Here is a topic that has been driving moms and dads crazy for some time already. If you read literature about this subject, you will find a myriad of opinions and probably end up not knowing what to do after reading. How frustrating! So should you give a pacifier to your baby or not?
This is a hard choice because as a parent, you know that this decision might affect your child's teeth forever. My ex-husband being a dentist, we had made the decision that obviously pacifiers were not a good choice for our son. All was going well in our little world, up until our son, probably out of frustration and need for something soothing, figured he had a thumb! In an ideal world, you can indeed base your decision on what is optimum but in real life, you need to adapt to the real situations that come up. So, yes evidently a pacifier was not a great choice but having our son suck his thumb, day in and day out until he reached his teen years was an even worst option. Pacifiers are made to adapt best to the teeth anatomy so it pushes your child's new teeth less, so less need for orthodontic treatment later on. That's when we decided that pacifiers were a great solution after all. There is also a degree of control as a parent with pacifiers, we will see that below. So if you keep in mind that pacifiers are not optimum but a great alternative if necessary, you will do well by your child.
I believe that the ideal way to deal with pacifier questions is simply to wait until you see your child suck his/her thumb. Try and see if you can avoid that you child suck his/her thumb. If after trying 2-3 times, you see the child insists, go to the nearest store and get a pacifier. Remember that with children some things might come automatically but that if as parents we help them find another path, they oftentimes go down a different, healthier way. Do not give a pacifier to a crying baby immediately, this is not what they ask for necessarily and if it is not, you gave them a bad habit, when they would never have had it in the first place. Patience with children gets you far... You want to go on Xanax, yessss, but you get a long way with patience and persistence.
The advantage with a pacifier is that you can give it at night only or when your child is feeling restless... in other words under certain circumstances that you will determine depending on who your child is and his/her needs. I would advise to discuss with your child regularly when they reach a year or two that pacifiers are not forever, but do not shame your child into not wanting it. If you mention enough times the benefits of not having a pacifier, eventually your child will embrace it. Everything takes time and patience with children but remember this is how we all learn.