When is the use of pacifiers justifiable in the baby-friendly hospital initiative context? A clinician’s guide

This discussion presents the argument that pacifier use is justifiable in specific conditions, such as immaturity and other medical situations and when the mother is not available. The benefits of using pacifiers are reported in the literature as supporting soothing in infants; enhancing maturation and protecting the suck reflex; and lowering the risk of SIDS. It is, however, essential to have guidelines available for clinicians to be able to assess the safety of a pacifier’s design and to be able to apply general measures to ensure safety when using pacifiers, specifically in the NICU context and/or with infants with special needs. Finally, pacifiers have an ‘expiry date’ and use should be ceased after six months of age to prevent complications such as otitis media and dental malocclusions.

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