When you discover the miraculous effect that a pacifier can have on your baby, you might feel like you’ve found the solution to all of life’s problems. That is, until you realise that this ever-present dummy comes with a price on your child’s oral hygiene. In addition, the prolonged use of a pacifier could give your child inner-ear infections.
When to Stop Using a Pacifier
Your child should be ready to start using a dummy around his or her 1-month birthday. However, they should stop using them by age 2. Before that time, any alignment problem with the teeth or the developing bone can be corrected within a 6 month period. However, if your baby continues to use a pacifier, this can create problems. The mouth may not grow properly and the teeth might align incorrectly, affecting the way your child bites. It can even cause changes in the shape of the roof of the mouth and lead to long-term dribbling, causing your child to breathe prominently from their mouth.
Here are some steps to take to help wean your child from their pacifier.
Take the Dummy Away Early
The best times to take the dummy away from your baby are between 3 and 8 months. At this time, your baby has yet to develop too much of a dependence on the comfort of the pacifier, and they are also too young to remember needing it. In addition, if you take the dummy away early enough, you will only have to deal with a fussy baby and not one who can express his or her displeasure in words.
Add Some Unwanted Flavour
Similar to a traditional way of getting your child to stop breastfeeding or stop biting their nails, adding a safe to eat but bad tasting substance to the nipple of the dummy might make your child want to stop sucking on it.
It’s a Slow Process
While some parents might decide to take it away cold turkey, if your child already has a bit of a dependence on their dummy, you might need to take some baby steps. The first step would be to restrict dummy time to right before bed or just restrict it to certain locations, like their crib. You’ll give it to them less and less, which might be frustrating at first, but soon your child will grow accustomed to not having it all the time.
Give Them to the Dummy Fairy
If you gradually introduce rhetoric to your child that dummies are for babies and big girls and boys don’t need them, the introduction of the Dummy Fairy will be a perfect way to get your child to give up their pacifiers on their own. You can tell them that the Dummy Fairy will give them any toy they want if they put all of their pacifiers under their pillow, or even offer cash, a la Tooth Fairy.
Once you’ve reached the stage where your baby no longer needs his or her pacifier, it’s probably time to start thinking about their dental care.