Dr. William Wilkoff has a good tip for parents who want to give their baby a pacifier. Once a mother has established proper breastfeeding mechanics, her milk has come in, and the baby is gaining weight, a pacifier can be introduced:
When the risk of nipple confusion and insufficient breast stimulation has passed and the baby is gaining weight, it’s safe to offer a pacifier to a fussy baby, with one important rule – only in the baby’s crib and only with her sleeping on her back. This makes the clear statement that a pacifier is first and foremost a sleep aid. It also emphasizes that a crib is the best and safest place for a child to sleep.
Of equal importance is the message this advice sends to parents: “If the baby is fussy and isn’t hungry and wants her pacifier, she is sleepy and needs to be put to bed.” This is one lesson that will continue to pay dividends for years – provided the parents stick to the rule.
So if you want your baby to have a pacifier, then offer one. One. Not one for each hand and every room in the house! Only one.
I think from both a dental and a developmental standpoint, it’s important that the pacifier is gone by the age of two. Dr. Wilkoff’s approach makes that goal more attainable.
Read Dr. Wilkoff’s column in Pediatric News here.