Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Replace soothers regularly

What is this stuff that I found in an aging pacifier nipple?
Fiona is now almost 17-months-old and should be past the soother stage, but she isn't. She especially likes a soother when falling to sleep.

I read the instructions that came with her soothers. I know the manufacturers advise inspecting the soothers frequently for signs of wear and age. And I know this is especially important after a child develops teeth.

Grunge is hard to see.
The other day I peeled the pacifier nipple back from the plastic mouthshield and found foreign material inside the clear nipple, material that had been hidden from view.

Yuck! I tossed the soother, boiled a new one to sanitize it, and replaced Fiona's soothing friend.

I took a quick picture of the pacifier before tossing it out. When I blew-up the image, I was disgusted at what I discovered. Keeping these things clean is really important! And the younger the baby, the more important it is to keep soothers sterile.
If you didn't read the instructions that came with your baby's soother, read the following:
  1. Keep soothers clean. Sterilise them regularly by placing them in a baby bottle steriliser or boiling for five minutes. Boil new pacifiers for five minutes before the first use.
  2. Check soothers regularly, especially if baby's teeth are appearing. Cracks in the nipple can harbour germs and bacteria. Do not use a damaged soother. In all cases, replace soothers every two months.
  3. Do not attach ribbons or cords to a soother; These are strangling hazards. The soother itself is designed to eliminate any choking hazard. In the rare instance where a baby manages to squeeze a whole soother - nipple and shield - into its mouth, the mouthshield always has holes to allow air to pass for breathing.
  4. Do not coat soothers with anything sweet and sugary, this can promote tooth decay.
  5. If you are establishing breastfeeding, do not use a soother until your baby is about a month old. The shape of a soother is different from a mother's breast and this can result in  'nipple confusion'. Also, the sucking technique for breastfeeding is different; the baby having to suck harder to gain the milk. Using a soother too early can prevent a baby from developing successful breastfeeding technique, leading to mom giving up breastfeeding too early.
  6. Lastly, there is widespread agreement that babies should be weaned off their pacifiers around the age of 12 months. Long term use can have a detrimental effect on the development of a baby's teeth. (See comment, below.)
Your pacifier is on borrowed time, Fiona.

1 comment:

  1. Good article on soothers. There is some really great information there, hopefully folks will heed it.

    Only one quarrel: It is great if you can get a child to give up a soother as early as possible, BUT if that means that the child replaces the soother with a thumb or finger sucking habit you have not done them any favours. I speak from dental knowledge and from personal experience.

    I sucked my thumb until I was 8 or 9 years old and it wreaked orthodontic havoc on my teeth. With my son, every time I took his soother away the thumb immediately went in, so I gave him the soother back. He finally gave it up at about 2 years old and had no detrimental oral effects.

    The big thing about a soother is that you eventually CAN take it away, as opposed to a digit.