The Advice Given to Parents by SLTs and Midwives Regarding Non-Nutritive Pacifier Use. Where Does it Come From and How Does it Differ? A Drive Towards Evidence-Based Practice.
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Background: It has been estimated that between 75 and 85 percent of children in western countries now use a pacifier. Pacifiers have been reported to soothe infants, assist with transitioning to sleep and reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. However, they have also been reported to cause increased ear infections and cause problems with dentition and speech and language development. Evidence of both the advantages and the disadvantages of pacifier use is limited and inconsistent. The public perception of pacifier use is often negative and in recent years pacifier use has come to represent lazy parenting. Aims: To discover what advice two groups of professionals, speech and language therapists and midwives give to parents concerning pacifier use. Furthermore, to examine what this advice is based on. Methods & Procedures: A questionnaire was electronically distributed, this yielded quantitative and qualitative information. Data was analysed both descriptively and thematically. Nine midwives and twelve SLTs responded. Outcomes & Results: The majority of respondents reported discouraging pacifier use. Although, 90% of respondents could list the advantages of pacifier use, the tendency was still to dissuade and advise against. The advice given was based on evidence for over half of respondents (N=14). It was also heavily influenced by experience and discussions with colleagues. Despite the various influences, the majority of respondents felt they were giving advice which was in line with others in their profession. Conclusions: Respondents practice was not always evidence-based, when articles were cited it was not always clear if they had been fully understood. Further research is needed to prove if pacifier use does have the detrimental or beneficial effects often claimed. An improved, more robust evidence base would give professionals more guidance on how best to advise parents.
B.Sc. (Hons) Speech and Language Therapy
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