their shape will not expand through time.
But if you choose soothers made of natural rubber, they might expand with use which means you need to replace them more frequently.
Also, keep in mind that some babies may have latex allergies even though this is really rare.
But, if you notice that your baby is having a reaction to a soother made of latex, then make sure to avoid using them in the future.
6. Choose a soother with a large shield and ventilation holes
You should choose a soother with a large shield so that you avoid choking hazards.
Another thing you need to pay attention to is making sure that the shield contains ventilation holes for airflow.
7. Make sure the soothers have a symmetrical nipple shape
The whole point of giving your baby a soother is to give them something that’s an alternative to nipples when breastfeeding.
If a design doesn’t match the nipple shape, your child might be reluctant to use it.
Also, the nipple shape helps promote healthy oral development.
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Apart from worrying about how many pacifiers you need or their benefits, another important thing is to actually FIND the right one.