Pacifiers and babies go together like chew toys and puppies.
Though pacifiers (and eventually thumbsucking) provide a natural source of comfort for a child, prolonged use can have negative affects on a growing smile after the age of 3.
To wean your child from their sucking habit, it’s best to begin before he or she reaches 24 months. Here are 3 suggestions to help:
1. Address the stress.
If your child resorts to sucking when they become stress, understand why your baby is upset first before handing them a pacifier. Are they tired, hungry or bored? Addressing the cause may help alleviate their need to suck.
2. Find a substitute.
Instead of a pacifier, try giving your child a silk-lined blanket or stuffed animal during naps or when they’re upset. You can also use a toy as a distraction by placing it in your little one’s hand to keep their thumb out of their mouth.
3. Limit use.
Reduce pacifier use to nap time and before bed, and gradually decrease it from there.
Visit your dentist or pediatrician for more advice about how you can gradually phase out the habit. Find a provider near you!