Working baby pacifiers

Pacifier: a science in itself

The report that the BUND was able to detect the hormone chemical bisphenol A in conventional German pacifiers caused quite a stir at the end of 2009. After all, substances like BPA can disrupt the delicate balance of natural hormones and are suspected of damaging brain development, among other things. Most manufacturers have already reacted and removed the contaminated baby pacifiers from their range. But BPA-free isn't the only thing parents should pay attention to when it comes to pacifiers.

Pacifiers as protection against sudden infant death

It's called Dutzi, Nucki or Nunni - always the same thing is meant: the pacifier. Kids don't need to use pacifiers, but they are a huge relief when it comes to calming the little ones down. And they are also practical. Suitable for falling asleep, for calming down and giving support in some life situations. According to a study by the University of Virginia, nocturnal pacifiers can even protect against sudden infant death syndrome, with one speculation that children with pacifiers in their mouths may not sleep as deeply. However, it is pointless to put a pacifier in the mouth of a sleeping infant, just as it would be pointless to force a small pacifier refuser. Midwives also warn against introducing the pacifier too early, as this could have negative effects on breastfeeding. After three or four weeks, however, when breastfeeding has established itself, there is nothing against it from the scientific point of view. However, even if it is tempting, you should not always use the pacifier as a sedative for the slightest muck, but first check whether the baby perhaps just needs to be close, for example.

The right pacifier model for everyone

But what can you do if your child does not want to use a pacifier? First you could try the different models - also to avoid sucking your thumb, which is not optimal for the later tooth position. Because not every child likes the same pacifier shape. After all, they come in every imaginable shape and color. From the full rubber pacifier, which should be most similar to the female breast, to the jaw-friendly model with the flat suction part, which should not be used the wrong way round. From the universal, cherry-shaped model that doesn't care to the super cool pirate pacifier all in black. And all of this is available in different sizes, according to the age of the child and mostly in latex or silicone. However, latex teats, which are made from natural rubber milk, are repeatedly suspected of triggering allergies. The rubber suction cups are more flexible, can be disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner and do not become statically charged, i.e. they do not attract dust. However, after a while they no longer look particularly handsome. The silicone teats are tasteless and less elastic, which means that they are no longer suitable if the child is already starting to bite on the pacifier. Because once the surface is damaged, the material tears further and small pieces can come off, which the child could then swallow. Basically, all pacifiers should be checked regularly, especially if the baby already has teeth, and if the teat is damaged, replace it immediately. Occasional boiling is also recommended, even if the user is already a toddler.

Sucking is a basic human need

Incidentally, the pacifier can have a considerable history. Because around 3000 years ago, mothers were already using cloths soaked with honey, poppy seeds or alcohol to calm their children. This has been shown by excavations in Italy, Cyprus and Greece. In Egypt, too, small clay figures were found that were filled with honey and hung around the neck of the children. In Germany, the pacifier was first mentioned in records in the middle of the 15th century, and it was also a question of sucking cloths filled with porridge and other substances. In the middle of the 19th century, the first pacifier, which is similar to today's, was registered for a patent. Today, more than 80 million pacifiers are sold in Europe each year. No wonder, because sucking is a basic need. This is also shown by observations in so-called "primitive" cultures. Often the women tie their children here in such a way that their mouth is always close to their bosom. Researchers have observed that the children then suckle their breasts every 13 minutes on average. Since in our culture only very few mothers want to satisfy the need to suckle in this way and relatively fixed meal times are set for many babies, pacifiers are offered to bridge the gap, so to speak.

Most find it difficult to part with the pacifier

If a child does not want a pacifier despite all the choices, one could simply be happy, because then one does not have the problem from the outset of weaning the child off the teat again. Because that's often an uphill battle. Parents should make sure that the child releases the pacifier between the ages of two and three. Otherwise the jaw can become deformed and there can be problems speaking. The S and Z sounds are particularly affected. But how do you get rid of that thing? In any case, you should approach the matter gently and lovingly and give the child the time it needs. You can work with the pacifier fairy who comes, takes the pacifier with her and leaves a gift for it - but the child should decide for themselves when they are ready to exchange their pacifier. You can also give the pacifier together to a new baby in your circle of friends, because that needs it more or you always put it in a certain place and if the child asks for it, it gets it too. But only then.

In the long term, the pacifier fairy is successful for everyone

Older children mainly need their pacifiers to fall asleep or when they are upset and at some point most of them are embarrassed to be seen by others with a nipple. And there are also nice alternatives to sucking, especially for slightly older pacifier children. A round of extra cuddling when tired, for example, or looking at a book together. However, you should refrain from replacing the pacifier with a feeding bottle, because it is harmful to the teeth if they are constantly rinsed with liquid, even if it is only water. Under no circumstances should you work with bad-tasting substances when weaning your pacifier, and tying your hands together is a cruel method. And completely unnecessary, because mostly children of this age are already very sensible and you can use child-friendly words to point out the consequences of constant pacification and appeal to reason. And there will certainly come a day when the child feels strong enough to say goodbye to his pacifier.