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Sucking Your Baby’s Pacifier Will Probably Become the Next Parenting Craze

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Nov 16, 2018

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Parents do a lot of weird things in the name of raising a healthy child. (Remember the vaginal seeding craze?) Perhaps to get through it all, we need to be convinced that whatever gross or strange act we’re about to perform will definitely make our kid healthier, stronger — or, less prone to allergies and asthma, which could be the outcome of cleaning your baby’s paci with your own mouth, a new study suggests.

“Although we can’t say there’s a cause and effect relationship, we can say the microbes a child is exposed to early on in life will affect their immune system development,” says Dr Eliane Abou-Jaoude, an allergist fellow with Henry Ford Health System, an American health care provider, and the study’s lead author. “From our data, we can tell that the children whose pacifiers were cleaned by their parents sucking on the pacifier, those children had lower IgE levels around 10 months of age through 18 months of age.”

IgE refers to an antibody whose presence is linked to the development of allergies and asthma.

The study was small — only involving 128 women who reported on whether they boiled, cleaned with soap and water, or sucked on their child’s pacifier in order to clean it. But it echoes a 2013 Swedish study that reached similar conclusions: Babies whose mothers cleaned pacifiers by sucking on them — thus, ostensibly, passing germs from both our saliva and whatever surface the pacifier fell on — had “significantly lower levels” of the antibody marker for allergies and asthma.

Does this mean you should switch to sucking on your baby’s paci, if you currently have a more fastidious cleaning method? No, says Dr Abou-Jaoude. But as with most disgusting things that might, someday in the future, perhaps, hopefully, yield health benefits for children, watch this become the next big parenting craze.

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Written By The Swaddle Team

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