PACIFIERS

Pacifiers are an area of controversy with many parents. Sucking on a pacifier is an example of a very effective self-comforting behavior. Some doctors have even used pacifiers as a sedative during painful procedures with remarkable success. Other examples of self-comforting behavior are thumb sucking, fingering of ear lobes or hair and body rocking. These are perfectly normal behaviors in a developing child. Pacifier use and thumb sucking have not been found to be harmful, if after one year of age the pacifier is not left in the mouth while sleeping and it is removed between two and five years of age . This is where our cultural prejudices come in. Many parents have attitudes about self-comforting behaviors that reflect their upbringing. Whether a pacifier is used or not is a decision that probably won't greatly affect your child, but how you react to his or her self-comforting behavior can have dramatic effects. Acting little concerned and casually distracting the baby from this behavior is a gentle and nurturing way to react that works. A tense parent who pulls the baby's thumb from his or her mouth in public and expresses concern over this is reacting in a negative way that will make the bay want to comfort themselves more with the behavior you are trying to stop.

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