Can a Newborn Be Addicted to a Pacifier?
Parents often contemplate whether or not to offer their newborn a pacifier before bringing their little one home for the first time.
You may be concerned about the dependency that some infants seem have on their “binkies.” Make an informed decision about whether to offer your newborn a pacifier and how you can try to minimize her dependency on it.
It’s Only Natural
It’s normal for parents to feel concerned about everything that goes into their newborn’s mouth, and it’s equally normal for newborns to suck everything placed into their mouth. A newborn’s sucking reflex permits her to receive nourishment from a bottle or breast.
However, even prior to birth, some newborns discover that sucking their thumb provides immediate emotional comfort. Some parents actually observe their infant sucking on a thumb during a scheduled ultrasound procedure, reports the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Supplement Rather Than Replace
A pacifier gives your newborn another outlet for soothing and gives you an additional option for making her feel better. If you choose to give your newborn a pacifier, do so with care. Ensure that a pacifier supplements rather than replaces you.
If your newborn uses a pacifier as a regular replacement for parental nurturing, she may not acquire other methods to calm herself; a pacifier may represent an easy fix for soothing. In other words, your infant could become dependent on having an object in her mouth.
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A parental worry about a newborn’s pacifier use usually relates to pediatric orthodontic concerns. You may worry that your newborn’s preference for a pacifier may produce a negative influence on teeth.
However, consistent use of a pacifier prior to age 4 does not cause dental issues for children, according to ZeroToThree.org. Another parental concern lies in fretting that weaning your child from a pacifier will prove challenging.
Even if your child still insists on using a pacifier at age 3 or 4, seeing her preschool friends without a “binky” usually presents sufficient motivation for children to give up their treasured pacifier.
Advantages of Using a Pacifier
It’s normal for newborns to want to suck, independent of feeding, to obtain the quiet reassurance that sucking behavior provides.
A pacifier offers your infant the opportunity to obtain that reassurance and should be given only when your newborn isn’t hungry. Using a pacifier at bedtime and nap times helps to minimize the risk of sudden infant death syndrome, reports the AAP.
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