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Issues and facts on use of pacifiers on infants.

Updated on August 28, 2014

Sucking Reflex

Sucking Reflex is the sucking movement of an infant that is elicited by a touching sensation on the roof of the mouth. It is one of the primary reflex of an infant that is already present at birth. For infants sucking is an enjoyable and pleasurable activity that can be done with pacifiers especially when a lactating mother is not around. If sucking reflex is absent to infant the parents or the primary care giver should contact a healthcare provider seek for assistance.


One of the responsibilities of parents is to care for their babies. When a baby is crying the primary caregiver of the child checks for wet diapers or if the baby defecates. Other reasons are the baby is hungry or he /she feels discomfort, but for some reason the baby wont stop crying after even cuddling him. Thus the parent or the primary caregiver tends to give a pacifier as a last option.

Oral Stage - Sigmund Freud's Psychosexual Development

According to Sigmund Freud a child or an infant under 0 - 18 months falls under the Oral Stage of Psychosexual Development. The main focus of this stage is in the oral or mouth of the infant. During this stage the child is focused on oral pleasure like sucking.

The use of the Pacifier during this stage might be helpful especially when a lactating mother is not around or if the mother is working and another person is taking care of the child. However the use of Pacifiers should be limited or should be stopped until the Oral Stage because the child may develop Oral Fixation Issues or Oral Personality wherein the child becomes dependent upon the use of Pacifiers at later years. Childrens with Oral Fixation tends to thumb sucking and nail biting if use of pacifiers has been stopped abruptly and tends become smoker and alcohol drinking at later years of life. It may be wise to stop the use of Pacifiers during his first birthday or after 18 months of life.


Other Issues upon the use of Pacifiers

Parents love their children and wants what best for them. Here are some issues upon the use of pacifiers for the parents to decide wether to use or not to use a Pacifier.

  • Nipple Confusion
  • Contamination
  • Malocclusion
  • SIDS


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Nipple Confusion

According to some researchers Nipple Confusion happens when a breasfed infant has been introduced to a pacifier or changed to a bottle fed. The infant becomes confused because of the difference of the shape of the breast nipple to the shape of a pacifier. The infant develops irregular and bad feeding habits. Sometimes it cause pain on the mother because of the way the infant suck on the pacifier is different from the way he suck on a breast nipple. Sometimes. It also affects the milk production of the mother because the infant doesn't want to suck anymore. It also increase the time span of the mothers fertility and tends to lose weight longer.



Contamination occurs when a dirty pacifier is introduced to the infant especially during the times when an infant is in the stage of teething. During this stage the infant is at high risk of having contamination because there is a break in the integrity of the oral cavity due to erupting teeth. This is one of the reasons of some peoples false belief about teething that during teething infants tends to have fever. In some case dental carries may become the problem for some children so good dental hygiene is advised. Sometimes this cause diarrhea to the infants. It will be wise to clean the pacifier regularly if you are using one.


There were reports that use of a pacifier reduces the occurence of SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or a condition that an Infant suddenly die for some unkown reason. But some countries doesn't recommend the use of pacifiers. Some organizations are making a research about this matter so that they can recommend the use of pacifiers.


Prolonged use of pacifiers may cause Malocclusion wherein a problem in the shape of jaw or teeth occurs. In some research thumb/finger sucking or use of pacifiers for mor than 4 to 6 hours may cause this problem. Braces can be used if this problems occur.



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