Child Development Tips: When to Stop Pacifier Use

Did you know that more than 140 million babies worldwide are born every year? When you have a baby of your very own, a pacifier can help keep your child calm. But there will come a time when you will need to know when to stop pacifier use. 

This is because the longer a child uses a pacifier, the more likely that pacifier is going to cause problems regarding your child’s health. So, at what baby development stage should you stop your child from using a pacifier and how should you go about taking the pacifier away in the first place? Keep reading and learn all about the details below.

When to Stop Pacifier Use

It is best to stop giving your child a pacifier before they are 9 months of age. After 9 months, your child will start to become emotionally attached to the pacifier. He might even become reliant on the pacifier to calm him down in times of stress.

This, of course, will make it quite difficult to wean your child off of the pacifier. Besides that, using a pacifier beyond two years of age or so can cause all sorts of problems with your child. For example, if your child has been sucking on a pacifier for years, your child might start to develop dental problems. 

Many children who often suck on pacifiers end up with crooked front teeth or front teeth with wide spaces between them. More than that, overusing a pacifier can cause a child’s jaw bones to become deformed. In particular, the roof of your child’s mouth will start to develop to accommodate the shape of the pacifier (find out more here).

This, of course, is not ideal because once the bone’s in your child’s jaw start to form in this way, it will be nearly impossible to reverse the problem. This is not to mention that children who use pacifiers for several years are also more prone to ear infections. 

What You Need to Know

Some parents allow their children to use pacifiers until they are two, three, or even four years old. However, most doctors recommend that you shouldn’t let your child use a pacifier for more than a year. Taking away your child’s pacifier at this stage or before will prevent any of the above-mentioned problems from happening. 

Of course, if your child has already been using a pacifier for a year or two, don’t think that it’s the end of the world. However, the longer you allow your child to hold onto the pacifier, the harder it will be to take the pacifier away. Your child will be more attached to the object and more reluctant to give it up. 

The last thing you want to do is fight with your toddler over a pacifier. There are a few ways in which you can wean your child off of the pacifier without too much of an issue. 

How to Get Your Child to Stop Using a Pacifier

You could easily tell your child, “No more pacifiers!” but how effective would that be in reality? Interestingly enough, communicating with your child is one of the best ways you can take a pacifier away. Of course, this will only work if your child is already old enough to understand at least part of what you’re trying to say. 

If your child is a year old or so, you might not get very far when it comes to verbal communication. There are also some non-verbal methods that you can try. A very effective method is to start limiting the time your child has with the pacifier. 

If your child often holds onto the pacifier throughout the day, it is best to start by only allowing your child to have it during the daytime, for example. Doing this slowly is best because that way, your child won’t notice that the pacifier is going away. Little by little, try to reduce the amount of time that your child has the pacifier. 

Eventually, your child will only have it for an hour or so until you can finally take the pacifier away completely. Another helpful method is to replace the pacifier with another comforting object. Remember that children often like pacifiers because they are calming. 

Other Methods to Try 

If you try to take the pacifier away without a replacement, your child might feel hopelessly lost, stressed, and afraid. However, by substituting another comforting object such as a stuffed animal or a cozy blanket, your child should be able to adapt to the change in a much easier fashion. A teddy bear, for example, should be able to provide your child with a similar level of comfort without the risk of your child developing dental problems or ear infections. 

Finally, a very easy method to deter your child from using a pacifier is to cover the object with something unappealing. For example, most young children don’t like the taste of lemon juice. If you dip the pacifier in lemon juice and then give it to your child, your child won’t be satisfied with the result. 

Keep in mind that lemon juice is harmless to children. It is simply its acidic properties that make it unappealing to most children. 

Taking Away Your Child’s Pacifier

When to stop pacifier use is not a difficult inquiry to crack. It is best to stop pacifier use around one year of age, if not beforehand. If you let your child use a pacifier for longer than that, there is a chance that your child could develop dental problems or ear infections. 

To learn more, don’t hesitate to explore the other blogs on our website. 

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