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Baby's soothers: ally or not?

La sucette de bébé : alliée ou pas ? - You&Milk

- Updated on Jul 25, 2024

Summary :

    Article written by Fanny Lacoste - Children's sleep consultant.

    pacifier for babies


    Praised by some parents , blamed by others... It is certain that the baby soothers continues to cause debate! If it allows, among other things, to satisfy the child's need for sucking ; it is also pointed out for the inconvenience it can cause. Several studies have also looked at the impact it can have on breastfeeding . Here I tell you what you need to know about baby soothers!

    Why give baby a pacifier?

    The importance of suction

    Sucking is an instinctive reflex that the infant acquires in utero. The fetus sucks its thumb and at the same time ingests amniotic fluid: it is already preparing to breastfeed in optimal conditions ! After childbirth, during the first two hours, the baby's need to suck is at its peak, which makes it easier to latch on .
    Subsequently, we note two types of suction:


    Nutritious sucking

    The infant suckles for a long time and swallows milk with each suck to feed itself.


    Non-nutritive sucking

    This need to suck is not associated with hunger. This gesture allows the baby to release endorphins . The happiness hormone allows the child to calm down, feel safe and reduce pain (thanks to its analgesic power). Sucking is thus linked to the healthy development of the infant . So, the soother can help fill this non-nutritive need and provide comfort.


    Other benefits of giving your baby a soother

    Using a soother has other advantages for the child. Among them, we can cite:

    ‚óŹ Reduced risk of sudden infant death (even if, at present, researchers do not know how to explain the reasons).
    ‚óŹ Improved sleep : by sucking the soother, the infant feels safe and falls asleep peacefully.


    What are the disadvantages ?

    However, despite certain proven benefits, the soother can cause several complications for the baby ... and his parents!

    Teething and jaw problems


    If at the beginning it has no repercussions at this level, excessive use of the soother beyond the child's four years is not recommended. As the breast shield exerts pressure on the teeth, it can change the alignment of the teeth and deform the palate . It may also be responsible for moving the upper jaw forward.


    Delayed speech development

    With the soother in the mouth , the child is less likely to communicate. It is more difficult for him to imitate the sounds he hears because the movements of his tongue are limited.


    Long-term disrupted sleep due to soother

    The soother helps the infant to fall asleep peacefully, but over time it can become the source of numerous nighttime awakenings. Indeed, if the child is used to sleeping with his soother , he is likely to wake up in the middle of the night if he realizes that he has lost it.

    On this subject, I recommend starting to limit the systematic use of the soother with your baby from six months old. To help him, you can help his hand take the soother and then bring it to his mouth: he will thus learn to use his favorite object only when he feels the need. For the night, there are fluorescent soothers! Always place them in the same place on the mattress so that your child can easily find them at night and go back to sleep alone.

    Does your baby's nights remain complicated? As a baby sleep expert , I am here to advise you and help you find solutions adapted to your situation.

    Does the soother prevent breastfeeding?



    We often read that there is a risk of confusion with the breast . The reality is a little more complicated than that. Most health professionals recommend not offering soothers before the baby's first four weeks of life. The reason is simple: we must avoid hindering the establishment of breastfeeding and promote lactation.

    After that ? Research tends to demonstrate that the soother is not the primary cause of premature cessation of breastfeeding. However, it would contribute by being combined with other factors or in the case where breastfeeding becomes complicated for mothers.

    What are the alternatives ?

    Baby pacifier


    Most of the time, the thumb is invoked as the main alternative to the soother, it also has detractors due to its disadvantages (dependence, poor positioning of the teeth, etc.). There are other options:

    ‚óŹ Skin-to-skin and babywearing are recognized for the many benefits they provide (the baby feels soothed, secure, etc.);
    ‚óŹ A soft toy can also be used as a transitional object ;
    ‚óŹ Breastfeeding.

    In any case, the decision to offer the soother is yours and remember that whatever your choice, it will always be the best for your child.



    Fanny Lacoste

    Nurse and sleep coach for children for 13 years

    "It's essential for me to help families restore harmony at home, taking into account your child's needs, emotions and temperament.
    My primary aim is to establish a climate of trust that encourages discussion, while respecting everyone's values. In this way, I'll be able to pinpoint the origins of the difficulties hindering a child's sleep, and provide appropriate solutions for each family."

    You can find her on her Instagram account @bebe_a_sommeil
    There she shares information that will help you in your daily life as a mom!


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