A Professor of Paediatrics at the Department of Paediatrics, College of Health Sciences, University of Ilorin, Kwara State, Olugbenga Mokuolu, has warned mothers against giving their babies pacifiers.
According to him, giving babies pacifiers whenever they are crying may rather expose them to the risk of infection and malnutrition.
Prof. Mokuolu, who is also a Consultant Paediatrician at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, said there are various ways of pacifying a child without the use of pacifiers.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with PUNCH HealthWise, the child health expert said part of the baby’s life is to cry, stressing that crying is a sign of good health for the baby.
According to Wikipedia, a pacifier is a rubber, plastic, or silicone nipple substitute given to an infant to suckle on between feedings to quiet its distress by satisfying the need to suck when it does not need to eat.
Prof. Mokuolu explained, “We discourage the use of pacifiers. It is almost a similar reason why we said mothers should not use feeding bottles for their kids.”
“They tie the pacifier around the neck; it is exposed; anything can touch the pacifier; flies will land on it and anything can lie on it. Later on, the child will put it back in the mouth and he may pick an infection from it.”
“Secondly, the child introduced to the pacifier will have non-nutritive sucking. The baby is sucking but does not have value for the sucking.”
“What the child is doing is basically to take in gas and when he takes in this gas, at the end of the day, he suffers a bloated tummy.”
“So, instead of the child being fed well, he is full of gas. What this means is that you are decreasing the opportunity for that child to be properly fed and to grow up optimally.”
The paediatrician stated further that when babies are malnourished, they have a faltering growth and are also prone to diseases.
“The child will be exposed to other infections when the child is malnourished. The use of pacifiers results in malnutrition. That will affect the immune system and a lot of things are possible thereafter,” he said.
According to the professor, giving babies pacifiers brings about what is called, “nipple confusion syndrome”, a situation where the baby has difficulty latching onto the breast after the introduction of a pacifier or bottle.
@ Punch Newspaper