Friend or Foe?

Disputes about the benefits or harms of pacifiers never subside. What are they needed for? Do you need it at all? And how can we do without them? Whether your baby will accept a pacifier or not depends on many reasons, both on the part of the mother and on the part of the baby.

Why does a baby need a pacifier if there is a breast?

She is always there, she has delicious milk, is sterile, and the right temperature! But often, after feeding, the already full baby continues to suck on something. The kid was full, but the sucking reflex did not have time to satisfy. This happens if the mother’s nipples are “weak”, milk flows easily and the baby spends only 5-7 minutes feeding instead of the prescribed 15-20. With a short feeding time, the muscles of the jaw and tongue work little, the baby only has time to swallow breast milk.

And the child begins to satisfy the sucking reflex after feeding by sucking on the tongue, lower lip, finger or fists. Of course, they are always nearby and this is very convenient, but harmful, as it can lead to deformation of the upper jaw and the formation of an incorrect bite. In this case, it is better to offer the child the correct pacifier, and the baby will gladly take it. He will not even feel the difference if the pacifier has an asymmetric orthodontic shape that follows the shape of the mother’s nipple during breastfeeding and behaves in the mouth just like the mother’s nipple.

What are pacifiers for?

And really – why? The child eats well, falls asleep quickly, smiles during wakefulness, plays and walks, nothing bothers him, and he is in a good mood. In this case, no dummy is needed! But what if the child cried? Perhaps the baby is hungry, or he is suffering from colic, or it is time to change the diaper, or he just wants to chat with his mother. All these reasons can be eliminated without the help of a dummy. But if the baby does not fall asleep well, is restless, and frightened by the long absence of his mother, then the only thing that will calm him down and give him a sense of comfort is sucking! You will immediately notice that the baby will start sucking on his tongue, lip, or finger. Now is the time to offer a pacifier!

Satisfying the sucking reflex, the baby not only calms down but also trains the muscles of the maxillofacial apparatus, while the lower jaw, which is initially located slightly (1.5-2 cm) behind in relation to the upper jaw (which is very clearly visible in profile) , begins to move forward, actively develop, expand and align. The pacifier in this case plays the role of not only a “soothing pill”, but also a developmental simulator. Orthodontic shape provides the physiological type of sucking as during breastfeeding, forms the correct movements of the tongue and muscles, which will further affect the teething, their setting and bite, as well as the skills of chewing and the development of speech. Thumb sucking, as opposed to orthodontic soother sucking, is harmful because it is hard, and presses on the palate leading to deformation of the jaw and the formation of an open bite.

How to do without a pacifier?

The answer to this question will be prompted by the child himself. All children are different and the sucking reflex is expressed in different ways. Even with the same parents, one child can suck on a pacifier for a long time, while the other will refuse it. Often, with artificial feeding, the feeding time is 5-7 minutes, which is convenient for the mother (fed quickly), but bad for the baby – the sucking reflex remained unsatisfied, and the muscles did not have time to work and train. Of course, if you choose an orthodontic nipple for feeding, then the feeding time will increase, the movements will be correct, physiological and coordinated. NUK nipples the only ones in Russia approved by the Central Research Institute of Dentistry and Maxillofacial Surgery (TsNIIS and Maxillofacial Surgery) and are recommended for the correct organization of the process of artificial feeding and supplementary feeding of newborns.

Gradually, the sucking reflex will begin to fade, and with proper development by 6 months, the lower and upper jaws will rise to the same level. In some children, the sucking reflex persists for up to 1.5-2 years, but this in no way indicates a slowdown in their development. Parents will have to be patient, and the baby will give up the pacifier later.

But on a walk, a pacifier is necessary! It provides breathing through the nose, the mouth is guaranteed to be closed. During nasal breathing, the air heats up, cleans and moisturizes, and the risk of catching colds and getting sick while walking (especially in the cold season) is sharply reduced.

So who is the pacifier – friend or foe? Don’t make the decision yourself. Watch your baby carefully and decide with him!

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