For or against the baby pacifier?

Why give a pacifier to a baby?

More than a need, sucking is a archaic reflex for the infant. As soon as something comes to his mouth, he begins to suckle it, as he was already doing in his mother’s womb. “Sucking allows the infant not only to feed through the breast or bottle, but also to to reassureof calm downbetter sleep and even to eliminate, because sucking promotes the opening of the sphincters” sums up the lactation consultant.

Suckling in fact promotes the secretion of endomorphine – the hormone of pleasure and happiness – in the baby, preserving it from anxiety and giving it a feeling of security.

Some studies even show that the nipple facilitate the acquisition of sleep rhythms and reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndromepresumably because it keeps the tongue forward and frees the airways.
For these different reasons, the pacifier is a precious asset for the young baby, and it would be a shame to forbid him if he shows the need.

Deformation of the palate, breastfeeding failure, speech delay: what are the consequences of tutute?

As precious as it may be for the baby, the pacifier is often singled out by health professionals. Accused of deform the child’s mouthor of interfere with the establishment of breastfeedinghow to make sense of things and use it correctly to avoid these problems.

Does the pacifier deform children’s teeth?

Dental professionals are unanimous on the question: yes, the pacifier promotes deformation of the palate and therefore potentially of the future dentition of the child. And against all odds, according to a recent study carried out at the University of Nice, it would even be more harmful in this regard what can be thumb. The explanation? “The first harm factor is the hourly duration spent with the pacifier during the day” insists Dr. Kerbrat. However, in practice, a baby with a pacifier keeps it much longer during the day than one who sucks his thumb. “When a baby cries, becomes impatient or groans, the reflex of the parents is very often to put the pacifier in his mouth to calm him: something that it is impossible to do with the thumb “explains the orthodontist. In addition, a baby who suckles his thumb is obliged to remove it from his mouth when he needs to use his hands, unlike the pacifier he can keep during all his activities.
However, during the first months of life, the palatal vault is very flexible and malleable, and it will therefore shape itself according to the pressures exerted on it.

Dr. Jean-Baptiste Kerbrat, maxillofacial surgeon and stomatologist: When the baby suckles, his tongue is positioned below and not against the palate as it should, and it does not develop properly.

Second problem: a nursing baby no longer breathes through the nose, but through the mouth. “The position of the tongue and breathing are the two engines of jaw development” insists the specialist. The palate becomes narrower and more hollowand the jaw is not wide enough, which necessarily induces a bad position of the teeth.

How to limit the problem?

However, it is fortunately possible to reconcile the pacifier and healthy teeth, taking care to limit daily use and over time.
“I advise parents not to systematically have the pacifier reflex, as soon as the child cries. It should ideally be reserved for falling asleep, and if possible, gently take it away from him as soon as he is asleep, or as soon as he is calmed” recommends the stomatologist. Finally, the child should ideally be able to do without around 3 years at the latest, i.e. the start of school, in order to limit the consequences.

Do ergonomic teats and American teats with holes have any interest?

Also called orthodontic or physiological pacifiers, these asymmetrically shaped teats would allow the baby’s tongue to be better supported to allow the palate to develop without deformation and to limit the bad positioning of the teeth. So, miracle product or marketing operation? “The pacifiers orthodontic do not exist !” protests Dr. Kerbrat. Whatever its shape or the material in which it is made, the pacifier induces a bad positioning of the tongue and therefore potentially a deformation of the mouth if it is used too long and too often. “Non-nutritive sucking is not physiological” reminds the stomatologist.

Can the pacifier affect the success of infant breastfeeding?

Accused of causing “breast pacifier” confusion, the pacifier could thus disrupt the smooth running of breastfeeding. The World Health Organization (WHO) advises against the use of a pacifier for babies who are breastfed at birth.
“It is indeed preferable not to offer a pacifier as a first intention to a breastfed baby, the first days after birth” confirms Carole Hervé. Indeed, by giving a pacifier to a newborn when he cries, the risk is to reduce the number of feedings and therefore to do lower lactation. “It all depends on how the pacifier is given to the baby: if it is offered to him when all his needs are satisfied, it will not pose a problem. If, on the other hand, it is given to him to make him wait when he hungry, it’s problematic” describes the lactation consultant.

The problem is not that the baby no longer knows how to drink from the breast after having tested the pacifier, but that the lactation decreases because of a drop in its stimulation linked to a pacifier too often offered.

“If the milk is no longer produced in sufficient quantity by the mother, the baby will fuss at the breastcry and seem dissatisfied” summarizes Carole Hervé.
To avoid this risk, it is preferable to recommend that breastfeeding mothers only offer a pacifier to their infantonce lactation is well established and sparingly on a daily basis.

Which pacifier to choose for a breastfed baby?

Insofar as it is ultimately not the pacifier itself that is incriminated in its potential impact on breastfeeding, the choice of model is not very important. Choosing a pacifier whose shape is as similar as possible to that of the nipple will therefore not be the solution to the problem. “What should be remembered is that the pacifier should never replace a breastfeed. Nor should it be the easy solution to put an end to the baby crying” insists the lactation consultant.

Speech delay?

A study published in 2015 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (1) highlighted a link between oral motor movements and the auditory perception of language. Translation: prolonged sucking of a pacifier – but also of a thumb – on the one hand would prevent children from identifying certain soundsand on the other hand repeat them correctly.
Another reason to limit the pacifier as much as possible during the day, and to wean the baby quickly.

Pacifier from what age?

The need to suck is innate in newborns, so it is felt very quickly and needs to be satisfied. In addition, its preventive effects on sudden infant death syndrome make it interesting from an early age of the baby. It is for these reasons that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the use of pacifiers in babies of the age of 6 weeks to 1 year old. Moreover, at 6 weeks, breastfed infants will have already taken their cruising speed and the pacifier will therefore not risk disturbing the smooth running of breastfeeding.

For nursing mothers who ideally have to wait a few weeks before offering the pacifier to their toddler, it is fortunately possible to meet their need for suction in other ways. “Put them to the breast as often as possible is recommended whatever happens so that lactation is optimal” recalls Carole Hervé. And that is enough for some newborns who are very satisfied with regular latching. For others, whose needs are greater, mom’s or dad’s little finger – well washed obviously – can be a subterfuge. And we must also keep in mind that the need for suction is closely linked to the need for reassurance, and that the soothing presence of a parent, hugs, rocking, sweet wordsare just as many effective ways to reassure baby without always going through the suction box.

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