Monday, March 3, 2008

Can Pacifiers Save Lives?

Pacifiers, or the Binky as it's called in our house, may help prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The American Academy of Pediatrics reports pacifiers have a protective effect, especially when used at the time of last sleep.

The mechanism for this apparent strong protective effect is still unclear, but several mechanisms such as lowered arousal thresholds have been proposed.

However, the AAP does NOT recommend the use of pacifiers as a risk reducing method because their are downsides to its use.

Personally, my four-year-old son used a Binky until he was three-years-old. I know, we should have gotten rid of it earlier, but that is the only way he would sleep through the night. He is 4 1/2 now and still wakes up repeatedly. He started having night terrors shortly after we got rid of the pacifier.

Speech pathologists point to the pacifier as a reason for delayed speech and problems forming certain words.

And I think we have all heard about the dental problems a pacifier may cause.

Some dental malocclusions(teeth are not lined up properly) have been found more commonly among pacifier users than nonusers, but the differences generally disappeared after cessation. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry policy statement on oral habits states that “non nutritive sucking behaviors (ie, finger or pacifier) are considered normal in infants and young children … and in general, sucking habits in children to the age of five are unlikely to cause any long-term problems.”

The AAP is concerned about the pacifier's impact on breastfeeding.

Although several studies have shown a correlation between pacifiers and reduced breastfeeding duration, the results of well-designed randomized clinical trials indicate that pacifiers do not seem to cause shortened breastfeeding duration for term and pre-term infants. One study reported a small deleterious effect of pacifier introduction in the first week of life on breastfeeding at 1 month of age, but this effect did not persist beyond 1 month.

There is an approximate 1.2- to 2-fold increased risk of otitis media (ear infection) associated with pacifier use, but the incidence of otitis media is generally lower in the first year of life, especially the first 6 months, when the risk of SIDS is the highest. However, pacifier use, once established, may persist beyond 6 months, thus increasing the risk of otitis media. Gastrointestinal infections and oral colonization with Candida species(yeast infection) were found to be more common among pacifier users.

My second son wanted nothing to do with a pacifier and I am grateful. Losing the Binky and searching the house for the one that he likes the best what a major pain the first time around. I am glad I only had to go through that once.

How about you? Did your kids use or are they using a pacifier? Was getting rid of it a big deal at your house?

-NewsAnchorMom Jen


Maria said...

The Boy never really liked a pacifier, and I never pushed the issue. Germans would always ask why he didn't have one in his mouth, and I had no explanation other than he would never take one!

armywifeash said...

My 2 year old daughter used a pacifier until she was 19 months old. I took the pacifier from her as soon as my youngest daughter came along, she is now six months old. My youngest daughter came home on a pacifier but refuses to take one now. My 2 year old did an awesome job of not using the pacifier even when the baby had one. My oldest daughter takes speech because she used a pacifier for so long, she has a 30% delay in her speech.

Rixblix said...

#1 Son didn't use a "plug" but #2 did. He used it until it 'broke' when he was 18 months old. We cut the tips off each one and when he went to use them, they "didn't work" anymore. It worked like a charm!

30 Minute Mommy said...

My daughter is 5 1/2 months old and loves her binky. I want to start weaning her off of it but I don't really see that happening. She really needs it to fall asleep. I sucked my fingers for a LONG time. I figure the binky will be an easier habit to break. I guess only time will tell. said...

We tried cutting off the top of my oldest's binky. He cried and cried and cried. Eventually, we gave in and gave him a different one. The Binky fairly is what worked for us, but as I mentioned he was 3! Ugh! However, I did get some sleep between 2yrs and 3yrs and I owe it all to the Binky. He also had speech lessons due to a delay and his speech teacher attributed it to his Binky.Hmmm...

Anonymous said...

My children never wanted to use a pacifier. We tried to get them to use it, but they were never interested in it (except for when they started teething, then it became a chew toy). Interestingly enough, both children had a speech delay. From personal experience, my mom says that I did not have a pacifier, but I sucked my fingers until I was 5 years of age. She says she never made an issue of it and I stopped on my own once I started school. I believe that it is a comforting mechanism for some children, and it's use should not be frowned upon unless it is causing health issues. Although, I realize from my friends that it is a challenge to break the habit.

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