Recently another famous dad, David Beckham, was in the news being criticized for letting his 4 year old daughter remain using a pacifier (aka dummy). While I could go off on parents who point fingers, pick up their stones and throw them back at them, I won’t, because I recently did in a previous article about Ryan Reynolds titled Keyboard Warriors Come Out to Play…and Attack Ryan Reynolds. What I will do, however, is provide a list of pros and cons to pacifier use and let you, the parent and one who is in charge of making the best decisions for YOUR own kids (not mine), decide for yourself.  Without further ado…   

 PROS 

1. Sleeping Is a Beauty
When trying to create a sleep schedule, pacifiers are known to help get that cranky crier asleep and stick to a schedule. And who the hell couldn’t use that in this time of life?

2. Bait and Switch
When a child is hurt or afraid a pacifier can immensely help pivot the focus so that they are relieved from whatever is disturbing them. Kind of like that glass of wine or whiskey after a hard day…so can you blame them?

3. A Pacifier Actually Pacifies
Studies show that fussy babies are one of the most stressful things because it sparks a part of our brain associated with fight-or-flight* so doing one or the other is too tempting. Obviously we can’t quite flight the situation so we fight it and usually a pacifier can win that bout. This all may explain why I sometimes want to jump off a plane without a parachute.

4. Rids the SIDS
Studies are all over, so look it up yourself if you don’t believe me, that show, for unknown reasons, that sucking on a pacifier can potentially decrease the risk of SIDS by half.

5. Poppin’ N’ Stoppin’
While teething, there is a lot of drool and sinus issues with young ones who don’t quite know how to pop their ears or take their mind off of the pain and a pacifier can do both. It is also suspected to be a natural antiseptic, due to increased saliva production, and that could be good for oral hygiene.

6. Hush Little Baby…No Seriously, Hush
New parents aren’t quite used to having a new voice in the house, especially one that gets more attention than theirs, so keeping a little one quiet allows for actual adult discussions.

 CONS 

1. Sleep Crap-nia
Sure, you got baby asleep, thanks to that piece of plastic in their mouth, but it can also wake them up when it falls out in the middle of the night resulting in them crying even louder while only being half-awake and unable to actually find it to put back in their mouth. So guess who gets to also wake up just to help them out?  Good guess.

2. Pick Your Poison
People say that pacifiers are a good way to teach self-soothing but really you could make an argument that it’s just fixing one problem with a potential other problem in that of building a dependance on something else.  If you can teach them other ways to cope through difficult times, so they can eventually help themselves, you may be better off in the long run. One thing that can help, when they are scared or hurt, is singing to them so that when they’re older they’ll know the words themselves and can sing along or to themselves. One thing my wife and I do with our two year old, when he gets hurt, is we do something called “Reprogramming”. It started off with me asking if he wanted reprogrammed (instead of kissing his boo boos…there’s a stay-at-home-dad vs a stay-at-home-mom example for you) and then softly, and very carefully, touching around the area that’s hurt (not the actual area) and saying lots of beeps and boops as if he was a robot or computer. He always laughed and said he was better. Now, at two years old, when he gets hurt he just reprograms himself and moves along.

3. Pacifiers Actually Classifies
You will be judged. Whether you say you care or not, if your kid appears to be too old to need a pacifier, other people will look at you as a parent who is lazy and just wants to stick an object in their kids mouth rather than actually do any parenting. On top of that, other kids may potentially look at your kid as more of a baby, causing them to be made fun of or ignored, which can result in emotional distress.  

4. I Play a Doctor on the Internet
There are many studies, again, Google it, that will tell you that there is the potential in many health issues that could arise due to pacifiers being prolonged.  Two of the bigger concerns (not including dental which we mention below in #5 because it made a better counterpoint to the “Pros” #5) are ear infections and the stunting of emotional development due to limiting the ability to execute facial expressions which creates more of an understanding on why they feel the way they do**.

5. Chew On This
According to the Mayo Clinic, the pressure put on the teeth and gums from a pacifier, during the critically important time of producing teeth, can impede growth, or worse, cause overbites and other long term dental issues. So if, at the very least, you want to help your finances from being used on braces, get them off that pacifier crack. Give them candy instead or something (sarcasm font needed there).

6. Stunts Their Growth
Well, their vocabulary growth. Although pacifiers do help to quiet your upset child, there are studies, again, you should know how to find the studies by now, that say vocabulary is stunted because children with paci’s in their mouths aren’t trialing and error-ing (look at how great my vocabulary is) new words which ultimately assists in furthering their speech skills. On top of that, kids are more likely to stay quiet because they don’t want to take the pacifier in and out of their mouth continually, which can lead to parents and kids from missing out on fun and informative conversations during such a crucial stage in their life.

 FINAL RESULTS 

So what are the results of all this?  Well, some could make the argument that a lot of the “Pros” are for younger kids, and they’d be right, and that a lot of the “Cons” are based on studies that could have differing opinions, and they’d be right, but do whatever you want to do, it’s your kid and you know what’s best, just remember that thought though when you’re ready to judge another parent about a different subject YOU disagree with.  And to those of us who think we don’t make any bad decisions, we need to learn to give grace just as much as we’d like it given to us.

Resources:
* http://www.theguardian.com/science/2012/oct/17/crying-babies-hard-ignore
**http://news.wisc.edu/21065

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