Could Sucking Your Baby’s Pacifier Cut Allergy Risk?

Where exactly does an allergy risk come from? Researchers aren’t sure exactly, but according to a new study, exposure to environmental germs might have something to do with it. Some parents are actually fighting the risk by sucking on their baby’s pacifier.

by Sydney Lupkin, ABC News

pacifierWe’ve all seen it. A pacifier tumbles out of a crying baby’s mouth and hits the floor with a wet thump.

Maybe it bounces once or twice.

Some parents throw it right in the trash. Others boil it. Some just give it a rinse in the sink.

But some moms pick up the pacifier, put it in their mouth and hand it right back to baby, and a new study suggests the practice may be associated with fewer allergies later on.

“It’s really an interesting study, because it supports the theory of the hygiene hypothesis,” said Dr. Samuel Friedlander, an allergy specialist at University Hospitals in Cleveland. “It’s a theory that states that our world is too clean. The immune system is like an army, and if the army doesn’t have anything to fight – like germs – it fights allergens.”

Researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy of Göteborg University in Sweden followed 174 babies and their parents for several years and tested them for allergies, eczema and asthma. They also asked parents how they cleaned off pacifiers, and found that nearly half of them used their mouths on occasion.

By the time babies were 18 months old, those whose parents sucked their pacifiers were less likely to have asthma and eczema, and the researchers concluded that this was because parents exposed their babies to bacteria in their saliva, stimulating babies’ immune systems. There was also a trend toward a reduction in allergy signs. But by the time babies reached 36 months old, they only had an added protection against eczema…Read Full Article >