Pacifier or no pacifier?
April 13, 2015  |  Written by M. Rodrigo Brao

Pacifiers are good for babies. Among other things, it reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. As they grow however, it becomes a habit. Although doctors at the American Academy of Paediatrics as well as the American Academy of Family Physicians recommend limiting the use of pacifiers for babies 6 months and older, the majority of children do not let go until the are two. Habits aren´t easy to quit but it can be done. How and what can we do, as parents, to help them let go of their pacifier?

Many adults find it hard to understand this dependency but if we think about it, it´s not that strange. That little, apparently unsubstantial object, which is always by their side, ever since they´re born, comes to the rescue when they feel stressed or sad or just needs some help calming down.


A paradise for germs: Aside from producing mouth ulcers, by having it constantly rub up against the palate, pacifiers are responsible for middle ear infections or otitis, according to Marjo Niemelä, who explains it in this article at WebMD.

Teeth/Dental: Malformations are reversible if children stop using pacifiers before they are 3 years old. The Mayo Clinic, advises that: “prolonged pacifier use might cause a child’s teeth to be misaligned or not come in properly”.

Interferes in Speech: Some studies such as Boshart (2001) suggested that: “dental problems associated with prolonged pacifier sucking could lead to speech articulation problems such as distortion of the fricative and alveolar phonemes.”


Tricks to get them to stop

Doctors recommend removing their pacifier early on so children avoid generating a habit. But what if your children are a bit older? BabyCenter suggests the following:

Saying No: You are the parent and you have the power to get rid of it. Don´t let your children manipulate you. It´s best to think you´re doing it for their good and the sooner it´s done and over with, the better.

Yucky taste: There are people who apply bitter tasting nail polish in order to stop biting them, right? Well, that method can also help you help your children to give up on their pacifier. Ask your pharmacist what products are available for this purpose.

All grown up: Transmit the idea that grown up children do not use a pacifier and that he or she should donate theirs to little babies. This strategy could easily work if you have younger children.

Little by Little: Some children could have a fit if you just make their pacifier simply disappear. You are the person who knows best. So if you think it´s best to get rid of the pacifier, do it little by little. Maybe just letting them use it right before bedtime or in specific places such as their crib.

Losing it: This trick can help you. Next time you´re looking for his pacifier, stop. If it´s lost, it´s lost. After a while, you will become bored of looking for it and you´ll all slowly forget.

A Magical Being: The Three Kinds, the Pacifier Fairy, the Tooth Fairy… it doesn´t matter who it is. As long as your children understand that they must give it up in exchange for a “grown-up”, this will do the trick.

Reading a Book: Reading and storybook time is a wonderful moment to share and cultivate their love for books but it can also be used to read stories that can help them overcome change, in this case, let go of their pacifier. Try these books: The Binky Ba-ba Fairy, by Heather Knickerbocker-Silva or Baby’s Binky Box, by Jennifer Ormond.

How did you manage to get your kids to give up the pacifier?

Photo Credits: Neticola

Photo Credits: Donnie Ray Jones


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