Pacifiers are quite popular among most babies and toddlers. It is rare for a baby not to adapt to the use of a pacifier because most babies find comfort in the sucking of a pacifier. Many parents struggle with weaning their child off of the pacifier and though parents should take the pacifier away around the 12 month mark, many allow pacifier use into the preschool years. When parents allow their child to keep the pacifier longer than they should, it can cause more problems in the long run. Since most children start to use some form of speech by the age of 1, that is the best time to wean them off of pacifiers. If not, he or she will be less likely to practice speaking and babbling. It can also “distort” the child’s speech. As the child gets older, he or she will rely on the pacifier to soothe fears and relieve stress, which is why many toddlers are seen sucking on pacifiers in preschool. They are nervous and stressed out about being in a new environment so they find comfort in their pacifiers. Some experts believe this is fine until they find new ways to cope with stress. Others believe it’s a detriment.
Jolly Fun House Playschools believe it is fine for babies to use pacifiers as long as they are not using them for too long. They believe that at about the 1 age mark, parents should start the transition to not relying on the pacifier any longer. It may be tough at first, but in a short time, it will be worth it. Your child will not be scarred for having to give up their “binky.” It will help them become more independent in many other ways.
Children who are weaned off the pacifier around 1 year of age have a less chance of forming a lisp, since the tongue will not be constantly pushed against the front teeth. Your child will learn to sleep on their own without the need of the sucking motion from a pacifier. You and your child will also not be woken up in the middle of the night if they lose the pacifier and wake up crying for it.
Believe it or not, your child will develop LESS ear infections if you wean them off the pacifier earlier than later. Studies have shown that children who don’t use pacifiers had 33% less ear infections than children who used pacifiers.
If your child is still sucking on a pacifier between the ages of 4 and 6, they can develop severe dental problems. They can develop an overbite or pushed out teeth due to the constant sucking and pushing the tongue against the front teeth.
Start to lessen the usage of the pacifier by only permitting your child to use it during the daytime. Then eliminate daytime use by taking the pacifier away for a couple hours at a time each day, then four hours, and so on. Stop nighttime use of the pacifier during this time so the child can learn to fall asleep on his or her own. It may be hard at first but your child will adjust sooner than you think. Try replacing the binky with story time and your child will get sleepy just from being read to softly. Don’t give up-the results are worth it…and so is your child’s development!