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Help! My Child Loves Her Pacifier!

Dec 3, 2014

Baby with soother

Pacifiers. Oh, pacifiers. Parents frequently ask me about the dos, don’ts, and how to get rid ofs for their child’s beloved pacifier.  In the early years, pacifiers can be a great way to help soothe a fussy baby or get your little one to sleep. They offer a temporary distraction to your kiddo and are a perfectly acceptable calming tool. As your child continues to get older, he learns other ways to self soothe and doesn’t need a pacifier anymore. Prolonged use of a pacifier also has its cons such as altering the shape of the palate and position of the teeth. This typically happens to children who actively use a pacifier past 3 years of age. So if you are ready to get rid of the pacifier for your child, here are different suggestions to try!

  1. 1. Make it a special event: tell your little one that since he is no longer a baby, he no longer needs a pacifier… Have a special box ready for your little one to put all of his pacifiers in, and tell him that this box is going to the Pacifier Fairy for all the other babies in the world. Or, in coordination with your pediatric dentist, tell him that by mailing this box to Dr. Dentist, he’ll get a present in exchange! Both methods are a fun way to encourage your little one to give up his pacifier.
  2. 2. Cut the nipple off the pacifier: This method is particularly effective because by cutting off the nipple, your child will no longer be able to actively suck. One mom told me that after cutting the pacifier, her little one announced “Binky is broken!” and then no longer had any interest.
  3. 3. Wean your child off by limiting the pacifier to only nap-time or sleep time. Then gradually take the pacifier away all together. Going cold turkey is very effective as well!
  4. 4. Lastly, try not to wean your child off the pacifier when other life changes are taking place. If major transitions are going on at home or in the care setting, such as a move, a new sibling, or change in caregiver… these are not the best times to take the pacifier away.

For more helpful tips about the pacifier, check out this article from the MayoClinic.

© 2014 Dr. Jennifer Fountain, DDS.
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