The What's, the Why's and the How's

Q: What European safety standards certification do Choo Cha products have?
  • EuroNorm EN 1400 (soothers for babies and young children)
  • EuroNorm EN 12586 (soother holders)
Q: What materials are Choo Chas made of?
  • The baglets of our pacifiers are made of Polypropylene (PP) – a very lightweight and durable thermoplastic polymer that is both boiling and dishwasher-safe due to its high melting point of around 171 °C.
  • Dyes are added to the product during its production; rather than at a later stage, to ensure that the colour will not leak.
  • The dyes used are also saliva and sweat proof.
  • The teats of our Choo Chas are made of silicone – a transparent, taste-free and odourless material.

Q: What baglet shape do Choo Cha pacifiers have? 

  • All our pacifiers come with the Orthodontic shape.
  • This baglet was developed by dentists in the 1950s to reduce pressure on a child’s jaw during pacifier use and in so doing, to prevent the occurrence of jaw deformations.
  • With its upwardly tapered teat, the shape was developed to reshape and adjust to the shape of the baby’s mouth and jaw in the same way that a mother’s nipple adapts during breastfeeding.
Q: When is the best time to introduce a pacifier? 
  • Babies appear more willing to accept a pacifier between the ages of 2-weeks and 4-months. This appears to be the peak-age of the need for extra sucking. After this age the sucking drive usually decreases.
Q: Why use a pacifier?
  • Babies have an innate sucking reflex, which makes them feel relaxed and soothed. Pacifiers satisfy this natural instinct.
  • Babies may intuitively use their thumbs as “natural soothers,” but this is not ideal from a dental point of view. Unlike a pacifier, the thumb cannot bend and reshape during sucking to fit the structure of a baby’s jaw, which places pressure on the mouth and can result in long-term tooth and jaw misalignments.
  • Weaning children off thumb-sucking later can prove difficult because unlike a pacifier, it is always within a child’s reach.
Q: What are the benefits of using a pacifier?
  • Pacifiers can satisfy your baby’s need for non-nutritive sucking beyond nursing and bottle-feeding.
  • Pacifiers may help your baby go to sleep, because sucking is a self-comforting behaviour.
  • Pacifiers may reduce the risk of overfeeding bottle-fed babies. The urge to suck for comfort is often mistaken as a sign of hunger for both bottle-fed and breastfed babies. This misunderstanding is not as much of a concern for breastfed babies as they can control the flow of milk while breastfeeding. However, bottle-fed babies cannot control the milk as effectively, which increases the risk of overfeeding.
  • Pacifiers are a safer, easier alternative to thumb-sucking (which is often a difficult habit to stop).
  • Pacifiers can provide comfort during medical procedures, as studies have shown.
  • Pacifiers can assist in reducing the amount of stress a baby experiences.
Q: For how long should a pacifier be used before being replaced?
  • Generally the silicone teat of a pacifier should be replaced after 1-2 months to guarantee hygiene and safety.
Q: Are there any problems associated with pacifier use?
  • Undersized, ill or jaundiced infants can tire easily through the overuse of a pacifier due to the energy that it takes to suck the teat.
  • A Finnish study published in the Journal of Pediatrics found that the prolonged or frequent use of pacifiers can increase the risk of middle ear infections. Solution: between the ages of 6 and 10 months, restricting pacifier use to sleep time can reduce the risk of middle ear infections. Please note: this study does not suggest that the use of pacifiers is the only factor involved in an increase of ear infections.
  • The use of pacifiers after 12 months of age, may lead to delayed speech.
  • A pacifier can become a sleep association. Once the baby reaches a deep part of the sleep cycle, the pacifier will likely fall out of his or her mouth and the baby will need the pacifier in order to fall asleep again. Solution: try to place more than one pacifier in the cot so that the baby can find it easily on his or her own.
  • The use of pacifiers or thumb sucking after the age of 5 years can affect the shape of a child’s mouth or jaw, leading to protruding or crooked teeth.
Q: Will using a pacifier cause ‘nipple confusion’ for my breastfed baby?
  • Although many babies switch effortlessly between breast and bottle, some may experience ‘nipple confusion’ if artificial nipples are introduced during the early days of nursing.
  • Many breastfeeding experts tend to warn against the use of both bottles and pacifiers for all breastfeeding babies before breastfeeding has become an established routine.
  • Pacifiers should be avoided if your baby is experiencing trouble learning to latch on or suck correctly.
Q: Do pacifiers lead to early weaning?
 
