So what’s up with pacifiers? Tools of iniquity or best things ever?
Well, it depends.
Pacifier use has been related to lower risk of SIDS. The hypothesis is that sucking keeps baby from falling into too deep a sleep. If your baby is bottle feeding, you can put baby to sleep with a paccie but don’t worry about replacing it if it falls out while sleeping.
If baby is breastfeeding, wait a few weeks (the American Academy of Pediatrics says 4) to intro the binky. Since babies who are having trouble latching or gaining weight should avoid paccies until the problem has passed, this gives you enough time to make sure everything is going well before you try it. If your baby is having trouble breastfeeding, see a Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) before introducing the pacifier at any age.
Don’t use the pacifier to delay feedings or overschedule baby. If you’re trying to put a 2 1/2 hour baby on a 3 hour schedule using a pacifier, he can end up not getting enough calories in the day. Use it only to help settle him after full feedings or in the car.
Especially if you are breastfeeding, use a pacifier that is round like your nipple, not squooshed flat into some weird “orthodontic” shape. (Soothies and Gumdrops are examples of round shapes.) Round nipples are held further back on the tongue, the ortho ones are held in place by the jaws. The latter is not a habit you want to encourage baby to try on your nipples.
Pacifiers can cause an increase in ear infections, so avoid them if this becomes an issue for baby. Also, pacifiers have been linked to orthodontic problems (all shapes, even the “ortho” ones) so aim to wean baby from the paccie between 4 and 6 months of age before teeth come in.