The use of bottle and pacifier is very frequent. There are mothers and fathers who choose to use both, others prefer only one of the two and there are also those who definitely dispense with these artifacts.
The truth is that they are surrounded by controversy about the effects they have on the health of the baby. There will be those who argue that both are essential to calm and feed the baby, but there are also opposing opinions.
We are faced with two instruments widely used by today’s mothers, which can certainly be beneficial in one sense, but whose use also has negative repercussions. Here are some truths behind the use of bottle and pacifier.
Bottle and pacifier: How do they work?
The use of these teats is linked to the natural reflection of suction that the baby has. This reflex appears in the 32nd week of gestation, but it develops completely in week 36.
The suction reflex, together with the swallowing reflex, guarantee the baby’s survival. Thanks to them can feed and, in turn, the suction brings calm to the baby when it is restless. Hence, babies suck their finger to calm down.
These reflexes usually disappear around six months. A baby will use it to latch on to his mother’s breast, thereby obtaining food and rest. If the baby does not breastfeed, these reflexes will help the baby to use the pacifier to calm down and take a bottle to feed.
Why introduce the use of a bottle and pacifier?
Mothers who breastfeed and try to introduce the use of a pacifier do not always get good results. The baby obviously prefers his mother’s breast not only for feeding but also because it offers him the calm he needs.
In the case of babies that cannot be breastfed, bottle and pacifier come to replace the breast. With the first, as we said, the non-nutritive suction that has the calming effect is possible, while the second allows the nutritive suction.
Pediatricians will have conflicting positions on how old it is preferable for the child to use a pacifier and a bottle. Some will say that until the first year of life. Others accept that the bottle is used until 18 months and that the pacifier is prolonged until 18 to 24 months. Then they are unnecessary. We suggest to know more about feeding tips for 3 years old children.
Why can the use of bottle and pacifier be harmful?
Sucking from the bottle is easier than suckling, but since the milk comes out alone, it can decrease the muscular tension (hypotonia) of the tongue and lips and hypertrophy the cheeks.
In contrast to sucking the nipple, there is 10% more movement. The nipple is placed in the back of the mouth, which requires a coordination of movements between the jaw and tongue to express the milk.
As the baby grows, sucking and swallowing stop being reflexes. Little by little they become voluntary acts because they are necessary to chew and eat later. In this evolution, all the parts of the face involved in speech are also developed.
What are the consequences of prolonged use of bottle and pacifier?
The bottle-fed child should improvise patterns of suction, swallowing and breathing to dose the contents extracted and swallow without choking. However, prolonged use of a bottle plus pacifier has consequences for the child’s development:
- Risk of food aspiration. Muscle reorganization can cause regurgitation and aspiration of the food.
- Episodes of prolonged Because babies who take milk formulas tend to have a deeper sleep, episodes of interruption of breathing or periods in which breathing becomes very shallow while sleeping may occur.
- The adenoids become congested because the swallowing is abnormal. This, in turn, increases the risks of otitis and respiratory diseases.
- The habit of mouth breathing The child needs to breathe through the mouth because of congestion. This triggers failures in ventilation, respiratory infections, decreased hearing, alteration of thoracic and maxillofacial development.
- The cervicocranial posture and the vertical axis of the body are The malfunction of the tongue and jaw generate a bad position of the head and neck with respect to the waist and the vertical axis of the body, to compensate for the dysfunction.
- Maxillodental development is affected. When the child uses a bottle, it does not make the vacuum force that suction has, which is very important for the balance of the internal muscular pressures (tongue and palate of the palate) and external (lips and cheeks) pressures.
- There is an increased risk of cavities because bottle feeding is usually associated with bedtime. The sugar or sugary foods added to the milk formula stays in the teeth. Because the baby takes the bottle and falls asleep, without being able to clean it.
- By not adequately developing the masticatory muscles, speech articulation is Therefore, there may be delays in speech development.
I can not breastfeed: what do I do?
If you can not breastfeed effectively, it is best to use a pacifier and a bottle as soon as possible. However, there are mothers who use glasses with straw or spikes. And even small spoons, rather than using a bottle and do not insert the pacifier. Evaluate if that decision works for you and your baby.
In any case, the important thing is to avoid that these instruments are associated with the moment of sleep; otherwise, dependencies may be created by becoming a long habit for more than two years.
Allow abuse of bottle and pacifier can cause your child to become a future user devices orthodontics to correct the problem swallowing or deformation of bones and teeth, or requiring therapy for speech development. Although it does not happen to all children, the odds increase.