Parents, think quickly.  What would you do in this situation?

You are out at a restaurant with your baby who is happily sucking away on her pacifier when she suddenly spits it to the floor.  She starts wailing while you search for another only to realize that you don't have another one in your bag.  You...

A. Put the pacifier in your own mouth to "clean" it before handing it back to your baby.

B. Wipe the pacifier down with your napkin.

C. Grab your baby and the soiled paci and dash to the bathroom to do a thorough cleaning.

D. Let your child fuss until you can get home to a properly sterilized pacifier.

You might think that the slacker answer here is 'A,' but a new study has found that parents who suck on their baby's pacifier to "clean" it might actually help protect their baby from allergies in the future.

For the study, researchers interviewed the parents of 184 babies to determine whether or not the babies used pacifiers and if so, how the parents tended to clean them.  The oral microbiota of the infants was analyzed via saliva samples collected at 4 months of age. And the babies were tested for allergies and food sensitivities at 18 and 36 months of age. 

Interestingly, children whose parents “cleaned” their pacifier by sucking it were less likely to have asthma, eczema, and food sensitivities at 18 months of age than children whose parents did not.  The study also found that for eczema in particular, this protection was still in effect at the baby's third birthday.  

The obvious question here is...why?  Why on earth would parents sucking on their baby's pacifier help to prevent allergies and asthma?  Researchers speculate that this practice might stimulate the baby's immune system by transferring microbes from the parent to the baby via the parent's saliva.

So...what do you think?  Would you stick your baby's pacifier in your mouth to clean it?  

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