The Pros and Cons of Infant and Toddler Pacifier Use

Welcome back to Lorena and Lennox. Last week Lennox took his second trip to the dentist, and one of my concerns was confirmed; Lennox has “pacifier teeth.” Pacifier teeth is a consequence from prolonged use of the pacifier. Colgate quotes the following:

“The long-term use of a pacifier influences the shape of the mouth and the alignment of the teeth, because as babies and toddlers mature physically, their jaws grow around anything held inside on a repeat basis. In fact, overusing pacifiers affects mouth and teeth development in the same way as long-term thumb-sucking, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD). As the child's upper front teeth tip forward, teeth may become crooked and he or she can experience bite problems.

 
Lennox at his second dentist appointment

Lennox at his second dentist appointment

 

The American Dental Association mentions passive versus aggressive pacifier/thumb suckers and how it can play a difference in the formation of the mouth. 

Lennox is an aggressive sucker, and he lets you know it when you try to take his monito or llama (the names of his current Wubbanubs) away from him. When you take it out of his mouth, you can hear a pop from his strong suction.

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THE PROS AND CONS OF INFANT AND TODDLER PACIFIER USE
 

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I started noticing a weird formation of his teeth shortly after he got his incisors. At first, I blamed in on genetics; however, as his molars grew in, I knew the pacifier was affecting his mouth formation. The dentist confirmed last week. He told me the sucking is causing his top teeth to be narrower than the bottom and it is something I need to address relatively quickly.  

 
Lennox, carseat with pacifier
 

He continued to advise that me the act of taking away the pacifier is sometimes harder for the parents. As much as I was in complete denial, I am terrified to take away the pacifier because it has been one of our most significant resources in parenthood.

See the following posts to see how the pacifier has benefited Lennox:

5 Tips to help your sensitive-sleeper sleep better

11 Solutions and Remedies for Reflux in Infants. Help Your Baby Spit Up Less and Sleep Longer

12 Tips for When Your Toddler Has the Stomach Flu

 
Toddler stomach flu tips- pacifier use
 

Nonetheless, we have narrowed pacifier use to naptime, and bedtime. Lennox asks to be put into his crib at night ready to love all over his Wubbanubs.

Nighttime pacifier use is something we will begin to break after he turns two. *Cue the never-ending tears.* Get ready for your graduation invitations as Lennox ditches his pacis and graduates from babyhood to childhood.  

Lennox, and I obviously have a strong attachment to his pacis; thus I wanted to mention the pros and cons of infant, and toddler pacifier use. Enjoy =)

Pros of the Pacifier

1.    Reduces Sudden Infant Death

After a study, The American Association of Pediatrics recommends:

“Therefore, we recommend that pacifiers be offered to infants as a potential method to reduce the risk of SIDS. The pacifier should be offered to the infant when being placed for all sleep episodes, including daytime naps and nighttime sleeps.”

 
Lennox newborn with his pacifier
 

2.    Soothes baby and satisfies their suck reflux. 

Lennox used to fuss so bad at the breast that I thought I had no milk supply. It was actually because he was tired and wanting to suck himself to sleep. 

3. Aids Sleep

4.    Alleviates infants suffering from Gastroesophageal Reflux

5.     Facilitates car/air travel

Lennox hated car rides when he was a baby. He would never fall asleep in the car unless he had his pacifier.  As a toddler, Lennox doesn’t hate car rides, per se, but hates long car rides. Without his pacis, car rides are a nightmare.

Related: The Ultimate Baby Shower Registry Checklist Series II: Sleeping Items

Lennox, 10-months-old. Happy with his Paci in the car

Lennox, 10-months-old. Happy with his Paci in the car

Lennox, 19-months-old. Happy with his Paci in the car

Lennox, 19-months-old. Happy with his Paci in the car

6.    Facilitates grocery shopping…

or just about anything you need to do outside of the house to avoid bystander stares due to your temper-tantrum-throwing-child. Disclaimer: I am not saying that the paci has some sort of magical powers by any means, but boy can it do wonders when you’re out and about!!

7.    Pain Relief

Lennox had a rough time teething. The only thing that alleviated his pain were his pacifiers. It has also helped in other painful/difficult situations, such as after falls, after shots, when he had roseola as in the picture below.

Related: 12 Tips for When Your Toddler Has the Stomach Flu

 
Lennox when he had Roseola in September 2018. His pacifier was one of the only things that made him feel better.

Lennox when he had Roseola in September 2018. His pacifier was one of the only things that made him feel better.

 

8.  Yelena Moroz Alpert from The Bump states that the pacifier:

Encourages breastfeeding in mothers with PPD. A new study in the Journal of Human Lactation showed that mothers at high risk for postpartum depressiondid better with breastfeeding if their baby used a pacifier. Minimizing infant crying is especially important to vulnerable mothers who are easily agitated. As baby learns to self-soothe, Mom gets a little extra time between feedings, making things less stressful. In this case, pacifier use offers emotional support for both mom and baby.

 

 
Lorena & Lennox
 

I never saw the correlation between the pacifier and PPD  but looking back now; it absolutely helped me survive breastfeeding through my postpartum depression. If only I wasn’t so stubborn and hadn’t written off the pacifier entirely due to fear of “nipple confusion,” maybe my stay in the hospital wouldn’t have been as traumatic.

9.    Avoids Early termination of breastfeeding

Thanks to the pacifier, Lennox didn’t use my breast as his own personal sucking device. I think if that would have been the case, I wouldn’t have lasted 11 months that I did. Props to you mamas who have that godly patience to be sucked on all night, but it just wasn’t for me.

Related:The Two Reasons My Baby Is Fussing at the Breast

The Cons of The Pacifier

1.    Dental problems

2.    Dependence

Luckily, we are at a point now that Lennox doesn’t obsessively think about his pacifiers, but I remember those days when Lennox (and I) couldn’t survive a day pacifierless without losing our sanity!

 
Lennox Pacifier
 

3.    Infant sleep issue

Newborn sleep is pretty sh°°°° in general; however, when they finally start sleeping a few hour stretches around 2 months, a pacifier dependence will be your worse nightmare. It will pop out all of the time, and your baby isn’t developmentally capable of putting it back in his mouth yet. Be prepared for multiple wake ups because the pacifier has fallen out!

Then, when they are capable of putting it back in their mouth— around six-months or so— good luck with your baby trying to find it in his dark crib at night. Forget about it. One suggestion to counteract this issue is to purchase a Wubbanub. See my post on Sleeping Tips For Sensitive Sleepers to see why I recommend them!

In the picture below, The elephant is serving as a “pacifier, you better not move” prop. Disclaimer: Do not worry. This was during a nap and he was under my constant supervision.

 
Lennox
 

4.    Nipple Confusion

Lennox didn’t have nipple confusion, and I’m not so sure I even believe it exists, but see WebMD for specifics.

In my personal opinion, I believe that if you hold off too long from introducing a bottle or pacifier that your baby will only prefer your breast, and will reject any bottle/pacifier. Again, Lennox never once experienced nipple confusion, so don’t take my word. 

 
Lennox and Dexter
 

I hope you enjoyed this post. If you couldn’t tell, I am slightly biased. I love the pacifier. I think it’s adorable. I love seeing his little toddler eyes light up when he can have his pacis, not to mention toddler eyes in general when they have a Paci, and it honestly saved my sanity during my first year of motherhood. 

I would love to hear your experience with the pacifier! Let me know below in the comments. Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog for the latest updates and motherhood advice. 

Thanks for reading

XOXO

Lorena & Lennox

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