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Friday, March 2, 2012

Choosing a Pacifier and Teether

By Margie Kelly

Baby with Pacifier

I’ll admit I was ready to sell my soul for a pacifier my newborn would accept. I was so tired and delusional, I thought a pacifier would be magical, with powers to comfort the baby and allow me to sleep. But my son rejected it. Repeatedly.

Not every baby is as picky as mine, though, and when you go to pick out a pacifier, you’re faced with many choices. If your child is willing to take a pacifier, be sure to get one that is toxic-chemical free, which is easier to do now than it was just a few years ago. Since lots of babies love to suck as a way to comfort and soothe themselves (fun fact: sucking is a natural instinct that begins in the womb, as incredible ultrasound photos have shown us), it’s important to choose a safe sucking item as it  will be in their mouths quite frequently.

Fortunately, many pacifier makers got the message that moms don’t want their babies sucking on bisphenol A (BPA). Alicia Voorhies, co-founder of The Soft Landing said, “In our most recent update, we learned that most pacifier makers have followed suit after baby bottle manufacturers in removing BPA from their products. It’s fantastic news and drives home the fact that moms can apply consistent pressure to create change in the marketplace!”

There are a number of reputable sources to provide guidance on which type of pacifier and teethers to choose, including The Soft Landing and Safe Mama.

Remember, however, that recommendations are specific to each particular model; you can’t count on a brand to be toxic free across models. Be sure to download the lists and bring them to the store with you when you’re shopping for pacifiers.

Here are a few things to look for in a pacifier:

*     Go latex-free. Latex can run the risk of carcinogenic nitrosamines and there are many safer options on the market.

*     Choose a model free of BPA, PVC, and phthalates

*     Physical safety is a factor. Pediatrician Dr. Alan Greene recommends you choose the right size for your baby’s stage; a newborn should use one designed for newborns. Also, make sure it’s a sturdy pacifier with a vented shield at least 1 ½ inches wide to prevent choking.

Cleanliness tip: Be sure to put pacifiers in the dishwasher to keep them clean and germ free.

Searching for teethers raises similar issues to choosing a pacifier. You want to give your child something safe and non-toxic to gnaw on to ease the pain of those sharp new teeth.

Kathy Scolerie, who blogs as Safe Mama, has advice for parents looking for teethers:

*          Choose teethers made of natural materials like wood and organic cotton.

*         Silicon is a safe option

*          Watch for new innovations, like the teether made from corn starch bioplastic

*         Always avoid BPA, PVC, and phthalates.

It’s also easy to make your own teethers! Here are some DIY remedies:

*      Cold food (frozen breastmilk or formula popsicles, slushy baby food, etc). Make sure it’s nothing that can be choked on.

*      A frozen washcloth (dipped in water or 100% apple juice).

*      Homeopathic teething gel or tablets.

*      Homeopathic Chamomilla and a gentle gum massage

Do you have any DIY tips? Have you found non-toxic pacifers readily available at your local stores? Share your finds and thoughts in the comments below:

Photo: Pixland

Posted by: WebMD Blogs at 2:54 pm

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