Pacifiers weren’t on your baby registry, but you got a few dozen of them anyway. Hmmm. It looks like your mom friends might know something you don’t. You’re a first-time mom, and these friends are more than willing to share their wealth of parenting advice and knowledge with you. So, listen up: Even though you might see a pacifier (or binky) as a piece of pretty plastic, this old-school gadget could be more useful than you can imagine. Read on for six ways a paci can help your little one (and you too), plus one potential drawback.

1. They may reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, is scary. Seriously. It probably takes the top spot on your list of worst new-mom nightmares. So, you’re all about doing anything you can to prevent it. Did you know that your kid’s binky can help do just that? Pacifier use has been associated with a reduced risk of SIDS. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends offering infants a pacifier during nap and bedtimes to cut down on this risk.

2. They’re soothing. Your baby is super fussy. She’s crying, she’s whining, and you need a break (and so does she). The gentle sucking motion that the pacifier provides can help soothe and calm your little one, often when nothing else seems to work.

3. They can help induce sleep. If you have a fussy little one who’s struggling to fall asleep, a paci may be the key to getting a good night’s rest. Aside from the health benefits, a pacifier may help your little one calm down and drift off into dreamland.

4. They may satisfy her cravings. Imagine what would happen if you fed your baby constantly. She craves that sucking motion, but a never-ending bottle will leave her feeling super full. Hey, we’re not saying you should restrict your infant from eating. No way. It’s just that a 24/7 approach to eating won’t do. Instead, the paci is a food-free way to satisfy the urge to suck.

5. They’re an inexpensive fix. There isn’t exactly a lack of baby gear dedicated to soothing fussy kids. Some of it can get pretty pricey. So, when something comes along that costs nearly nothing (in comparison to other soothing items), you’re ready to grab it up. Hey, that item is a binky! When your baby tosses hers into that magical car crevice from which it can never be retrieved, you won’t stress. You’ll just pull another one out of the inexpensive multi-pack.

6. They will keep you sane. In a perfect world, you’d have the magic touch. Your baby would cry, you’d pick her up, and suddenly — poof! — no more tears. But, that doesn’t always happen. (Or, maybe that almost never happens.) A paci can change all of this for you. Call it mother’s little helper, your “I just need quiet for 10 seconds” saver, or whatever you want. Your sanity will thank you.

7. They could interfere with breastfeeding. The nipple? The paci? The nipple? The paci? Oh, your baby is confused. Giving your little one a binky when she starts breastfeeding may make nursing much more of a challenge — at least, that’s what everyone seems to be saying. But that doesn’t mean you should pull the plug, literally. The AAP suggests waiting until your baby is three to four weeks old before handing her a binky.

How long is too long to use a binky? Share your answer and tweet us @BritandCo!

(Photo via Getty)