Sucking your baby's pacifier clean - medical expert warns parents it's a bad idea - Evewoman

Baby Care

Sucking your baby's pacifier clean - medical expert warns parents it's a bad idea

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For decades, women - and only women - were told to keep immaculately clean houses.

Then research began to show that all this obsessive cleanliness could be causing our kids to have allergies like asthma and eczema.

So, when your baby's dummy falls onto the floor, instead of sterilising it, pop it into your mouth instead - their gut flora will thank you!

Of course, a number of parents find the idea of sucking your baby's dummy clean pretty gross - for all involved.

So what's a parent to do?

A link has been revealed, thanks to a study by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) between parents who use their mouth to clean dummies, and a lower allergic response in their kids.

Of the 128 mums interviewed over the course of 18 months, 12 per cent admitted they sucked their kids' dummies clean.

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Of these, their babies had lower IgE levels.

Our immune systems produce IgE when our bodies are threatened by certain bacteria and viruses. At any one time, we should only have a small number of IgE antibodies in the blood, but this number will increase when a person has an allergic reaction, so high levels have come to be associated with allergies.

It's been said that lower allergy rates in these babies are down to the transfer of microbes from the parent's mouth.

So does this mean sucking a dummy can reduce the risk of allergies?

Well, don't get too excited...

Kidspot spoke to clinical immunologist Professor John Zeigler to see what his recommendation was.

He says: "It's based on the hygiene hypothesis that children in dirty environments have fewer allergies than children in clean environments, but it’s not clear what is actually causing that.

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"Children who live on farms have less asthma and it’s thought that it might be exposure to airborne particles from the germs that inhabit the bowel of animals, but no one really knows."

Prior to being weaned onto solids, Prof. Ziegler says, care should be taken to sterilise all the receptacles your baby uses because of their under-developed immune systems.

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This includes bottles, teats and dummies because the idea that a baby's immune system can be improved by a parent sucking on their pacifier is "making too many leaps" and he likens it to "an old wives tale."

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