Allergies In Infants Reduced By Parental Pacifier Sucking

Allergies In Infants Reduced By Parental Pacifier Sucking

Parents who clean their baby’s pacifier by sucking on it may be protecting their infants from developing allergies, according to an article published online May 6, 2013 in Pediatrics.

Bill Hesselmar, MD, associate professor of pediatric allergology at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, and colleagues analyzed the records of 184 infants born at Mölndal Hospital in Gothenburg whose mothers were recruited into the study. Parents kept diaries covering the first year of life for the infants, and a pediatric allergist examined the children at 18 and 36 months of age. Saliva samples were collected from infants at 4 months of age, and all pacifier cleaning practices were obtained through parental interviews.

Decreases In Asthma, Eczema and Sensitization To Allergies.

parental pacifier sucking image

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The researchers found that children whose parents sucked their pacifiers to clean them before giving them to the children were less likely to have asthma, eczema and sensitization to potential allergens at 18 months of age than children whose parents did not suck the pacifiers. The protective effect against eczema allergies remained at age 36 months.

When the researchers adjusted for delivery mode and mother’s education, they found that parents who delivered vaginally were significantly more into doing parental pacifier sucking than parents of cesarean-delivered infants and that the protective effect of pacifier sucking against allergies such as eczema remained with the child during the first 18 months.

Only 20% Of Children Born Vaginally Had Eczema Allergies vs. 54% Of Children Born By Cesarean Diagnosed With Eczema!

Children born vaginally and exposed to parental oral microbiota from parental pacifier sucking had the lowest prevalence of eczema allergies, at 20%, compared with 54% for cesarean-born children not exposed to parental oral microbiota because the parents were not parental pacifier sucking.

The evidence suggests that having parental pacifier sucking on the baby’s pacifiers and being exposed to bodily fluids during vaginal birth positively influences infants’ microbiota composition, the researchers write, thus helping to ward off allergies.

The small scale of the study may be a weakness, the researchers note, but it also may be a strength because of the detailed and structured follow-up that was possible regarding allergies.

“By no doubt, this habit allows for a close oral contact between parents and child,” the researchers write, “facilitating bacterial transfer at a very young age, before the child starts to use spoons.” Allergies seem to be controlled, at least in part, by the GI Tracts Healthy Microbes. This may be why children with allergies at  young age seem to grow up to be adults with more health issues.

Take away: To give your child the best chance possible at not contracting allergies be part of the parental pacifier sucking to clean their pacifiers movement! For more information on allergies and other health issues  contact Dr. Walter K. Crooks

Pediatrics. Published online May 6, 2013.

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