If you think your kid is going to be taking their pacifier off to college with them, think again!
Most children give up their pacifiers before they are three years old. As children grow older, peer pressure becomes more of a factor and may actually be all the incentive a child needs to let go of their treasured pacifier. Dentist state that it’s only a problem when their big kid teeth come in. So it’s a no-no to let any child use a pacifier after they’re big teeth appear, which is around age five.
Why They’re Beneficial
A pacifier provides a serene state of calm for infants and young children. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that pacifier use can actually prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) because sucking on a pacifier forces the airway to stay open. Pacifier use is now recommended at naptime and bedtime throughout the first year of life.
A Binky, or pacifier, is also a transitional object that helps relieve stress as children adjust to new situations.
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s Policy on Oral Habits, thumb sucking or the sucking on pacifiers is normal in infants and young children.
When It’s Time to Say Goodbye
With my first son, I took the pacifier away when he was nine months old, but he had a very calm temperament. However, I now have a two and a half-year-old who still has his pacifier. He has a very high-energy temperament and is not easy to console, but once he has his soft blanky and pacifier he immediately calms down. What mom doesn’t need that kind of help every now and then?
If you are concerned about prolonged pacifier use and your child is three years old or older, here are tips on how to slowly decrease pacifier dependency:
- When giving your baby a pacifier always pair it with a satin trimmed blanket or stuffed animal, so that when they give up the pacifier, they still have other comfort objects.
- Limit the use of pacifiers to the bed and car only.
- Work out a deal with your child that the pacifier cannot travel or leave the house.
- Cut one millimeter off the tip of every pacifier in the house. When he discovers the broken pacifier, do not replace it. Instead, simply explain that it’s broken. Most toddlers will decide on their own that they no longer want the pacifier.
- Have a party to give the pacifier away to a new baby.
- Sew it into a favorite stuffed animal.
- Tie it to balloons and have a launching ceremony (tell them the balloons will take it to newborn baby who needs it now.