Should I give my baby a pacifier?
Pacifiers are a safe way for babies to soothe themselves. Sucking is a natural reflex for babies and typically is very relaxing for babies . There is some evidence that offering a pacifier to your baby when she is going to sleep will reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)--nobody knows for sure why. Pacifiers should be used for your baby's comfort and she should decide when she wants to use it. A pacifier should not be forced into a baby's mouth and should not be secured in place. If your baby is breastfed, you may want to wait until one month of age before using a pacifier. This may reduce"nipple confusion."
Pacifiers are available in different shapes and sizes. You should choose a pacifier that is listed as safe for your baby's age. They should be cleaned frequently in a dishwasher or washed with soap and water in a sink. New parents find that a pacifier has a way of falling out of the baby's mouth and onto the floor frequently. Some pacifiers are designed to dangle from a short ribbon that can be clipped to the baby's clothing. Parents should be aware that strings and ribbons can become wrapped around the babies neck or arm and pose a hazard. A pacifier should not be taped or held in place since this may choke your baby while you're not watching.
Some baby choose to suck on their fingers or thumb. This is safe and often just as soothing as sucking on a pacifier. Fingers also have the advantage of always being available!