Why I Don’t Give My Children a Pacificer

I’ve never been a fan of giving pacifiers to my children. There was just always something about it that bothered me.

I was told to avoid giving them to your children until breastfeeding is fully established. I used this as a loop-hole. It took so long for me to establish breastfeeding with both of mine that they were too old to use one. Although I agree with this, there always seemed more to it, even though I couldn’t put my finger on it.

Yesterday, at Ruby’s CST appointment, I spent a great deal of time talking to Tim Reep. We discussed several topics regarding natural healing, the importance of nutrition, and the ill effects that a sick digestive track has on the rest of the body. He mentioned that he doesn’t chew gum.

The action created by the tongue and jaws while chewing gum sends a signal to the rest of the digestive track that you are eating. Saliva is produced and digestive enzymes and acid are released. But nothing ever arrives in the stomach. This causes problems over time.

It makes sense to me, so I decided to do a little more research on it. Here’s what I found:

Our bodies were never designed to be constantly chewing and there are significant neurological mechanisms in the chewing process. When you chew, your brain thinks it is going to get food and secretes digestive enzymes, such as Amylase in the mouth to break down carbohydrates. This is the first stage of digestion. It then signals the gastrointestinal track and pancreas to secrete more enzymes, such as Protease and Lipase in preparation for what it believes to be food coming down that needs to be digested. This is the normal process by which protein and fat are broken down. This unnatural process can cause bloating.

Hormone imbalances occur, due to our digestive system being controlled and regulated by our autonomic nervous system, such as insulin and cortisol being secreted. The stomach then starts producing Hydrochloric Acid. This can’t be used and can create potential digestive dysfunction, such as Acid Reflux Ulcers and Bruxism (teeth grinding and clinching).

Biomechanical imbalances like forward head posture, which is a result of excessive chewing can strain the cervical vertebrae causing the thoracic and lumbar vertebrae to compensate, making one hip or shoulder lower than the other. TMJ can also occur as well as headaches and since most people chew on one side, asymmetry faces.

(Taken from “The Ill Effects of Chewing Gum” by Michael Torchia)

No wonder we have so many problems with acid reflux in our older age. We chew gum frequently in our society.

This got me wondering….

….. Does the same thing happen to a baby when he/she sucks on a pacifier? Their mouth, jaws, and tongue are all moving in the fashion as though he/she were eating. Wouldn’t that signal to the digestive track of a baby to prepare for food that doesn’t come? This would not be a problem when a child comfort nurses because food actually arrives in the stomach.

Another reason why many people in our society suffer from acid reflux, we give pacifiers. I get asked this CONSTANTLY with my children. I avoid getting looked at like I have snakes growing out of my head I usually answer, “oh, I’m not that lucky! My children just won’t ever accept one.” When the real answer is that I don’t even really try to give them one. But it is so common in our society to give pacifiers that if you don’t, people literally think you’re crazy.

Do pacifiers cause stomach problems for babies, whether now or later in life? I don’t know for sure. But it’s not worth the risk to me. I want my children to be healthy, not just as children, but as adults also. I don’t want them burdened and weighed down with disease and sickness. I want them to live their lives abundantly!

So in addition to all the obvious problems that a pacifier can cause (dental problems, bad habits, nipple confusion/preference, low milk supply, etc) here’s a possible big problem that isn’t so obvious.

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6 responses

  1. What about kids that naturally suck their thumbs or fingers? Would this send the same signals? I’m guessing neither of your girls are thumb suckers either which is good!

    • I’m thinking that it would have the same affect as sucking a pacifier. However, they aren’t going to suck their thumb as much as a pacifier. They would have to stop in order to play or crawl. Not so with a pacifier.

      Also, pacifiers in our society seemed to be used typically (not always) as a means to pacify a baby instead of meeting the babies needs (hunger, thirst, cold, hot, insecure- contrary to popular belief, babies have a NEED to be held). Loretta never sucked her thumb or fingers. She would comfort nurse, but I never saw it as a chore or as a bad thing. I enjoyed nursing her. Ruby sucked her thumb previous to her hernia surgery and before her tongue was properly clipped. She was in pain and struggled to eat. She was incapable of comfort nursing due to the tie, as she had to choose between eating and breathing. But since that has been fixed, she no longer sucks her thumb.

      • I was wondering if Ruby had ever done it, as Bethany has sucked on or put her hands in her mouth as often as she can since birth! She really got ‘into’ her hands at 9 weeks which was one week before she stopped nursing. I’m starting to think that wasn’t a coincidence! I hate her doing it, I think its really gross. We had our ent appointment last week and he told us nothing was wrong w her. Yet she still won’t nurse w/o the shield and very rarely (I’m talking once a week at best) with it. We are going to a different ent in two weeks. I’m determined to get her nursing again!

      • Thank you for sharing your story with me. So sorry to hear that your LO won’t nurse. I know that is SOOOO hard. I definitely see why you think there is a correlation between the two ( sucking on hands and no longer nursing). I don’t think her sucking on her hands necessarily caused her to stop nursing. But it may have been her way of trying to soothe herself because she wasn’t getting satisfied at the breast. That is why I think Ruby sucked her hands. How old is Bethany?

        As I continue to try things with Ruby, I’ll keep posting them on here. Maybe something will work for you too. If you find something that works for you, let me know too! I’m glad to hear you are going for a second opinion, it seems like there really is a TON of wrong information out there. I feel for the moms that suffer because of that. You could always contact Jennifer Tow for her services. Even though its over Skype, she is very capable of spotting a tongue tie just through pictures and videos. Please update me with what happens. I’ll keep you and little Bethany in my thoughts and prayers.

  2. No, I don’t think sucking her hands made her stop nursing either. I definitely do think that was caused by her tongue tie. The tongue tie that the ent from last week said she didn’t have. Bethany is now 22 weeks and 5 days old. So she’s not reliably or regularly nursed for quite a while. We are trying some things till we find a ENT that is willing to really take a good look at her mouth and help us (which we hope is the one we see in a couple of weeks!). If he doesn’t find anything I don’t know what else we’ll do. Our IBCLC has mentioned Dr. Kotlow in Albany so maybe I can convince hubs to go see him if this other ENT doesn’t work out. We might look into cranial osteopathy, who knows. I’ve been following your blog for about a month now since someone on Facebook (your friend?) pointed me towards it. I keep pulling for you and Ruby to have success!!

  3. Good article, thank you.
    I really share the idea of stomach issues concerned with pacificer.
    The strongest argument for me at this time is that my son’s health got worse after almost 2 month of sucking since birth. And today’s symptom was an excessive sativation that made me worry(yesterday my 2 month son didn’t sleep on daytime at all from 5.00 am till midnight).
    So this was the last bell, cold you give me tip, what can we do now?
    We avoid local hospital for doctors incompetence level.
    And the last thing, that baby becomes irritated(cries loudly) after breastfeeding instead of calming down to sleep.
    Thank you in advance, beg for your attention.

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