Once your infant has started to accept pacifiers, it is easy to just continue using them. And forget both the safety checks and the hygiene…
But pacifiers need to be boiled, cleaned and checked for safety regularly. In addition, many parents use pacifier clips since they are so convenient, but they need to be checked for safety too.
It is also quite easy to just offer the dummy much more often than really needed.(And this makes the weaning of the pacifier harder eventually.)
Here I have put together a checklist for pacifier usage for your convenience.
In addition to safety and hygiene, we also added in a few usage tips related to preventing complete pacifier dependence for your baby.
Using Baby Pacifiers Smart And Safely
Wash the baby pacifier often in water. No soap. And don’t use your own mouth to clean it; it won’t get clean, just full of your germs.
Instead, bring a small bottle of water when you go out, to wash the dummy in if your baby drops it. Water is good for your own health too, especially if you breastfeed and need the extra fluid.
Check the joints
“I can’t believe how quickly dirt is gathered in the pacifier joints” a friend of mine said one day.
“You can’t believe what??” I thought, but said nothing. I was new to dummies; my baby had only accepted them for a month or so.
Boil the pacifier
Boil the pacifiers now and then for 5 minutes. Then you don’t need to worry about germs that may hide on the pacifier.
Be very careful to boil the pacifier if your baby has a cold or baby thrush or if someone else, especially another child, takes it.
Make it a habit to grab the pacifier nipple and pull it now and then to make sure that it is not broken or torn. This is particularly important when your baby has got his or her first teeth.
You don’t want your baby to suddenly choke on a small part of a broken nipple.
Throw it away
Don’t use each pacifier for too long, maybe a couple of months. They can become worn, get cracks and just stop being fresh.
A tip is to buy different colors or patterns at different times to help you remember how old the different baby pacifiers are. If not – well, you’ll notice. They really do stop being fresh after a while. They can even smell bad. If your baby has had a stomach bug, consider throwing all old pacifiers away. Even if boiling should get rid of all bacteria, a fresh start can be a good feeling.
Use baby pacifier clips
If you plan to carry your baby in a baby carrier or a sling, baby pacifier clips can be very practical.
This is true also when the baby gets old enough to grab things and throw them away. Not to mention when traveling by car and you can’t reach out to help your sad baby who lost his dummy.
These days, some baby pacifier clips are like baby jewelry. You can get them in real silver, with the logo of your favorite football team on it, with cute Teddy bears, flowers and you name it.
Whichever pacifier clip you decide to use, make sure it is safe! (Not too long, so your baby can get strangled and no small, loose pieces that can be swallowed.) Ask in the shop if you are uncertain. They should not be long enough to wrap around your baby’s neck; that is very important! Stay with pacifier holders that are no longer than about half way around your baby’s neck to be on the safe side. Personally, I also prefer pacifier clips that can be washed.
Take it out
If you don’t want your baby to become very dependent on the pacifier for staying asleep, make it a habit to pull the pacifier out slowly after 10 minutes or so when your baby is sound asleep.
Limit the usage
It can be very tempting to use the pacifier too much in my view.
A lot of moms habitually put in the binky as soon as the baby makes a sound or even when the baby appears to be completely happy.
That way, you really create dependence for your child and make weaning the pacifier so much harder when the day comes. Try to avoid it!
Have some fun!
Babies are so pretty. A pacifier doesn’t exactly make them prettier, but why not have some fun if your little darling is going to cover a fourth of his face with plastic for a year or two.
In addition to pacifiers for everyday use, why not buy one or two for festive occasions; designer logos, one that matches the baby’s dress or whatever.
Dummies with your baby’s name on are also both fun and can be very convenient if you have more than one child or at the daycare center. When I had two babies (only 18 months apart), I bought name pacifiers for them, similar to these ones at Amazon. Super convenient!
More On Baby Pacifier Safety and Usage
Do you have any pacifier tips to share? Please do among in the comments section below!