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Pacifiers and Thumbsucking – All You Need to Know

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While they may have just been born yesterday, babies are pretty clever. They can suck on their thumbs, fingers, and even fists to soothe themselves. It’s a biological imperative called non-nutritive sucking, meaning they aren’t sucking for food or any nutrients like they would when breastfeeding. However, when babies are swaddled and placed on their backs to sleep, it’s difficult for their hands to reach their mouths. This is where pacifiers come into play. Pacifiers can be a controversial subject and yet it is something many parents rely on.

Pacifiers: Do or Don’t?

Let’s face it, babies can get very fussy and pacifiers, well, pacify them. Studies have actually revealed that for babies who use pacifiers, there has been a decrease in the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). When sucking on a pacifier, the babies are indulging in a periodic movement of their mouths and sucking keeps them in a light state of sleep. This continuous activity leaves less chance that the baby will stop breathing. With that said, you shouldn’t feel obligated to force the pacifier on the baby if he or she doesn’t want to use it or if it falls out during the night.

Doctors discourage lactating mothers from using pacifiers because it might confuse the baby and ultimately interfere with the latch. It’s generally recommended to wait three or four weeks after giving birth to introduce the pacifier or other types of artificial nipples.

Here are some things to keep in mind when deciding to use a pacifier and click to keep reading Thumb sucking and What to Expect.

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