Some studies have shown that preemies who are given soothers actually gain weight more quickly. However, not just any binkie will do.Here is a handy guide to choosing the perfect preemie pacifier for your little one.
Why Not Use a Regular Dummy?
While it may be tempting to use a hand-me-down from one of your older children, these binkies will be too large for a preemie and may even present a choking hazard. Soothers for older children may have extra features like special designs to promote dental development, lights, or entertaining attachments. These may actually be problematic for your preemie.
The Perfect Fit
Not just any binkie will do, unfortunately. Soothers vary in size and shape depending on age. Be sure to buy a preemie pacifier as these are designed to be smaller and promote muscle development, depending on the brand.
In several U.S. hospitals, new moms are given a Philips Avent Soothie Pacifier for their preemies. This is a single piece that is 100% silicone and designed to fit your baby’s developing mouth. Other brands, such as GumDrop,offer a similar curve design.
The main difference between a preemie pacifier and the regular variety is that many are designed to allow space for tubing from mechanical ventilation machines or tube feeding. Brands like Wee Soothie Preemie and L’il Pacee (with models designed by neonatal nurses) include this feature.
Thumb vs. Nipple
While most soothers are designed to mimic the shape of a nipple, you’ll notice that a preemie pacifier may look more like a thumb instead. For instance, the Purple Wee Thumbie (made for micropreemies) resembles the size and shape of a preemie thumb to teach your baby the sucking motion that he may not have mastered yet.
If you keep an eye out for products offering the right size, special features, and design, it can go a long way towards keeping your preemie happy and soothed.