> Why are NUK Soothers asymmetrically shaped?
The special NUK Teat Shape is based on its natural model: the mother’s nipple as she breastfeeds. The special shape results from the nipple adapting particularly well to a child´s mouth and fitting snugly up against the roof of the mouth and against the tongue below. This teat shape lets babies satisfy their sucking reflex in a very natural way.
The NUK Shape for teats and soothers is designed so that sucking on them requires the same sucking and swallowing movements as breastfeeding. This exercises the lower jaw and facial muscles.
If you use NUK Soothers correctly – to calm your child, to prevent thumb-sucking and to exercise the jaw intensively between meals - then the NUK Shape helps towards natural and healthy jaw development. More information and a video on this topic can be found here [[DEEPLINK]].
> Round soothers versus asymmetrically-shaped ones: which are better?
A lot of mothers think that symmetrically-shaped soothers are more like nipples because they can see a similarity. But: during breastfeeding, the nipple actually changes its shape and so adapts to a child’s mouth and the sucking motion. This shape has been scientifically proven to be right for the jaw, or “orthodontic”, and not the round or cherry shape.
In the 1950s, the dental experts, Dr med. dent. A. Müller und Prof. Dr Dr W. Balters searched for ways to prevent crooked teeth and jaw deformation in children. They found out that these problems were rarer in children who were breastfed. From then on, the two scientists took nature as their model. They discovered that a mother’s nipple changes its shape during breastfeeding to fit a baby’s mouth perfectly, and so they developed the first NUK Teats and Soothers which were anatomically shaped and therefore right for the jaw. The flattened shape of the baglet helps widen the lower jaw, in a way similar to breastfeeding. The domed shape of the top adapts to a baby’s palate as it develops. The neck of the teat is notably flat so that – almost like breastfeeding – a baby’s lips are able to close properly around it. The hole in the teat is not at the tip and not at the tip: this means food stays in your baby’s mouth longer so that it can mix better with the saliva – an important requirement for healthy digestion.
Teats with the typical NUK Shape exercise the lips, tongue and even facial muscles optimally and are still being recommended by orthodontists today. You can find more information under “The NUK Shape”.
> What makes a teat right for the jaw?
Essentially, a soother should be right for a child’s jaw physiologically and allow enough room for the tongue to have a natural sucking movement. A flattened baglet, i.e. with a slightly domed underside, puts the tongue into a natural position and this helps the development of both jaws. It is also important that the soother is soft and flexible. A narrow teat neck (the part that joins the baglet to the mouth plate) only puts minimal pressure on the jaw and the teeth that are waiting to come through. More information can be found under “The NUK Shape”.
> Is a soother not just as bad for the teeth as thumb-sucking?
Before babies start sucking their thumbs or the corner of a blanket, they should be given a soother that is right for the jaw. A soother is much more flexible than a thumb.
Thumb-sucking over a long period of time may push the top incisors forward and the lower ones back. It can lead to an open bite or the bottom teeth being angled backwards with a receding chin, making subsequent orthodontic treatment necessary. It is also easier to wean a child off a soother – as a thumb is always available.
> Lots of things are said about soothers: what are the pros and cons
Right after the birth you can do a lot for healthy jaw development: while breastfeeding, a child learns the right sucking-swallowing movement –the basis for later learning stages.
Proper breastfeeding and sucking is needed for healthy mouth and jaw movement, which, in turn, is a requirement for eating and speaking.
A teat that is right for the jaw – shaped like a mother´s nipple – can also help babies suck and drink properly
An asymmetrically-shaped soother helps babies and toddlers to exercise their mouth and jaw muscles. However, if a soother is just in a baby´s mouth, not being “used”, it should be removed.
Children should not be offered a soother if they do not need one and by no means should honey or other sweet foodstuffs be put on it. Soothers should not be used to keep children quiet. A soother can pacify and help cope with upsetting or stressful situations but it can never replace the care and affection of parents. If a soother falls out of a baby’s mouth while sleeping, it should not be put back as it is no longer needed.
