Okay, there is debate. Should you use a pacifier or not? The reality is that there is no definitive opinion either way from the medical community. Most parents, though, acquiesce and use the pacifier, even if it is only for a small amount of time. There are concerns, though, about getting the right pacifier for your baby. Like everything else, it is not a "one size fits all" proposition.
First, make sure your baby like the pacifier. How will you know? Well, you will not know at first. You may have to try out a few different types before you find the right one. The general rule is that your baby probably will want a smaller variety in the first few weeks. Some models come in "sizes," that are basically markings for newborns and older babies. Look for these distinctions. Take some time to look at the different styles and pick one that works.
Make sure you look for a soft nipple. A hard-nipped pacifier may be tough for your baby to suck on. Also do not get a two-piece model. Some companies make pacifiers that will come apart. There are some dangers, though, of your baby choking on these models if they come apart. Avoid the potential by just not purchasing them.
Check out the shield closely. First, it needs to have holes in it. If your baby gets the shield stuck over her mouth and nose in the first months when she cannot fend it off, then she will need to be able to breath. Be sure the holes are there, and more are better than only one or two. Also make sure that the shield is at least an inch wide. Otherwise, a baby could choke on the shield, which is more likely the older baby - and the bigger her mouth - gets.
Wash the pacifier often. You can toss most of them in the dishwasher, which is what you should do until your child is older. If you do not have a dishwasher or need a quicker solution, soak the pappy in hot water and then wash it with hot water and soap. Just be sure that you have rinsed it well before you give it back to your little one.
Do not ever tie the pacifier to your baby's hands or neck. Some people want to be able to keep up with their pacifiers, so they may put them around baby's body parts or on the crib railing. Avoid this temptation as baby could choke on it. Instead, get a pacifier clip with a string that is six inches long or shorter. If you have concerns about keeping up with pacifiers, purchase several. Put small baskets in the obvious places where you will need them and put a couple in each basket. Replenish the basket when you clean up. That way you will have the pacifiers handy when you need them.
Finally, inspect your baby's pacifier frequently. Any changes in color or tears or holes in the nipple warrant getting a new one. Be careful and you can help keep your baby safe.
by Julia Mercer