To Paci or Not to Paci

By Christine Knight

Shared by Kelly
New parents all want the same thing: to do what’s best for their baby.
Recommended methods of soothing babies quickly change, so it can be hard to keep on top of what’s ok and what’s not ok to use with your infant. Today we talk pacifiers -- should you use them or not?

Dr. Kathleen Alfano, Former Director of Child Research for Fisher-Price, offers her insight on the pros and cons of ‘pacis’:

Pros. Pacifiers have been around and used in one form or another for a long time. It’s likely that you used a pacifier yourself when you were a baby! They provide babies with security and comfort and give parents peace of mind in knowing that they have a safe tool to use to help soothe their infant. When your infant is crying, fussy or out of sorts, a pacifier popped in the mouth can quickly quiet your baby.

Cons. Some dentists say there’s a chance using a pacifier can change the formation of the mouth and teeth. Refer to your pediatric dentist for advice on prolonged use of pacifiers. Pacifiers are often dropped and easy to lose. Make sure you have a way to sterilize them if dropped. Babies can get attached to, and then become reliant on, pacifiers. To help break an attachment, distract a baby with a toy or book. The pacifier should fall out of the baby’s mouth. With an older toddler, you can either go cold turkey and explain to the child that he doesn’t need a pacifier any more or help your child find something to replace the comfort that the pacifier gave.

Pacifier safety. Use a one-piece pacifier that isn’t filled with any kind of liquid. Never dip the pacifier in anything except water to clean it. Choose the right size pacifier for your child’s age. It should be at least 1.5 inches wide to prevent choking. Be sure to keep up to date on recalls.

Christine Knight is an Australian expat and mother of one enthusiastic toddler. Now living in Brooklyn, NY, she is co-founder of, a site dedicated to helping parents navigate the NYC and Sydney food scenes with their offspring.
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.