Everyone parents in their own way – and that way is usually the right way, right? We get so caught up with what is working for us as a parent that we forget that every child is unique and possesses different needs. Before you feel pushed into a certain parenting style, considering these following hot topics and make your own informed decision as to what is best for your child.
Hot Topic #1: Pacifiers
The act of sucking is natural and instinctual for babies so it makes sense to give them something to suck on. But why is this action so natural?
There’s no solid answer beyond the inclination to feed, but researchers have shown that sucking, for babies, helps to alleviate pain and promotes the development of facial muscles crucial for speech.
It has also been shown, by the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) that pacifier use does not cause any medical or psychological harm and may actually help to reduce Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) by ensuring that airways are kept open while babies sleep.
However, there is such a thing known as “nipple confusion” that can occur if a pacifier is used within the first 3-4 weeks of a baby’s life. During this time, your baby may have difficulty distinguishing between a pacifier and the breast and may even develop a preference for pacifiers – especially if your baby has difficulty nursing. Otherwise, use beyond the age of 4 weeks poses no significant risk of confusion or preference.
Long-term use of pacifiers, beyond the age of 4, has been proven to affect dental health and cause issue with children’s baby teeth. Maintaining health of the baby teeth is crucial to ensuring strong and healthy adult teeth. Any parent who has allowed their baby to use a pacifier beyond the age of 4 knows: Weaning can be difficult.
Otherwise, serious risks only really exists when pacifiers are misused. Dipping them in sugar or any other sugary substance can lead to a condition known as “bottle rot”, in which residual sugars in the mouth attacks the tooth enamels while the baby sleeps. Pacifiers can also be used to replace or delay meals – which is a big NO-NO.
Chelsy Weighs In: I used to be so anti-pacifier, until I had a baby. At one point I remember pleading with my 4 month old to take a soother. She did not heed my pleas but in that moment I understood why parents use them.
Hot Topic #2: Medicated versus Non-Medicated Birth
Non-medicated, or Natural, births seem to be all the rave these days – and with good reason. Many women who opt-out of medications during childbirth report feeling more empowered and in tune with their bodies during the process.
When you choose to forego pain-relieving medication, you are able to walk around, change positions to find comfort and work with the contractions to speed up the birth of your child. You also eliminate any possibility of your baby coming into contact with these drugs via the placenta.
Yet, when used appropriately, medications are proven to be completely safe for mom and baby. They actually help prevent the release of neurohormones caused by extreme pain that can inhibit the cervix from dilating. Also, pain medications such as the epidural do not completely sedate you, leaving you awake and aware for the birth of your child.
There are risks either way: using medication may cause a drop in the mother’s blood pressure and cause fluctuations in the baby’s heart rate while not using medications may increase blood loss and fatigue during labour.
Chelsy Weighs In: I am scared to death of pain. I opted for a medicated experience and enjoyed every moment of it! You need to decide what is best for you and your baby – both physically and emotionally.