How Long Should a Baby Use a Pacifier?
Did you know that pacifiers have been used all over the world since the 1600s? Through the years, their use has continued to grow and now pacifiers are a common part of almost every child’s life. Since children love their pacifiers, many parents wonder how long they can be used before they pose a problem. Find out when it’s time for your child to pass on the pacifier.
The Purpose of Pacifiers
Pacifiers were created to “pacify” a child between feedings and to relax them enough to go to sleep. While pacifiers are loved by both children and parents for their soothing powers, your pediatric dentist may also encourage pacifier use as a replacement for thumb sucking because a pacifier is easier to take away. Another reason to approve of pacifiers is that research has linked pacifier use to a lower risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in children less than one year of age. And thanks to national safety guidelines, pacifiers are safe to use because they’re required to be tested and meet high safety standards before they appear in stores.
Of course, talk to your pediatric dentist or pediatric dental clinic staff about pacifier use for your child. If you don’t have an affordable kids dentist, ask your pediatrician or friends to recommend a pediatric dentist in Florida, Maryland and Virginia.
The Time to Take away the Pacifier
Studies suggest that pacifiers do not cause permanent dental damage or speech problems if they’re only used until age three. But your pediatric dentist in Florida, Maryland and Virginia will warn you that longer-term use can affect your child’s dental development and may impair their speech. That’s why your child must give up their pacifier no later than their third birthday. It’s the only way to save your child from developing later problems and the need for extensive treatments from an affordable kids dentist.
Bidding Bye-Bye to the Pacifier
It can be very difficult to take away the pacifier because your child has learned to depend on it and may need it to relax. For ideas on halting the habit, ask your pediatric dental clinic for some tried-and-true tactics. And try these proven tips from parents on taking it away:
- Gradually wean your child off the pacifier by only allowing it at naptime and bedtime instead of all day long. Continue to cut back on use until it’s no longer needed.
- Help the child feel more in control of the issue by explaining in advance that the pacifier will be taken away in a certain number of days. At that time, remove all pacifiers from the house, no matter how much it upsets the child.
- Have your child take part in the pacifier’s send-off by getting them to decorate a small box or bag that the pacifier will be placed in when it’s thrown away.
- Try introducing other ways to relax your child, such as a warm bath or gentle rocking.