Most parents have been there. You’re tucking in your little one for bedtime to let them fall asleep. Suddenly, they wake up and start to fuss. Nothing works, even if you try every tactic in the book. All you can do right now is think of ways to help your newborn sleep soundly at night.
One viable option is to let them suck on a pacifier. However, parents have long been debating the merits of using a pacifier. Some firmly feel that using a pacifier will help their infant sleep all night long. Still, others think it can disrupt their baby’s sleep cycles and lead to future issues.
So, what’s the truth? Can babies sleep with a pacifier? Let’s find out the truth here in this article.
Newborns Sleeping with Pacifiers: Yay or Nay?
For generations, parents have been divided on the issue of whether or not to give their newborns pacifiers. Some contend that pacifiers promote healthy sleep habits. In contrast, others are concerned that pacifiers can cause nipple confusion or lead to dental problems down the road.
So, what’s the final word? Is it safe for a newborn baby to sleep with pacifiers? The jury is still out on this one, but most experts agree that there are some benefits to giving your newborn a pacifier for naps and nighttime sleep.
Yay: Reduced Risk of SIDS
The use of pacifiers has been linked with a decreased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). To those unfamiliar, this syndrome is the most common cause of mortality for infants between the ages of one month and one year.
Numerous research claims pacifiers may help lower the incidence of SIDS for babies. Although how pacifiers protect against SIDS is not fully understood, it is thought that the sucking action keeps the infant’s airway open. When an infant is relaxed and can breathe, they are less likely to experience the sudden arousal that can trigger SIDS.
Yay: Reduced Stress
Parents of newborns often experience overwhelming stress, fatigue, and exhaustion. Their baby’s constant crying can be draining on the nerves. Having a decent night’s sleep is almost unattainable for them.
Pacifiers provide newborns with the sucking sensation they crave, which can help to soothe and calm them. It also activates the release of feel-good chemicals in the brain, like dopamine and oxytocin, eliminating their stress levels and promoting feelings of well–being.
Yay: Satisfies Their Natural Instinct
A newborn baby has built-in reflexes that help them to survive and thrive, and sucking is one of them. This natural behavior encourages them to suckle during breastfeeding and get the necessary nutrition. Their sucking reflex is often strongest at night, making the baby agitated and fussy.
A pacifier can soothe a baby and foster healthy sleeping patterns. Instead of finger-sucking or hair-pulling, this item can mimic the breast, satisfying their need to suck while also helping them to drift off into a peaceful slumber.
Why Do Parents Still Fear Pacifier Use at Bedtime?
Several medical experts agree that putting a pacifier in a baby’s mouth as they sleep does wonder for them. And yet, even today, there are a lot of misconceptions and fear surrounding using pacifiers at bedtime. So what are the causes of this lingering fear?
#1: They Heard the Negative Effects
It’s only natural for parents to take every precaution for their kid’s safety and well-being. With so much information available on parenting, it can be easy to apply what you’ve heard from friends, family, or the Internet.
However, some parents find it difficult to distinguish between fact and fiction. For example, they think pacifiers can cause middle ear infections or interfere with breastfeeding. Unfortunately, these misconceptions are based on small sample sizes or need to be updated.
#2: They Worry Their Child Will Become Dependent on It
Pacifiers can be a great sleep aid for infants and toddlers, helping them self-soothe and sleep for the rest of the night. On the other hand, excessive pacifier use is believed to impede a child’s normal development. Without a pacifier, they might have had trouble soothing themselves through the night.
This situation is what most parents are uneasy about. They worry that their baby may become too reliant on a pacifier. But most kids will outgrow the need for a pacifier by the time they are old enough to attend school.
#3: They’re Concerned About the Sanitary Conditions
Parents have every right to be concerned about the sanitary conditions of their child’s pacifier. Sometimes, their pacifier falls during their sleep and becomes contaminated with germs. This can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration.
The easiest way to disinfect a pacifier is to thoroughly rinse it after soaking it in soap and water. Then, sterilize the pacifier periodically, either by boiling it in water for five minutes or using a commercial sterilizing solution.
Note that sterilizing the pacifier is not a substitute for regular cleaning. More importantly, keep an eye out for signs of wear and tear so dirt and molds won’t enter the pacifier.
#4: They Might Choke On It
It’s a parent’s intuition to protect their child from anything that might harm them, including choking hazards. So they’re wary that a pacifier might be a choking hazard for a sleeping baby.
But the truth is that pacifiers are made to be comfortable. They’re safe as long as the pacifier is the correct size for your baby and they are old enough to hold it in their mouth without swallowing it.
#5: They Think Pacifiers Affect Oral Health
Parents believe sleeping with a pacifier will deform their child’s teeth. But as we’ve mentioned earlier, claims like this need to be backed up with evidence.
You can still change your mind about using pacifiers. Thanks to modern technology, we now have orthodontic pacifiers designed to be gentle on your baby’s teeth. These pacifiers have a special contoured shape that lowers the chance of dental problems. They are also made from soft, flexible materials that are safe for gums.
5 Tips for Introducing a Pacifier to Your Baby’s Sleep Routine
It can be a lifesaver for weary parents to introduce a pacifier into their baby’s sleeping routine. They are supported by research and can also benefit your child’s safety and help them sleep better.
Despite that, it’s still necessary to do so in a way that is gentle and respectful of your child’s needs. Check these tips to help you get you going:
#1: Gradual Introduction
When introducing a pacifier to your infant, go slowly. First, try offering it during wakeful periods, such as when your baby is feeding or being held. Then, once your baby is comfortable with the pacifier, you can start offering it during naps and bedtime.
#2: Avoid Using It as a Comforter
Other parents use the pacifier as a way to comfort their babies when they are upset. It’s a no-no!
This can create an association between the pacifier and negative feelings, making your child reluctant to use it. If you want to use the pacifier as a tool to help your baby sleep, only offer it when they are calm and sleepy.
#3: Stop Forcing It
Remember, your baby is still adjusting to the outside world and learning how to calm themselves. Do not attempt to force the pacifier back into their mouth if they spit the pacifier out or if they tilt their head away. It will only make your baby more resistant to using a pacifier.
Instead, give it some time to pass before trying again. If your baby rejects the pacifier, they need a break.
#4: Be Patient
Persevere through the initial phase of adjustment. At first, your newborn may cry or refuse the pacifier. It’s normal! Keep offering it calmly and persistently. At the same time, comfort your baby in other ways (stuffed animals, cuddling, rocking). Soon enough, they will adjust to sleeping with the pacifier.
#5: Choose the Right Pacifier
Introducing a pacifier will be more effective if you choose the right one. But how can you figure out if they are the most suitable pacifier for infants? It’s simple. Think about their size, mouth shape, nipple flexibility, and maintenance.
Finding the ideal pacifier for your child doesn’t have to be tough; all you need to do is keep these considerations in mind! But if you need help, Ashtonbee has some news for you.
Can a baby sleep with a pacifier? Absolutely yes! There are plenty of reasons to introduce a pacifier into your baby’s sleep routine and a few reasons not to. Of course, you may have to check before deciding what will work best for your baby. Our tips above should help get you started.
If you’re ready, you’ll love to use this fruit feeder pacifier from Ashtonbee! Its silicone nipple is soft and gentle on the baby’s gums. The grip handle helps with the palmar grasp reflex, making it less likely to fall from their hands. They can also ease any teething discomfort that usually happens during their bedtime.
Give our pacifier a try! And if you need more items for establishing a naptime routine, explore our website and see our amazing collection of baby essentials.