Allergy Prevention Update: Licking Your Baby’s Pacifier Isn’t As Gross As You Think!Rebekah Kuschmider
We’ve all done it: cleaned a binky off by licking it or shared the baby’s spoon by tasting something off it ourselves. It turns out that’s not gross and unhygienic! It actualyl may be helpful for allergy prevention!
The New York Times is reporting that a new study published in the journal Pediatrics shows that cleaning the binky with your mouth may have health benefits for baby:
In a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, scientists report that infants whose parents sucked on their pacifiers to clean them developed fewer allergies than children whose parents typically rinsed or boiled them. They also had lower rates of eczema, fewer signs of asthma and smaller amounts of a type of white blood cell that rises in response to allergies and other disorders.
The findings add to growing evidence that some degree of exposure to germs at an early age benefits children, and that microbial deprivation might backfire, preventing the immune system from developing a tolerance to trivial threats.
The study, carried out in Sweden, could not prove that the pacifiers laden with parents’ saliva were the direct cause of the reduced allergies. The practice may be a marker for parents who are generally more relaxed about shielding their children from dirt and germs, said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious diseases expert at Vanderbilt University who was not involved in the research.
So go on with your binky-licking self! You’re saving you kid from allergies, asthma, and eczema! You’re the best parent ever!
But wait, you ask, what about germs that cause cavities? Can’t those be spread from mom’s mouth to binky to baby’s mouth? Yeah. But they can also be spread by kissing your baby. According to the Times:
But Dr. Joel Berg, president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, said those efforts are misguided, since parents are bound to spread germs simply by kissing their children and being around them. “This notion of not feeding your baby with your spoon or your fork is absurd because if the mom is in close proximity to the baby you can’t prevent that transmission,” he said. “There’s no evidence that you can avoid it. It’s impossible unless you wear a mask or you don’t touch the child, which isn’t realistic.”
While I might be feeling a little guilt about possibly smooching my kids into the dentist’s chair, I’m going to ignore it and just bask in the knowledge that sharing their spoons and letting them drink from my water bottle is good parenting after all!
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