Discover when and how to introduce a soother to your baby. Get valuable insights into selecting the perfect soother for your child's comfort.
Expert Insights from Dr Danuta Chrzanowska-Liszewska, Specialist in Paediatrics and Neonatology
The ideal timing is before your little one arrives. As you prepare your baby's essentials, consider buying the first soother. Initially, having one or two will be adequate. It's important to note that not all babies necessarily need a soother; some may take to it immediately, while others might not. Therefore, before getting a larger supply, wait until your baby demonstrates a natural interest in using it.
When it comes to selecting a soother, there are several important factors to consider. Here's a helpful guide:
· Ensure it’s appropriately sized for your baby's mouth, especially for newborns who benefit from a smaller shield.
· Ensure it doesn't obstruct the baby's nose, allowing for unhindered breathing.
· Choose a soother with a dynamic design that enables effective functioning in your baby's mouth.
· Look for a shield with holes to facilitate proper airflow.
· Choose a soother made from hypoallergenic materials, like silicone, to prevent irritation to delicate baby skin.
· Select a soother with a rounded handle to avoid injury and enable easy gripping for the baby.
· Prioritize a soother with a nipple that mimics the shape of a nipple.
· Ensure it's free from Bisphenol A (BPA), a potentially harmful substance.
Newborns possess a powerful innate sucking reflex. While many babies fulfil this urge during feeding at their mother's breast, some require nearly constant sucking for soothing. While it's best to address this reflex naturally, it may not be feasible for particularly demanding infants. Continuous breastfeeding can be impractical for both you and your baby. Apart from feeding, you have additional responsibilities, and excessive sucking at the breast can potentially lead to overfeeding and spitting up.
If your baby is adequately fed but persists in sucking on a breast or bottle, and frequently places their fist or finger in their mouth, they could be seeking emotional comfort. Additionally, if they appear irritable and fussy, these signs may indicate a potential need for a soother. Offering a soother during such moments can help calm your baby, soothe their emotions, and provide the comforting sensation of sucking that is particularly beneficial during the early months of life, aiding in their ability to fall asleep.
Lactation generally stabilizes during the first few days after birth. As advised by lactation consultants, it is considered safe to introduce a soother only after this initial period. If you aim to avoid potential interference with breastfeeding, you can confidently introduce a soother to your baby when they are around 2-4 weeks old.
Maintaining the cleanliness of soothers is crucial throughout their use, with particular significance in the initial months of your baby's life when their immune system is still maturing. Before using the soother for the first time, thoroughly wash and rinse it with boiling water. It's recommended to continue sterilizing soothers until your baby reaches 6 months of age. As your baby starts to crawl and explore their surroundings, which may involve putting objects into their mouth, the necessity for sterilization gradually becomes less essential.
If the soother falls, avoid licking it before giving it back to your baby. Licking transfers bacteria to the soother, increasing the likelihood of tooth decay. Utilize soother clips or chains to prevent the soother from coming into contact with the floor, safeguarding it from contamination.
It's recommended to replace the soother with a new one approximately every 6-8 weeks. If your baby is teething, check the condition of the nipple before offering it to them. If you observe any signs of damage on the nipple or shield, replace the soother with a new one.
Opt for a size that corresponds to your child's age. Nevertheless, remember that the age range mentioned on the packaging is a suggestion. Babies are born with different birth weights, and not all infants will fall within the age group outlined by typical size standards. As you move to a larger soother, pay attention to your baby's response. If they appear uncomfortable, consider returning to a smaller size.
Available LOVI soother sizes:
• 0-2 months – features a smaller and lighter shield, tailored for newborns,
• 0-3 months,
• 3-6 months,
• 6-18 months,
• 18 months and older – includes a reinforced nipple that is more resilient to biting.
Avoid doing it during stressful periods in your baby's life. Times such as ending breastfeeding, your return to work, or teething are not suitable for soother weaning. Keep in mind that soother weaning is a gradual process. Usually, it takes a few days for your baby to adapt. Your baby might exhibit fussiness and irritability during this adjustment period, so starting the process on a weekend or during your time off is advisable. This approach allows you to have more time to focus on your child's needs.
The most effective approach is to gradually transition away from the soother. Start by reducing the amount of time your child uses the soother throughout the day, limiting it to emergencies and sleep. Abruptly taking the soother away from your baby can be quite unsettling for them, so it's recommended to steer clear of such sudden changes.
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