The pros and cons of soothers have long been debated by parents. 
Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages that may help you decide if a soother is right for you and your baby.
Since babies have strong sucking reflexes, soothers will stop them from sucking their thumbs, which may have dental effects later in childhood. It can be difficult to wean a child off their soother, but a lot harder to stop them from sucking their thumb.
Soothers may also interfere with breastfeeding, so it is important to establish this first before giving your baby a soother.
Babies should be weaned off soothers by the age of two as it can have effects on speech development. There are also reports that soothers may reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). If your baby is prone to middle ear infections you may want to speak to your GP as it is said that a soother may increase ear infections.
Here are some tips that will help you if you decide a soother is best for you and your baby:
  • Always replace worn or damaged soothers immediately.
  • Ensure that the soother is clean - hygiene is important when it comes to soothers.
  • If you are breastfeeding, establish this before you give your baby a soother, as it can interfere with the process.
  • Try to wean your baby off the soother between 6 and 12 months old as any later than this and you may have difficulty.
It can be difficult for many parents to wean their baby off soothers; here are some tips that may reduce the stress:
  • Don’t take the soother away drastically – slowly reduce the amount of time your baby has with the soother until he/she no longer asks for it.
  • Take their minds off the soother.