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Pacifiers have a lot of great benefits. They can help soothe a baby, strengthen your child’s oral motor development and according to the American Academy of Pediatrics or AAP, the use of pacifiers under the age of one may help reduce the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). With that being said, families can sometimes rely on pacifiers to keep their child “content” when they aren’t even upset and it can turn into a learned behavior of just having it when their child might not necessarily need it. So what does that mean for you? In this post, we are going to discuss when should pacifiers be used, what products are recommended to be used and to be avoided, and how to transition your child off of the pacifier if needed.
As of today, lactation consultants and many pediatricians are recommending to try to avoid the use of pacifiers during the first month of your baby’s life if you are nursing in order to avoid nipple confusion.
Whenever you decide to introduce the pacifier to your newborn, I recommend using pacifiers for sleep times only. If the child, regardless of how old they are, has something blocking their mouth during wake times, that limits their ability to produce sounds, babbles, and words which can eventually lead to a speech delay. In addition, excess pacifier use in children over the age of one, has been linked to increased ear infections as well and dental issues.
I personally liked Avent. What I liked about them:
The main pacifiers I recommend to avoid using are the Wubbanubs.
Yes they are cute, soft and fuzzy. But let’s break it down.
At the end of the day, you know your child best. Personally, I stopped my son’s pacifier use at the age of one. I did not see the benefit of him having it any more. My son was sleep trained, he was at a reduced risk of SIDS at 12 months old, and I wanted to remove it as an additional sleep prop. So in my opinion there wasn’t really a need or benefit to continue it over the age of 12 months.
You have a couple of different options:
How it works:
How it works:
Why is this approach recommended for children over the age of 18 months:
This specific approach is recommended for children over the age of 18 months because they are more likely to understand this concept.
How it works:
This method works as it sounds. You remove the pacifier suddenly without any transition of decreased use. No more pacifiers during nap or bedtime.
You can read books such as Pacifiers Are Not Forever as a part of story time to start talking about the decreased usage of your child’s pacifier.
The pacifier “fairy” can come to your child’s room in the middle of the night and remove all of the pacifiers and instead leave a note explaining, in child’s terms, that they are a big kid now and that they won’t be using the pacifier any more. The “fairy” can leave some goodies or surprises to help make this a smooth transition.
Whatever pacifier you decide to use, I encourage you to research different options. It’s okay to purchase a couple of different brands to see what works best for you and your baby. Always remember to consult with your pediatrician, and try to use pacifiers during sleep periods only.
Whatever method you decide to use when removing the pacifier, keep in mind that consistently is KEY. The more consistent you are, the more consistent your child will be. Once the pacifier is removed completely, I strongly encourage you to not go back to it. Yes it might be a “quick fix” in the moment if your child is having a tantrum, however it will only make it harder on you and your child in the long run.
Most importantly, remember that there is always going to be a variety of information out there so trust what you know about your child’s needs.