Sucking your baby's pacifier may benefit their health

Researchers theorise parents may be passing healthy oral bacteria in their saliva that will affect the early development of their child's immune system.

Published: 16th November 2018 08:10 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th November 2018 08:15 PM   |  A+A-

Baby

For representational purposes

By PTI

WASHINGTON: Sucking your baby's pacifier may lower the level of the antibody linked to the development of allergies and asthma, a study claims.

Researchers theorise parents may be passing healthy oral bacteria in their saliva that will affect the early development of their child's immune system.

"Although we can't say there's a cause and effect relationship, we can say the microbes a child is exposed to early on in life will affect their immune system development," said Eliane Abou-Jaoude from Henry Ford Health System (HFHS) in the US.

"From our data, we can tell that the children whose pacifiers were cleaned by their parents sucking on the pacifier, those children had lower IgE levels around 10 months of age through 18 months of age," Abou-Jaoude said.

The study, being presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology meeting in Seattle, US is believed to be the first of its kind in the US to evaluate the association between pacifier cleaning methods and the antibody Immunoglobulin E, or IgE.

IgE is linked to the development of allergies and asthma.

The findings are compatible with those from a 2013 Swedish study, which reported an association between parents sucking on their baby's pacifier with a reduced risk of allergy development.

The new study involved 128 mothers who were asked about how they cleaned their baby's pacifier: Sterilizing it in boiling water or dishwasher, cleaning it with soap and water and sucking on it.

Among the three methods, 30 mothers sterilised it, 53 cleaned it with soap and water and nine sucked on the pacifier.

Researchers compared the babies' IgE levels at birth, six months and 18 months for each cleaning method.

They found a "significantly lower IgE level for babies at 18 months" whose mothers sucked on the pacifier to clean it.

Additional analyses indicated the differences were first seen at about 10 months, researchers said.

However, Abou-Jaoude cautions parents from concluding that sucking on their baby's pacifier to clean it will lower their child's risk of developing allergies.

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