When a baby has a pacifier in their mouth, it is difficult for them to be able to copy the actions of the adults or children they are trying to mimic, therefore making it harder for them to learn to express their own emotions.
The authors discovered that boys aged 6 and 7 who used pacifiers regularly as babies or young children were not as likely to copy emotional expression they saw in others in a video they were asked to watch.
I’m not anti-pacifier as once I was — Alrik uses one in the car (that’s where we started) and when Sam’s trying to get him to sleep. (Night pacifier use was fine, in the terms of this study.) I’ve also been known to grab a handy one when I’m simply nursed-out and need some space but Alrik still wants to suck. This sort of study reinforces my conviction not to rely on a pacifier overly much, though, because I do notice he can’t interact with us as thoroughly when he has it in his mouth.
I wonder if there’s any connection between parents’ intent and pacifier use in boys. Do parents want boys not to show as much emotion?