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A parent gives her newborn a pacifier at bedtime

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Can a newborn sleep with a soother?

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Welcoming a new baby into your family is an exciting, yet sometimes terrifying time for many new parents; even parents with multiple children experience anxiety.

Each day comes with the stress of learning about your new little one, learning what they like, what they dislike, and how to soothe them.

Many new parents find themselves wondering “Can a newborn sleep with a pacifier?”.

Below, Polysleep provides information on how to help new parents learn about the do’s and don'ts of soother usage in a newborn, as well as when to introduce a pacifier.

Baby pink color silicone pacifier on white background

When is it recommended to introduce a pacifier to your baby?

Have you found yourself wondering when to introduce a pacifier to your newborn?

Introducing a binky to your new baby may seem pretty straightforward. However, there is quite a bit of confusion on when the appropriate time to introduce a binky to avoid nipple confusion — especially in babies that are exclusively breastfeeding.

New mothers who wish to avoid using a bottle often grow concerned that introducing a dummy can cause difficulties in their breastfeeding journey, and that is true for many.

Experts have revealed that newborns, especially those that are exclusively breastfed, become confused in determining how to suck on a pacifier versus the appropriate way to induce milk flow from the mother.

The action a newborn uses to suck on a soother is significantly different than that used to extract milk from the breast, which can increase the risk of nipple confusion.

The following is a comprehensive guideline of the most recommended time to introduce a binky to your newborn:

  • Bottle-fed babies, whether it be breastmilk or formula, can use a soother at any time as nipple confusion is greatly decreased due to the similarities of the bottle nipple to the pacifier shape.
  • Breastfed babies without difficulty latching achieve the needed muscle memory at approximately 3 to 4 weeks of age. This is a good timeframe to introduce a dummy.
  • Breastfed babies with latch trouble should not use a pacifier for at least 4 weeks.

Pacifiers: what are the pros and cons?

Using a pacifier offers many benefits to both the baby and new parents as it is an additional resource to soothe your frustrated baby when nothing else seems to be working. Experts report many more benefits to it use including:

  • Reduced risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • Helping your baby to remain content between feedings
  • Offering a break to new parents as it soothes their infant
  • Distract babies from anxiety, fear, frustration, illness, and doctor's visits
  • Aid in reducing ear pain during taking off and landing on a flight

While there are many benefits to using a binky, there are also many risks. The most commonly reported cons include:

  • Nipple confusion when introduced too early
  • Babies begin to prefer pacifiers over breasts, resulting in them feeding less
  • An increased risk of infection or germs spreading if not properly cleaned
  • Soother can interfere with the normal growth of teeth if they are used too long
  • Dependence forming with prolonged use
A newborn baby with a pacifier in his mouth holds his mother's hand
Newborn baby sleeps with pacifier in mouth

Is it safe for a newborn to sleep with a pacifier?

There are many excellent options for soothing your fussy baby, but can a newborn sleep with a pacifier?

In short, yes! It is safe for a newborn to sleep with a binky in that it greatly reduces the risk of Sudden Infant Death syndrome, the unexplained and sudden death of a baby under the age of one.

Sucking on a soother also helps your baby fall asleep and stay asleep which in turn allows mom and dad to get some well-deserved rest. However, you must continue scheduled feedings as newborns generally eat every 2 to 4 hours —  even throughout the night.

Are you left to wonder when a baby can sleep with a pacifier? In most cases, a baby can safely sleep with a dummy at any age, and is dependent upon when the caregiver is comfortable introducing a binky.

Tips for using a baby's dummy

Pacifiers for babies are a great tool to have on hand, especially when nothing you do seems to be soothing or comforting to your little one.

At Polysleep, we understand there are so many things to learn during pregnancy that often the use of a dummy is left on the back burner. It seems simple enough, right? Just pop it in their mouth. But a few tips for using a binky can help, including the below.

  • Ensure you are using an age-appropriate soother. When you are purchasing pacifiers, the package will indicate the age range each one is intended for. It is important to use the appropriate age group for the proper size.
  • Avoid using the binky as a mainline soothing tool. If you give your baby a binky every time they fuss, they will learn that is the only calming mechanism, Therefore, it's recommended to try various options such as rocking, placing the baby in a swing, or taking the baby for a walk.
  • Regularly sterilize the pacifier to ensure germs are not spread from a dirty one to your baby’s mouth.
  • Purchase pacifiers that are one solid piece. Many are one solid piece. However, there are a few that are two pieces. It is important to avoid using this type of soother as these increase the risk of choking.

Other relevant articles...

When to stop using a binky and how?

Whether your baby had a soother at birth or did not begin using one until 6 months of age, it is important to understand when to stop pacifier use. Many children stop using it on their own between the ages of 2 to 4 years old. However, some require a bit of encouragement.

Utilizing a reward system, including prizes or a piece of candy each time your child does not use their dummy, as well as offering ample praise and encouragement has proven to be very successful in helping your little one stop using a soother.

Baby sleeps with a pacifier in his hand

Many toddlers seek comfort from it when they are bored. Therefore, keeping idle hands busy is a great way to cut down on its use. Encourage activities, crafts, and playtime with toys to avoid your child becoming increasingly bored.

It is not recommended to stop pacifier use at once but to gradually decrease its use by limiting it to naps and bedtime.

Frequently asked questions

It is not recommended to allow your baby to sleep with a pacifier clip as it is an increased choking risk.

Yes, a newborn can sleep with a soother throughout the night, but you should not substitute its use for regular nighttime feedings.

If you are not exclusively breastfeeding and worried about nipple confusion, a two-day-old newborn can sleep with a pacifier. Babies should always be put to bed flat on their back with nothing surrounding them to ensure a safe sleeping space.

Soothing a baby can be frustrating, however, it is important to try various methods. A few common practices include changing positioning, rocking your baby, swaddling them, or even purchasing a more comfortable mattress such as the baby mattress from Polysleep.

Takeaway

Welcoming a new baby comes with many stresses. Knowing how and when to use a pacifier doesn’t have to be part of it.

The baby mattress from Polysleep offers a high-quality, safe sleeping space where your newborn will surely feel comforted with or without a binky. Remain calm as you navigate the first few weeks — remember, when you experience stress, the baby will experience stress.


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