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Babies are born with a natural need to suck which provides comfort to the child. Some babies even suck their finger/thumb in the womb before they are born. A pacifier or soother can be used to satisfy the baby’s needs if used correctly. It should never replace a feeding or the comfort of a parent.
• Sucking on a pacifier is better than a thumb/finger as a pacifier causes fewer
problems with future tooth development.
• A parent can control the use of a pacifier (you can’t throw away a thumb!)
• The latest medical research suggests that using a pacifier may decrease the risk of
SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
• Incorrect use of a pacifier can lead to problems with breastfeeding, tooth
development and possibly ear infections.
• Homemade pacifiers, sweetened pacifiers or pacifiers tied around baby’s neck are
not safe and could lead to injury or death. Use a pacifier wisely and safely.
Do’s when choosing and giving an infant a soother
• Do use a pacifier that says “orthodontic” on the package. These are shaped to help
the muscles and bones of the face to grow properly.
• Do use the age appropriate size of pacifier for the child. If it is too small the baby
could swallow the pacifier.
• Do sterilize baby’s pacifier in boiling water for at least 5 minutes before the first use
and periodically afterward to prevent the spread of bacteria.
• Do avoid giving a breastfed baby a pacifier until breastfeeding is established. Giving
a pacifier too early can cause confusion between the breast and pacifier.
• Do check the pacifier often for cracks or tears. Replace the pacifier if you see any
signs of damage.
Dont's when giving an infant a soother
• Don’t dip a pacifier in honey, corn syrup, sugar or anything sweet. This can lead to
preventable tooth decay and honey can cause botulism.
• Don’t tie the pacifier with a string longer than 15-20 centimetres (6-8 inches). This
could strangle the baby.
• Don’t put baby’s pacifier in your mouth to “clean” it. This can spread decay causing
bacteria from parent to child.
• Don’t use a pacifier instead of feeding.
• Don’t let an older child crawl or walk with a pacifier all day long. This could interfere
with speech development and cause problems with the developing teeth.
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