The latest scientific research recommends the use of soothers as a way of helping babies fall asleep, as they can reduce the risk of cot death. In addition, children sleep better through the night if their parents are not present while they are falling asleep (e.g. not holding their baby’s hand).
> Can soothers help guard against cot death?
According to international studies, the use of soothers can actually protect against cot death.1
Scientists from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)2 examined this hypothesis and assessed relevant international studies from the years 1966 to 2004.
children who go to sleep with a soother have a much lower risk of cot death. However, the specific reasons for this have not yet been completely researched.
A little tip: the American Academy of Pediatrics advises always giving soothers to babies until they are one year old, whenever they are going to sleep - day or night.3
For the first twelve months, the risk of cot death is not only at its highest; your baby’s natural sucking reflex is also at its strongest.
Your baby doesn’t want a soother? That’s also quite normal. Never force your child to accept a soother.
These simple rules will help you protect your child:
- If possible, babies should be breastfed. In the first few months, breast milk is simply the best for your child. It helps protect against allergies and infections. Besides, close body contact during breastfeeding is just as important as getting enough nutrition: breastfeeding is food for both the body and soul.
- Babies should be placed on their backs to go to sleep: this position has proven to be the safest and best one for children.
- Babies smoke too – during pregnancy and afterwards as well. Please do not smoke. The risk of cot death increases with every cigarette smoked in your house!
- A “healthy” sleeping environment is important: the best place is cuddled up in a baby sleeping bag, on a firm mattress, in the baby’s own bed, in the parents’ bedroom. Babies should not be dressed too warmly – an additional blanket is normally unnecessary – and the room should be aired regularly.
- Do you have the feeling that your baby is ill or behaving differently? Get some reassurance by taking your baby to the doctor.4
1 Source: Gemeinsame Elterninitiative Plötzlicher Säuglingstod (GEPS) Deutschland e.V. (German Joint Parent Cot Death Initiative)
2 The American Academy of Pediatrics, founded in 1930, has almost 60,000 members in the USA, Canada and Latin America, who campaign for the physical, emotional and social health of children and young people.
3 Source: American Medical Journal, Pediatrics (2005; 116: 3716-e723)
4 Recommendations from the brochure “How can I ensure that my baby sleeps well and safely?” from the Hamburgischen Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Gesundheitsförderung e.V. (The Hamburg Working Group for Health Promotion) in collaboraton with Hamburg’s Department for Social, Family, Health and Consumer Protection and the University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf.
> Is it a problem if babies put soothers in their mouths upside down?
The NUK Shape is taken from nature and so babies makes the same typical sucking, and swallowing movements as when they are breastfeeding. The NUK Soother enables children to satisfy their natural sucking reflex and, at the same time, exercise their jaw muscles between meals.
As the mouth plate of the soother gently presses against the baby’s mouth and chin during sucking, the baglet automatically comes into the right position in the mouth. Most babies turn the soother around themselves in their mouths or spit it out if it is upside down.
Soothers should not be given to babies to keep them quiet or just out of habit. This might lead to babies using soothers only as toys which can be put in the mouth the wrong way. Babies who have had other, symmetrically-shaped soothers before may still be used to putting them in their mouths any way they like. It’s best to take a little time and patiently show your baby which way round the NUK Soother goes, because only when the soother is the right way up can it do its job properly and promote development.
> What should I do if my baby puts the whole soother right in?
Only very rarely do babies put the complete soother in their mouths. If this happens: stay calm. The mouth plate of the NUK Soother has been designed so that it cannot be completely swallowed. Additionally, there are two breathing holes in the mouth plate that let enough air through, even if the soother fills the whole mouth. Calmly and carefully remove the soother from your baby´s mouth.
Background information on sizing and the safe use of our NUK Soothers:
we offer four different soother sizes for babies from 0 to 36 months. NUK Soothers have differently sized baglets, but all the mouth plates are the same size regardless for which age. Even those for the tiniest babies have a relatively large mouth plate: thanks to its heart shape, the mouth plate does not cover much of the face or hamper breathing through the nose.
