If you are a parent to a baby or toddler, you understand too well how essential and valuable a pacifier is. The constant cries of a baby can be frustrating, even stressful. And when they don’t calm down, no matter which tricks you pull, a pacifier comes in handy to soothe away whatever is provoking them. A pacifier is a parent’s saving grace during those long air travels or visits to the doctor. What’s more, pacifiers may prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), according to research.
However, a pacifier is a delicate product used on your baby’s mouth, so you must understand everything about them, the components and materials used, and especially why pacifiers have holes. Once you know everything about this product, maintaining and using it will be much easier for you making it your ultimate best friend.
So, what are pacifiers, and why do they have holes? Please keep reading to learn everything you need to know about pacifiers, why they have holes, and some safety tips.
Understanding Pacifiers: What are They?
Naturally, babies are born with an instinctive habit of sucking; it is a natural reflex that drives them to want to suck on anything and especially when an object is near their lips. This primitive habit is a survival instinct that allows them to feed and obtain nutrition. A pacifier is designed to be safe and clean sucking equipment to help distract and soothe your baby.
Previously, soothers used to refer to equipment that provided a soothing effect on the baby. For example, teething rings or rounded rattles were given to babies to suck on. Today’s modern soothers or pacifiers come as silicone or rubber teat complete with a silicone handle and shield.
Generally, a pacifier has three parts; a shield that contains holes to provide ventilation, a nipple that is usually made of soft, stretchy material, and a ring or handle for the baby to hold on to. Regardless of where you bought it, it must be adequately sterilized before use. Also, ensure you are in the vicinity whenever your baby uses a pacifier to avoid choking or swallowing the nipple.
So Why Do Pacifiers Have Holes?
Most pacifiers and especially the Soothie pacifier, are designed with holes on either side of the mouthpiece. So, why do pacifiers have holes? The first reason is that if a child swallowed their own binkie, these open structures on either side of the mouthpiece would allow air to pass through and hopefully prevent suffocation.
And we all know well enough by now that if a baby sucks on something, then they need to take breaths periodically! The dynamics of the pacifier require air in and out for efficiency, so it’d make more sense if the pacifier had holes to let in and out the air.
How And When To Introduce A Pacifier To Babies
Introducing a pacifier to your baby is a significant decision. Making informed decisions on how and when to go about it is vital. So when can you introduce a pacifier to your baby?
Doctors recommend using pacifiers on a child below the age of two. You can give the baby a pacifier when they’re around three or six months old. However, some pacifiers are meant explicitly for newborns and are designed to fit into their small mouths and protect their delicate skin.
If you’re a breastfeeding mother, it’s advisable to establish a nursing routine and allow your baby to master the art of sucking before giving them the pacifier. This will ensure lactation is not interrupted, and the baby is less likely to develop nipple confusion. Whether you choose to integrate a pacifier into your baby’s life a few days after birth or several months later, remember each baby is unique and may react or adapt differently to a pacifier.
Here’s how to introduce a pacifier to your baby.
Thoroughly clean and sanitize the pacifier each time before use. Gently place the pacifier nipple on your baby’s lips or cheek to trigger the sucking reflex and response. If the baby responds by opening their mouth, it means they need something to suck. Gently part the baby’s lips, and once the pacifier is in, let them start the sucking rhythm.
If the introduction is successful, allow your baby to explore the feelings and sensations of the pacifier. Finally, be patient and let your baby adapt to the new experience. As time goes, your baby will develop a preference for a specific pacifier as they come in different designs and shapes. This is normal, and you should focus on the best quality and safest product available.
Safety Checklist for Using Pacifiers
Now that you understand everything you need to know about pacifiers and even why they have holes, it’s important to remember these safety checklists the next time you plan to use a pacifier on your baby.
- Choose a pacifier that is the exact fit for your baby. As with other baby products, there is no one-size-fits-all kind of pacifier. Pacifiers come in different sizes for different babies based on their ages. So it can be dangerous to give a nine-month-old baby a pacifier meant for a one-month-old. Using age-appropriate pacifiers is the first step to ensuring your baby is not at risk of swallowing the pacifier.
- The pacifier should also have two safety parts with at least two ventilation holes and a shield made of safe and comfortable material. Always inspect the pacifier for any cracks or damages before putting it in your baby’s mouth.
- Also, pacifiers have dedicated soother holders; ensure you use only these to maintain safety. Pacifiers should be sterilized before use and stored away from light and heat. To promote safety and hygiene, replace your baby’s pacifier every two months.
What are pacifiers? Pacifiers, also known as soothers or dummies, are small rubber nipple-shaped objects that provide a soothing sucking sensation in the mouth. A baby will suck on these when they cry to help calm them down. Pacifier holes: These tiny openings at both ends of the paci’s body allow airflow for efficient sucking and prevent suffocation if swallowed.
A pacifier is one of those things most parents can’t live without during infancy, but once your child falls asleep, you’ll probably want to put it away. Pacifiers are an essential part of a baby’s life. If used right, it can soothe and comfort a restless or agitated baby in the safest way possible. To get the most out of this valuable tool, make sure you’re using it correctly. Follow the safety tips I’ve shared above because safety should never be compromised when it comes to caring for our little ones.
I’m Cathrine and I’m a 39-year-old mother of 3 from Utica, New York. And I’m extremely happy you’ve come to visit my hide-out on the web. Here I post about everything related to family-life and usually it will involve babies and lessons I’ve learned over the years from experts, friends, and my own mistakes. So hopefully you will find what i write fun and informational!