Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Lick your baby's pacifiers to reduce the risk of asthma, allergies and eczema??
I read this story in the New York Times the other day and thought, "Huh??" The article, "Sucking Your Child's Pacifier Clean May Reduce Allergies, A Study Finds" quotes a study from Pediatrics. It shows that infants of parents who sucked on their baby's pacifiers to clean them had lower rates of asthma, allergies and eczema.
The study was based in Sweden, and isn't sure whether it's just the fact that the parents clean the baby's pacifier with their own mouth that passes some sort of protection to their baby. Or is that type of parent more relaxed about germs and letting their kids be exposed to things early in life?
The article says that rather than being overly protective of our children, it's good for them to get a little dirty and be exposed to things in the environment early in life. Does help them start to build up an immunity?
The study also shows that babies who are born vaginally are exposed to different bacteria (on their skin and in their guts) than babies born via c-section. Babies born vaginally have lower rates of asthma, food allergies and hay fever. Rates of eczema are drastically lower if children were born vaginally. Children who were born c-section and had their pacifiers boiled or rinsed had a 55% chance of having eczema. Those born vaginally and their parents cleaned their pacifier with their mouth had only a 20% chance of eczema. That's a big difference!
So, what's the answer? Make sure your kids are born vaginally and then clean their pacifier with your mouth? That's not always possible, c-sections are the only option for some mothers and babies. And I don't think protecting your kids from eczema, allergies and asthma is as easy as licking their pacifier. But maybe I'm missing something. Read the New York Times article for yourself and decide what you think.