It is a baby’s instinct to suck on things. This is probably why so many babies are soothed and, well, pacified by pacifiers. These can work wonders when it’s time for a baby to calm down and go to sleep. Read on to learn more about pacifier basics: how to pick them, how to keep them safe, and what to avoid.
What Kind is Best?
Pacifiers come in many different forms, but which is right for your child? Here are some things to consider:
- Size is a factor. There are pacifiers for newborns to 6 months, 6 to 18 months, and for children 18 months and older.
- Ensure the pacifier is sturdy and won’t break or come apart in some way. Single piece pacifiers are made out of a single piece of molded plastic. On the other hand, the parts of multiple piece pacifiers are made separately and then constructed into the final product.
- Check the mouthguard. It should have ventilation holes. Without ventilation holes, a baby’s saliva can accumulate at the base of the mouthguard. This can irritate the skin around the mouth and cause a rash.
How to Clean a Pacifier
Clean your child’s pacifier before they use it for the first time. The best way to do this is to boil it for 5 minutes. Make sure the pacifier is dry and cool to the touch before giving it to your child.
You should continue to clean the pacifier this way at least weekly, or after it touches the floor or anything else obviously dirty.
Things to Avoid
- Do not coat pacifiers with honey. Honey is not safe for babies under 1 year of age. Babies younger than 1 year old that ingest honey can fall victim to fatal food poisoning.
- Some stores sell pacifier necklaces. These hang around a child’s neck so when they drop the pacifier, it does not fall on the floor or get lost. This is a strangulation hazard. We do not recommend using this tool. It is, however, okay to use a pacifier clip. These can be clipped on clothes or a diaper bag to prevent the loss of the pacifier.
Like anything else, using pacifiers is a choice and there is no right answer. However, if you think you and your child might benefit from the use of pacifiers, then you should definitely be aware of which kind to use, how to clean them, and what to avoid. Now that you know these things, you are ready to pacify away.
Recommended reads: How to Wash Baby Clothes and learning to clean your home with a newborn.