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Sucking on Your Baby’s Pacifier May Strengthen Their Immune System, Says New Study

This may sound odd, but between scrubbing that pacifier and handing it off to baby, researchers suggest you pop it in your own mouth for a minute and give it a good slathering of your own saliva. It may actually help baby’s immune system.

While the study does not offer any definitive solutions to common issues such as asthma, rashes, eczema, or allergies, The Huffington Post reports that the new study led by Dr. Bill Hesselmar at Queen Silvia Children's Hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden, says “cleaning” your child’s pacifier with your own spit certainly can’t hurt. The study followed women and their 184 infants from birth to three years.

The parents were not specifically told by researchers whether or not they should suck on their child’s pacifiers, but of the 65 parents who reported doing it regularly, their children were 63 percent less likely to have eczema at 18 months and 88 percent less likely to have asthma, compared to the children of the parents who did not suck on their children's pacifiers. At 36 months, parents' saliva on the pacifier did not show a discernible difference in the likelihood that the child would develop asthma, but those children were 49 percent less likely to develop eczema.

"It's always hard to tell if it's the only explanation,” Dr. Hesselmar says, “but we have tried to analyze as many other possibilities as we can think of." The fact that the parents were not specifically assigned the task to suck or not to suck the pacifiers was the largest variable in this study, because researchers do not know whether other variables in those families influenced or affected the decision, which would, in turn, introduce more variables.

"It could be that these parents have more time with their children, a less stressful relationship with their children, hug their children more or whatever," he told Reuters Health. If there were other factors that affected the results, the research would have to be redone and those variables isolated to get a legitimate result.

In the meantime, sucking on your child’s pacifier, whether for the hinted health benefits for baby or if you are just running low on clean binkies, certainly won’t hurt anything but your pride!

Source: Huffington Post

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05.7.2013 / 12:44 AM EDT by Emmalie Vance
Related: Moms, Health

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