Pacifiers – if you have raised a child, the question of using or not using pacifiers must have been debated in your home. I breastfed our three children and, when they were infants, they did use pacifiers. Like many parents, we wondered how long should we allow our child to use a pacifier and the biggest problem was how to wean them from wanting to use one.
In her June 2017 newsletter, Melanie Potock, MA, CCC-SLP, addressed the thorny questions about pacifiers in an article titled, Pacifiers! The Best Ones: How to Introduce and How to Say Bye-Bye! Melanie wrote:
“The American Dental Association recommends no pacifiers by age two. But me? I say 18 months. Honestly, it’s so much easier to help an 18 month old give up the pacifier than a 2 year old. Fisher-Price asked my thoughts on the matter, and you can read those here. You’ll find more ideas on pages 90 to 93 in “Raising a Healthy Happy Eater” for creative ways to break up with the binky. The Clip-on KidCompanions Chewelry and SentioCHEWS make great substitutes for pacifiers.
No matter what, be sure to give your child something else to chew on, like the safe and super-durable (and oh-so-cute) necklaces for boys or girls shown in this video ( see video and photos below). Want more ideas? Sign up for Mealtime Coaching! Sometimes parenting is overwhelming and I’m here to help you problem solve a variety of issues to help everyone enjoy family mealtimes. Parent Proactively – click here to choose your time to chat with me. I’m looking forward to it! Let’s talk! I’m here to help.”
When Kids Want to Chew on Sleeves & Collars – Here’s the Solutions!
Giving Up the Pacifier:
How and When to Do It
Jennifer Kelly Geddes has excellent suggestions on how to wean a child of his pacifier in her post titled Saying goodbye to the paci can be hard. Here’s help
Ms. Geddes writes, “If you’re the mom of a paci-lover, it’s a constant. Wondering when to say goodbye? Here’s what to know:
- Do it sooner During the first year of life, sucking on a pacifier has protective benefits-it may help reduce the risk of SIDS. But after 12 months, most experts agree that parents should begin to we an toddlers off the pacifier, says Eva Love, MD, a pediatrician at Cleveland Clinic Children’s. Aim to limit the paci by age 2 and ditch it by 4 years, says Love. “After this point, pacifier use can result in an overbite, open bite or cross bite-any of which can affect chewing, speech and appearance and require orthodontics to correct,” she notes.
- Introduce substitutes Your tot may already have a special blanket or stuffed toy that she loves, but if not, bring one on board. “Start with something soft like a plush blanket or a toy that vibrates, and provide others for your child to chew on,” says Potock. Chewing in toddler hood replaces the sucking your baby did when she was younger, but the input it provides to the brain is just as calming, she notes.
- Discuss ‘broken’ The world’s an imperfect place where even pacifiers breakdown and need to retire. “Talk to your child about the idea of objects being broken,” says Potock. For example, if you find something that’s no longer working, such as a toy or marker, you can say, ‘It’s broken and I can’t fix it, so we have to throw it away.’ Keep talking about ‘broken’ as you go about your day and then when you’re ready, cut off the end of the paci. When you show your child, you can say ‘It’s broken’ and then toss it out together. (Note that a broken pacifier isn’t safe to keep as it may pose a choking hazard.)
Check her complete post to learn more about her following parenting tips:
- Count it down You might consider the 3-day approach.
- Limit usage Another method is to allow it only in certain places or specific times, explains Love.
- Choose the ‘goodbye’ “Many parents recycle them, leave them for the ‘Binky fairy’ in exchange for a big kid gift or sew them inside a paci bear at home,” reports Love.
- Go cold turkey Yup, just like quickly ripping off a bandage, taking the pacifier away-and never looking back-is perfectly okay.
How to connect with Melanie Potock, MA CCC-SLP
- Tips On Helping Picky Eaters Try New Foods and Enjoy Mealtimes
- Interview Melanie Potock, Parenting Tips about Food and More from a Pediatric Feeding Specialist
- Review CD Dancing in the Kitchen
- See review of Happy Mealtimes with Happy Kids: How to Teach Your Child About the Joy of Food!
Books by Melanie Potock, MA CCC-SLP:
- Raising a Healthy, Happy Eater: A Parent’s Handbook: A Stage-by-Stage Guide to Setting Your Child on the Path to Adventurous Eating Paperback – Oct 20 2015 by Nimali Fernando and Melanie Potock
- Raising a Healthy, Happy Eater: A Parents Handbook: A Stage-by-Stage Guide to Setting Your Child on the Path to Adventurous Eating Audio CD – Audiobook, CD by Nimali Fernando MD MPH and Melanie Potock MA CCC-SLP
- Baby Self-Feeding: Solutions for Introducing Purees and Solids to Create Lifelong, Healthy Eating Habits Paperback – Jul 1 2016 by Nancy Ripton and Melanie Potock
- Happy Mealtimes with Happy Kids: How to Teach Your Child about the Joy of Food! Paperback – Jul 14 2014
by Malenie Potock
I’m considering giving up the pacifier early. Now my tod is 7 months old and I found at parental-love.com the three days method which basicly is limitating the time of use of the binky. But I can prolongate every step if it would be needed. It seems to be really calm and easy way to wean off the pacifier.
Hello Diana, I feel the age of weaning of a child from a pacifier depends on the child and his parents wishes. We often read that the use of a pacifier when kids get older is not good when the formation of the teeth is considered. All the best to you and yours in the new year!