Hygiene Hypothesis

You’re pushing your baby in a stroller when her pacifier tumbles to the ground.  What do you do? 

a) You stick the pacifier in a bag where you keep dirty pacifiers to be boiled in hot water at home later and you pull out a clean one from a separate bag.

b) You step into a café where you rinse off the pacifier in the bathroom sink.

c) You clean it off in your own mouth and then put it back in your baby’s mouth.

A new study says “c” is the best answer.  The research of 200 Swedish babies published in Pediatrics revealed that parents who spit-cleaned pacifiers were far less likely to have children with allergies than those who rinsed or boiled the item.  “It’s an interesting finding, because it adds to the growing support for the theory of hygiene hypothesis, that the average child’s world is too clean,” said Dr. Samuel Friedlander, head of  pediatric medicine at University Hospital in Cleveland.  The doctor adds that parents whose children were delivered by caesarean should especially clean a pacifier with their own saliva for it will add needed micro-bacteria into the babies immune system missed in the canal birth.

The bottom line?  A little dirt not only never hurt anyone, but it turns out a little dirt really helps everyone.