> Wouldn´t a larger mouth plate stop babies putting the whole soother in their mouths?
All NUK Soothers conform to the European standard EN 1400 for soothers, which specifically describes and regulates soothers with a button, as well as soothers with a ring. For example, the design and positioning of the safety breathing holes: the soother button should protrude at least 10mm so that it can be grasped. This does not mean that this model is less safe that a soother with a ring.
> What do I need to know about soother hygiene?
Before your baby uses a new NUK Soother for the first time, you should use a gentle washing-up liquid (e.g. the NUK Bottle Cleanser) to thoroughly clean it and then boil it for approx. 5 minutes.
If there is a little liquid left in the baglet, either just squeeze it out or leave it to dry. Never put the soother in a dishwasher. One cycle is enough to damage the material.
Another absolute no-go: licking the soother! Your saliva contains bacteria which can cause tooth decay that you can pass on to your baby. This also applies to spoons and teats.
Rinse the soother with water if it is dirty. NUK Soother Chains or Ribbons are also practical, as a soother can then be attached to your child’s clothes. Now the soother definitely won´t fall on the floor again or get lost.
N.B: All NUK Soothers have an AIR SYSTEM. A vent allows air to escape from the baglet when it is pressed together by the palate. This means that the teat always fits a child´s mouth perfectly. During boiling, water can get into the baglet through the vent.
A little tip: after boiling simply press the rest of the water out.
Boiling has made our NUK Soother really flat!
Then a vacuum has built up in the soother. This simple trick will help: pull hard once on the teat part. Don’t worry, the teat and mouth plate have been designed to withstand pulling.
Such a vacuum can occur if, after boiling, the AIR SYSTEM is blocked: a vent allows air to escape from the teat part when it is pressed together by the palate. This little device means that the teat always fits a child’s mouth perfectly. If the vacuum doesn’t disappear using our trick, then just send us the soother – we will replace it for free.
> When is it time for a new soother?
Rule of thumb: a latex soother should be replaced every 1 to 2 months, exactly like a toothbrush. At the very latest, once it becomes sticky, it’s time for a new one.
The toothbrush rule also applies to silicone soothers: you should use a new one every 1 to 2 months. Silicone soothers should be immediately replaced at the first signs of bite marks or other damage. Babies should always be given new soothers after they have had an infectious illness (such as a cold or throat infection) to prevent re-infection.
> From which age can I give my baby a soother?
Theoretically right from birth. Babies have a natural sucking reflex that also needs to be satisfied. If you are breastfeeding, then this reflex is satisfied naturally – in the true sense of the word. For some babies, this is enough, while for others a soother may be a great help in calming them down.
> When is it a good idea to use a soother?
First and foremost a soother is something to be sucked and so it can make your baby stronger, give comfort and most of all have a calming effect. If a soother is just in a baby´s mouth, not being “used”, it should be removed.
> When is it time to say goodbye to the soother?
It is time to give up soothers towards the end of your child’s second year. Once children turn three they should be going without a soother.
> Do you have any tips to help to give up soothers?
Talk to your child: explain why it is time to give up using a soother – for example, because your child is getting too big or because the soother is old and tired.
But not overnight:
children should be given time to say goodbye to this trusted friend.
Make a “deal” with your child: the soother can only be used at home, until your child is ready to say goodbye. Another tactic: motivate your child into giving the soother to someone else as a “present” – e.g. to a newborn you both know, as this baby “needs” the soother urgently. Very important: give your child lots of praise when the beloved soother is given away.
Another lovely idea is a figure such as the Soother Fairy or her friends: if the Easter Bunny, Father Christmas or the Soother Fairy visits, then this can make saying goodbye easier. Your child can hand over the soother and receive a small present in exchange. In some towns, there are already “soother trees”. http://www.schnullerpaten.de/schnullerbaeume/schnullerspendenbaeume_von_nuk.html , on which beloved soothers can be hung. Or you can take part in the next NUK Soother Tree Charity Campaign and help someone else while breaking the soother habit.