Despite being an extremely personal thing, many women are judged for their parenting decisions. It is even more challenging for celebrities, who are constantly under public scrutiny.

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As such, Jessica Simpson recently faced heavy criticism when some eagle-eyed fans spotted the singer’s youngest daughter, Birdie, sucking on a pacifier in a picture she had shared from a family holiday. As expected, the picture was flooded with harsh comments, with netizens slamming her for ‘lazy parenting‘. One user even wrote that ‘Birdies a little old for a binkie’.

While the singer chose to not react the comments, she did pen a letter to herself reflecting on how much she has changed over the years.

“I am very proud of my faith, resilience, and strength over the last 4 decades,” she wrote. “…I know myself and I do love her very much. I know my purpose and I must say that ladies and gents I am equipped to waltz within every dream I own confidently. I am humbled and honored to finally be my own best friend.”

Jessica Simpson’s 3-year-old daughter, Birdie, sucks on a pacifier. (Photo: Instagram)

To understand more about the same, we reached out to Dr Nidhi Mishra, Consultant- Pediatrician, Will Hospital Dehradun, who said that sucking on a pacifier “distracts babies from reflexes and actions in their body, comforts them, and also reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).”

The expert added that pacifiers are “completely safe to use and have a calming effect on babies”. However, she was quick to add that the pacifier must always be cleaned before use to keep it germ-free. “Also, it is not advisable to add any substances to it, which might not be hygienic or safe for the baby.”

“Ideally, a baby should be weaned off from it at the age of 3-4 years,” she said.

Dr Nidhi also said that long-term use of a pacifier can increase the risk of bacterial infection.” Extreme usage can also disrupt breastfeeding, resulting in a lack of nutrition. Also, it can interrupt the natural growth in terms of speech development as the baby is busy sucking on a pacifier all the time,” she explained.

The best way to wean the babies off a pacifier is to get them engaged in other activities. Dr Nidhi recommended replacing their comfort with other habits. “Parents are also advised to engage babies with their favourite toys and a cozy blanket that does not remind them of a pacifier.”

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