Allergies In Toddlers Could Be Prevented When Parents Suck Baby’s Pacifiers: Study

By Gopi Chandra Kharel on May 7, 2013 5:51 AM EDT

Pacifiers
Parents sucking baby's pacifiers could reduce the child's allergies (Photo: Reuters)

A new study suggests that there is a simple method for parents to prevent an infant from developing allergies: sucking the baby's pacifier. This simple approach will introduce the toddler to the parent;s "microbiome," wg act as a shield for the baby.

Although the prospect of sucking baby's pacifiers may sound disgusting and loathsome to some, that is the word of suggestion from a small study involving 184 Swedish babies published in the journal Pediatrics.

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The bizarre-sounding study found that 56 children whose parents "cleaned" their pacifier by sucking it were likely to be less effected by asthma, eczema and sensitization, conditions caused by allergic reactions, at 18 months of age than children whose parents did not use this cleaning technique. That is because the practice helped the transfer of microbiota that triggers what they call "immune stimulation."

"Parental sucking of their infant's pacifier may reduce the risk of allergy development, possibly via immune stimulation by microbes transferred to the infant via the parent's saliva," the study read.

Elizabeth Matsui of the Johns Hopkins Children Center, Baltimore, told the KTEP News that the findings support the growing school of scientific thought that suggests microbes' exposure to the baby at early age can affect the child's health. She was not involved in this study.

"There's recently been an explosion of interest in the microbiome and how it might influence many things - but in particular someone's propensity to develop an allergic disease," Matsui told the news outlet.

The study was undertaken by Bill Hesselmar of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden and his colleagues who studied data they collected from a bigger study about babies' allergies. The parents were asked whether their child's pacifier was "cleaned by boiling, rinsing in tap water, or by the parents sucking on it?"

"Here, we demonstrate that a common parental practice, sucking on the infant's pacifier before it is given back to the infant, is associated with protection against early eczema development and asthma symptoms" Hesselmar noted in the study.

"It is possible that the observed effect of parental pacifier sucking is due to the transfer of oral bacteria from the parents, via the pacifier, to their infant," he observed.

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