Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Suck that Pacifier, Momsie!
Did you all see this headline: "Parents' Saliva On Pacifiers Could Ward Off Baby's Allergies"? I love it. How many well-meaning momsies have popped their screaming babies pacy in their mouth to "clean it" after it falls on the floor? Probably most. I know I have on occasion. My reasoning has been, if there isn't a more sanitary option around, I'd rather have the yucky floor germs in my mouth then in Jr.'s.
But, science is giving us another even more convincing reason to pop that pacy in your mouth on occasion. In fact, some are claiming that parental sucking on the pacifier may be the BEST way to clean it! Apparently, we all have a collection of bacteria living in our bodies called "microbiomes." Exposure to these microbiomes early in life may actually impact a child's health, especially the development of allergies. One way that parents can help expose their child to allergy-preventing microbiomes is through their saliva. Sounds yucky, but a quick little parental suck on the pacifier might provide baby with enough exposure to harmless bacteria to boost their immune system and thus prevent the development of excema and allergies.
The research behind this idea started with a broad study of babies' allergies. Bill Hesselmar of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden and his colleagues found in analyzing data from 184 Swedish babies that the 65 babies whose parents cleaned their pacifiers with their saliva were less likely to develop excema or asthma, two early signs of allergic reaction. It makes sense to me that as we have become more anxious about germs and disinfectant sprays, soaps and gels become more prevalent, we also have seen more asthma and allergies develop in our little ones. Could it be that our good-intentioned efforts to keep our babies healthy is actually preventing them from optimal health? Just another example of how fear and worry can get the best of us.
So, go ahead momsie. Who cares if someone's looking? Clean that pacifier with your mouth!