Our son has used a pacifier almost since birth, but we’re ready to get rid of them for good. Any tips for breaking a pretty strong paci habit?
Your son isn’t alone: nearly 70 percent of parents give their baby a pacifier before six weeks of age. For tips on giving the binky the old heave-ho without losing your sanity, take a peek at my widely-published article “Parting with the Pacifier.” And good luck!
Parting with the Pacifier: How to Break the Habit
Ready to help your child give up a pacifier? Here are some tips for navigating the tricky transition.
Whether they’re crystal clear, neon-bright, or covered in rhinestones, pacifiers are the modern baby’s accessory of choice. Thanks to studies showing that they reduce the incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), most pediatricians have given pacifiers the green light. A study in Pediatrics found that a whopping 68 percent of parents give them to their babies before six weeks of age.
Babies aren’t the only ones who love them; parents quickly become addicted to the pacifier’s soothing effects on their offspring. Unfortunately, it often becomes a habit that overstays its welcome.
While some children give up non-nutritive or comfort sucking on their own, others cling to the habit well into the preschool years. According to Lotus Su, D.D.S., of Pediatric Dental Associates, using a pacific too much or for too long can contribute to dental problems, including deformation the palate and shifting of the teeth, as well as mouth breathing and dry mouth, which may increase susceptibility to tooth decay.
Many doctors and dentists recommend ending the habit before permanent front teeth begin to emerge, which can happen before kindergarten. “I recommend stopping pacifier use by age three,” says Dr. Su.
“The earlier a pacifier habit is stopped, the less likely that there will be any dental problems.”
Potential problems extend beyond the teeth. Pacifier use is associated with otitis media, or middle ear infections. Minor health upsets like gastrointestinal infections and oral thrush are also more commonly seen in pacifier users.
Parents may be swayed by medical data and dentists’ recommendations, but kids often need some coaxing to give up the long-held habit. Guilt-inducing lectures about dental problems or germs may be counterproductive, causing them to dig in their heels.
Click here for the complete article (complete with six great tactics for ditching the paci!) at the website of Chesapeake Family magazine, where this article appeared.