Pacifiers have been a thing of debate for many years. Some parents are adamantly against them due to the negative drawbacks. Allowing a baby to use a pacifier is a parent’s choice but before making a decision, parents should know that there both negatives and positives to consider.

The use of a pacifier can interfere with breast-feeding. Mothers should wait until their nursing routine is established before introducing their baby to the pacifier.

The continuous use of pacifiers may increase the risk of middle ear infections, according to studies. Conversely, the use of pacifiers at nap and bedtimes may reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

The fear of future dental problems leads many parents to refrain from using pacifiers. While it is true that prolonged pacifier use might lead to dental problems, normal pacifier use during the first few years of life will not negatively impact the child’s teeth, making this debate insignificant.

Some babies need more of the sucking action than what they get from the breast or bottle. Sucking on a pacifier can help meet the baby’s sucking needs; however, pacifiers should not be the go-to when it comes to calming a fussy baby.

Pacifiers are not one size fits all, so once your baby settles on a favorite, have a few backups on hand. Keep pacifiers clean and sterile, boiling them for the first six months, and then keeping them clean by washing them with soap and water. Parents should not clean pacifiers by putting them in their mouths; this only spreads germs to the infant.

Not all babies like the pacifier. If an infant does not take to the pacifier, parents should not try to force it or entice the baby by dipping it in sugar or anything sweet. If the pacifier falls out of a sleeping baby’s mouth, it should not be put back in.

Babies can become dependent on their pacifiers, if parents don’t restrict their use. Despite the pacifier debates, a pacifier can be beneficial to many babies without negative impact if used properly.