I find it amusing when scientific research supports what parents do naturally, when they aren’t overthinking things.
A new study published in the Journal of Pediatrics found that cleaning a recently dropped pacifier with your saliva-meaning you put it in your mouth before inserting it back into your baby’s-may actually help strengthen your child’s immune system and keep them from developing certain allergies.
“At 18 months the children whose parents licked the pacifiers had one-third the risk of developing eczema compared to children whose parents used a different cleaning method.”
I find this hilarious. My sister, who had 4 boys like stairsteps, often told a joke about a mother’s ever-lowering standards as she adds more babies to her brood. It goes like this:
When the first baby drops the pacifier, you pick it up, boil it, and hand it back to the baby. When the second baby drops the pacifier, you pick it up, rinse it under the tap, and hand it back to the baby. When the third baby drops the pacifier, you pick it up, lick it off, and hand it back to the baby. When the fourth baby drops the pacifier, you take it out of the dog’s mouth and hand it back to the baby.
“Research has shown that babies need to be exposed to a wide variety of bacteria, viruses and other organisms to help their immune systems develop and mature properly. If this doesn’t happen early, the baby’s system tends to overreact to harmless particles like cat hair, pollen, or various foods, treating them as if they are dangerous, which can lead to allergies. Our emphasis to keep things exceedingly clean over the last few decades may actually be depriving a baby’s immune system of some of the organisms it needs to help it thrive, according to the study.”
There’s also evidence that children who live on farms are healthier, as well as kids who have several siblings, as well as those who grew up with pets. This study is an interesting counterpoint to one several years ago that seemed to suggest that kissing your baby was a bad idea because you could give them germs that cause tooth decay.
I wonder how many parents who read that info stopped kissing their babies because they trusted “experts” whose opinions flip flop around constantly?
None of my kids has ever taken a pacifier, but that’s not the point. Studies like this are the reason I don’t do hand sanitizer or use “sanitizing” cleansers in my home. And also why I don’t freak out if my 8 month old crawls under the dining room table and finds a bit of food her sister didn’t sweep up.
I find the comments on the above link hilarious too. The parents seem split down the middle, into two camps: the OCD germ freaks and the more laid-back ones.
Which camp do you fall into?