A pacifier is an artificial nipple designed for babies to suck on for comfort, in lieu of the mother’s breast or the baby’s thumb. It consists of a nipple made of latex or silicone, a firm plastic shield, and a handle. It comes in different sizes and forms for premature infants, newborn infants, those younger than six months, and those older than six months. It comes in various nipple shapes such as long, short, flattened, ball-shaped, and baby bottle nipple-shaped.
It is often used to “pacify” them when they cry, letting them transfer their energy into sucking rather than crying. It is also used for calming frightened babies, soothing them to sleep, keeping them quiet, and helping them go back to sleep when disturbed.
There are two main types of pacifier:
- A latex pacifier is softer and more flexible than a silicone pacifier
- It wears out faster though
- It comes in different designs and colors
- A silicone pacifier is firm and holds its shape longer
- It is easy to clean
- It is more durable than a later pacifier
- It comes in different designs and color
There are a wide assortment of pacifiers for parents to choose, so how to go about it?
- Firstly, choose a pacifier with a nipple securely knotted around the back of the handle. The shield and the handle should be in one piece to prevent them from breaking off and posing a choking hazard to your baby.
- Next, the shield, look for a pacifier with a shield measuring 1.5 inches or six centimeters across so it does not fit your baby’s mouth. The shield should not be too large that it obstructs your baby’s nasal passages. Also, look for a shield with air holes or vents to prevent saliva from collecting behind it.
Some pacifier comes with different stages as research on baby’s oral development. Each step has a unique shape that promotes nasal breathing for enhanced baby’s well-being.
- For baby 0 – 5 months:
- At this age, sucking action is important on the emotional and oral development of your baby. This Pacifier resembles the shape of a mother’s nipple so that the natural sucking instinct of your baby will be supported and simultaneously develops baby’s facial and jaw muscle.
- For baby 5+ ~ 8 months:
- When baby begins to eat solid food, the process of opening and closing the mouth (mastication) in order to take and swallow food is encourage with the use of this pacifier. This pacifier allows your baby to close lips naturally, thus helping baby to wean smoothly.
- For baby 8+ months onwards:
- At the time when baby starts to wean and speak, baby has tendency to breathe through the mouth, called oral breathing which lower baby’s immune system against disease. This pacifier encourages baby to develop the habit of breathing through the nose, thus preventing throat dryness and inhalation of dust.
In addition, take the following safety measures:-
- Inspect carefully before each use, especially when the child has teeth, by stretching the pacifier bulb in all directions.
- Throw the pacifier away at any signs of damage or weakness.
- Wash and sterilized properly before each use.
- Sterilized in baby-bottle sterilizing solution or by boiling for 5 minutes and remove any trapped water before next use.
- Do not leave in sunlight.
- Never dip teat in sweet substances or medication, your child may get tooth decay.
- To avoid strangulation hazard, do not attached ribbons or cords.
- Replace the pacifier 1 to 2 months.
- For safety and hygiene reasons, remove the pacifier when the baby has fallen asleep.
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