The Lazy – And Kinda Gross- Way To Clean Your Baby’s Pacifier May Prove Super Beneficial

Sucking On Your Babys Pacifier May Protect ThemI think most parents have done this: You are at the park or somewhere else without access to hot tap water and your baby drops their nuk out of their mouth. How many of you have taken their pacifier and popped it into your own mouth to “clean” it before giving it back to your kid? I would have never done anything this gross (Or seemingly unsanitary) with my first kid but by baby number three I was a champ as sucking on my kid’s pacifier to clean it, and researchers at a Swedish hospital show this type of lazy cleaning may protect against allergies and eczema. From Reuters:

For the new study, researchers recruited pregnant women at one Swedish hospital and followed them and their children through phone calls and exams over three years. The 184 infants in the study were particularly allergy-prone: 80 percent had at least one parent with allergies.

When the babies were six months old, 65 parents reported “cleaning” their pacifiers by sucking on them. Most parents also said they rinsed pacifiers with tap water.

The children were then brought in for allergy testing at 18 and 36 months of age.

At the first visit, 46 of them had eczema and 10 had asthma symptoms. Kids whose pacifiers had been sucked on by parents were 63 percent less likely to have eczema at 18 months and 88 percent less likely to have asthma, compared to the children of parents who didn’t use that cleaning technique.

By 36 months, the difference had gone away for asthma. Parental pacifier sucking was still tied to a 49-percent lower chance of a child having eczema, researchers led by Dr. Bill Hesselmar from Queen Silvia Children’s Hospital in Gothenburg found.


Yay! So being lazy and cleaning your kid’s pacifier like this is not only excellent if you aren’t near a sink, but may prove beneficial to their health. I still believe that thumbs are a better alternative to pacifiers, after all, a baby cannot lose their thumb or drop their thumb, but I see nothing wrong with either method of self-soothing. Adults do it, so why shouldn’t babies? But still we see so many moms, and grandmothers especially, who think sucking on things is bad for babies (usually because of their teeth) and try and guilt parents into taking away the nuk or the thumb. To this I say take away their evening cocktail and see how they like it!

(Photo:  maxriesgo/shutterstock)

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  • Véronique Houde

    I wonder if this has more to do with attitudes that parents might have who have no issues putting the pacifier into their own mouths to clean it. Most likely, these parents don’t disinfect everything in sight, use sensitive baby products with their babies, let their babies roll around in the sand and dirt all day… Hence, they develop better immune systems, and voilà, less allergies and excema!

    I did hear however that the rincing the pacifier with your saliva is bad for the child’s teeth because of the difference in your saliva and theirs… But you hear everything nowadays! You basically have to choose between whether you want your child to have good teeth or allergies. Hmmm….

    • NeuroNerd

      I agree that it’s probably about levels of sterilization than specifically sharing saliva.

      The issue with spit cleaning a pacifier is that he bacteria that causes cavities gets passed from parent to child. We’re not born with those bacteria, and the longer parents keep their children’s mouths from getting colonized, the less likely the child is to have dental issues. Since everybody eventually becomes colonized, it’s inevitable that kids will get colonized, but putting adult saliva on something a child will put in his or her mouth is a sure way to transmit the bacteria.

    • Véronique Houde

      exactly! thank you for explaining it for me, I didn’t exactly remember the reason that it was bad but that it could cause cavities :)

    • Blueathena623

      Came here to say the same thing, but you said it better :)

  • quinn

    Yes! I having been lying around waiting for my laziness to pay off!!

  • SusannahJoy

    We tried to not do pacifiers. Didnt even last through the first night. It makes him happy. Happy baby is quiet baby, and quiet baby is happy parents!

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