There are conflicting views regarding this sentiment:
  • In a study published in Pediatrics in 1997, Dr. Cesar Victora of the Federal University of Pelotas in Brazil suggested that “pacifiers are related to shorter durations of breastfeeding”.
  • A new study out of McGill University in Montreal (in July 18, 2001 Journal of the American Medical Association) concluded that mothers don’t need to worry that a pacifier will turn their baby off the breast.
  • “The use of a pacifier, in and of itself, is not likely to have anything to do with how long the infant can, will, or will want to breastfeed” says Ronald Barr, professor of pediatrics and psychology at Montreal's McGill University and co-author of the aforementioned study.
Q: Should I avoid pacifiers altogether if my baby is breastfed?
  • As long as pacifiers are not used as a substitute for meeting a baby’s needs, they can be used to soothe fussy young babies without interfering with nursing.
  • There are times when a pacifier can be a useful alternative to the breast (e.g. when a mother is not able to nurse at that moment, or when a colicky baby is too distracted or too frantic to nurse).
Q: Will using a pacifier cause dental problems later on?
  • There is a small amount of controversy regarding pacifier use.
  • The use of pacifiers or thumb sucking after the age of 5 years can affect the shape of a child’s mouth or jaw, leading to protruding or crooked teeth.
  • Tooth decay can also occur, but this is far more likely if pacifiers are dipped into sweet substances.
Q: Should I encourage my baby to use a pacifier rather than sucking his/her thumb?
  • This is a matter of personal preference and opinion – each has advantages and disadvantages.
Q: Do pacifiers harbour germs that cause infections? 
  • A study that acquired and tested 40 recently used pacifiers, found the presence of microorganisms on only 52.5% of pacifiers. This means that approximately half of the pacifiers were uncontaminated.
  • Based on the above study, pacifiers can be considered as potential “germ carriers” but their potential to cause significant infections remains questionable.
  • The appropriate care and cleaning of pacifiers will limit contamination.
Q: Are orthodontic pacifiers better than rounded ones for teeth and jaw development?
  • The orthodontic shaped pacifier is often recommended by dentists and healthcare providers because it may prevent tongue thrust.
  • However, any significant advantage of one shape over another has not been demonstrated because neither shape tends to cause problems unless sucked intensely for more than the recommended number of years.
  • Babies have their own preference and it’s important to choose a shape that your baby enjoys.
Q: What are the most important safety tips for using pacifiers? 
  • Choose a pacifier size that is suitable for your child’s age.
  • Choose a pacifier with a shield that is made of firm plastic with air holes – it should measure at least 3.2 cm width, so that your baby cannot put the entire pacifier into his or her mouth.
  • Do not tie a piece of ribbon/string that is longer than 15 cm onto a pacifier, as it may cause strangulation
  • Check the pacifier regularly for signs of damage. Small pieces can break off and be a choking risk.
  • Replace your child’s pacifier every few months, before it gets damaged.
  • Never make your own pacifier out of bottle nipples, caps or other materials – these materials may be hazardous to your child’s health and could cause choking or death.
Q: How do you encourage your child to stop using a pacifier? 
  • Most children give up the pacifier on their own somewhere around the age of 3 or 4 years old
  • Some parents however, may choose to discontinue the use of a pacifier earlier than this due to some of the problems and disadvantages listed above.
  • Stopping the habit of pacifier use, as with any behavioural change, will take time and patience
  • Choose an appropriate time to discontinue pacifier use, when your child is not needing to deal with other stresses like traveling, moving house or adjusting to a new baby or new caregiver.
Tips on using pacifiers (for babies between the ages of 6 months and 2 years)
  • Restrict pacifier use to bedtimes only.
  • Do not use the pacifier as a way to keep a baby quiet.
Tips on using pacifiers (for children over the age of 2 years)
  • Use star charts, daily rewards and gentle reminders to limit pacifier use during day-time hours.
  • Throw away all but one pacifier.
  • Picking a special occasion or a specific way of giving up the pacifier may smooth the transition of getting rid of it.
  • Offer a trade for your child’s pacifier. Take your child to the toy store and allow him or her to pick out a new toy to trade for the pacifier.
  • When your child does give up the pacifier, offer him or her lots of praise for doing a grown-up thing.