Despite the fact that the New York City health department recently started a subway ad campaign warning parents NOT to suck their baby’s pacifier clean, new research shows that spreading germs to your baby may be beneficial.

According to the New York Times, a new study shows that:

[I]nfants whose parents sucked on their pacifiers to clean them developed fewer allergies than children whose parents typically rinsed or boiled them.

Read the complete New York Times article here.

Depriving kids of germs might backfire.

Some exposure to germs at an early age is good for kids. It helps the immune system develop a tolerance to trivial threats.

As a result, babies whose parents sucked on their pacifiers had blood tests that showed lower levels of a type of immune cell associated with allergies.

This sounds a lot like the new advice regarding food allergies.

Early exposure is better than delayed exposure. Read Peanuts, Eggs and Shellfish Before One and Don’t Wait to Introduce Fish For Dinner.

To me, both these findings suggest that focusing too narrowly on germs or allergens produces unintended consequences the same way focusing too narrowly on nutrients produces unintended consequences.

You have to look at the big picture — always.

~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~