Clearly, sucking a pacifier or a thumb helps infants when unrestricted breastfeeding?is not available. Frequent sucking is very important to infants?many reasons, from reducing heart rate, stress, and SIDS, to increasing. oxygenation and intelligence. While sucking on artificial nipples approximates some of the benefits of natural nursing, there are downsides to artificial sucking as well. The use of a thumb or pacifier after 2 years contributes to the development of cross bite,?whereas breastfeeding actually improves proper jaw development. Pacifier use also increases the amount of bacteria and yeast in the mouth, which in turn increases the susceptibility to dental cavities. Using a bottle during the night, especially after age 2. causes a significant, but smaller, increase in tooth decay. Using pacifiers or bottles during the first months of breastfeeding teaches improper sucking that can cause pain and infection in the mother and difficult nursing for the infant, reducing the chance of continued successful breastfeeding by half.?Thumb or pacifier use is high in those weaned prematurely from the bottle or the breast, and is generally minimal when there is extended on-cue breastfeeding.
Text copyright ? THE BABY BOND by Dr. Linda Folden Palmer