Pacifiers and your toddler

Pacifiers and your toddler

We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

My toddler is still very attached to his pacifier. Should I be concerned?

Many children use a pacifier to soothe and calm themselves well into their toddler and even preschool years. A pacifier might also serve as something experts call a transitional object – that is, something that relieves stress and helps your child adjust to new or challenging situations, like starting daycare or taking a long car ride.

While there's no need to banish the binky when your baby steps into toddlerhood, there are some good reasons to start coaxing him to give it up soon. If your toddler seems prone to ear infections, for example, losing his pacifier might provide some relief. One study showed that children who did not use pacifiers had a 33 percent lower incidence of middle ear infections.

If your toddler seems to be developing speech and language problems, a pacifier won't help matters. That's because sucking on a pacifier locks a child's mouth in an unnatural position, making it more difficult for him to develop his tongue and lip muscles normally, says Patricia Hamaguchi, a speech-language pathologist from Cupertino, California, and author of Childhood, Speech, Language, and Listening Problems: What Every Parent Should Know.

If your child is just learning to speak, talking around a pacifier may also limit his opportunities to talk, distort his speech, and cause his tongue to unnaturally flatten at rest, says Hamaguchi. In some cases, using a pacifier frequently can cause the tongue to push forward between the teeth. This sets the stage for dental problems and the development of a "lisp" when producing the s and z sounds.

For these reasons, Hamaguchi recommends limiting your toddler's pacifier time as much as possible. At the very least, she says, be sure to use a newborn size, which is smaller and softer and less apt to impact your child's speech. By 18 months, in her opinion, it's best to lose the pacifier altogether.

For help, see ten ways to help your child give up the pacifier.

Other experts – and many parents – take a more leisurely approach, suggesting that if a child needs to suck and you take away his pacifier, he'll substitute his fingers (or even his shirt collar) anyway!

Will using a pacifier affect my child's teeth?

While children with prolonged and constant sucking habits (whether on a finger or a pacifier) may have problems with their upper front teeth coming in properly, pediatric dentists suggest that for most children pacifier use won't cause any dental problems until the permanent teeth come in – usually around age 4 to 6. Still, it's a good idea to tell your child's dentist that your toddler uses a pacifier so that she can check his teeth and jaw to make certain that everything is fine.

What's the best way to get my toddler to give up his pacifier?

Ideally, your toddler will soon be ready to discard his binky on his own. His need to suck is continuing to diminish, and he can soon learn other ways to cope effectively.

To help him along, you might try to anticipate times when your toddler will want his pacifier and provide a substitute. If he tends to suck on his pacifier when he's bored, plan ahead and offer him a more interesting activity. If you're waiting in line at the post office, for example, give him a book to page through or make funny faces at him instead of handing him his pacifier.

If your toddler tends to pop in his binky when he's feeling insecure or worried, help him put his emotions into words. Ask him questions to find out what's going on, and reassure him with hugs and kisses.

To curb your toddler's reliance on his pacifier, praise him when he manages to go without one. You might also limit his pacifier use to nighttime and naptime, telling him, "We're going to stop taking your pacifier with us to daycare and out on errands but keep it for private times."

When you're ready to phase it out completely, and if your toddler is old enough to grasp this concept, try using a calendar to keep track of pacifier-free days, and reward your toddler with a gold sticker or an extra half-hour of reading before bed. You could also promise your child a reward, such as a special outing or cookie-baking time, when he amasses a week's worth of stars.

Your child's dentist might also encourage and support your little one in his efforts to give up the pacifier. Some dentists even have a place for children to drop off their pacifiers and get a toy (or a toothbrush!) in return. And some parents have had success calling on the services of a "Binky Fairy," who takes away all the pacifiers during the night and leaves a present in their place!

For more ideas, see Ten Ways to Help Kids Give Up the Pacifier.

Caring for the pacifier

Until your toddler does give it up, be diligent about taking care of the pacifier: Rinse it off thoroughly whenever your toddler drops it and, at least once a day, wash it in hot, soapy water and rinse it well. (Soaking it for a few minutes once a day in a half-and-half solution of white vinegar and water will help prevent the growth of fungus. Rinse well and air-dry.) Teach your toddler not to share his pacifier with his playmates.

When you clean the pacifier, inspect it to make sure the nipple is firmly attached and isn't deteriorating. Replace it as soon as it begins to show signs of wear. (A nipple that pops off or breaks can pose a choking hazard.)

Watch the video: Bye Bye Pacifier! How to Get Rid of the Pacifier. Tips for Toddlers (July 2022).


  1. Cenehard

    This was and with me. We can communicate on this topic.

  2. Sceadu

    Bravo, the magnificent phrase and it is timely

  3. Nashakar

    It's the shame!

  4. Raymil

    I love everything

  5. Zulkizshura

    If I were you, I would turn to search engines for help.

  6. Jarron

    Cool, I liked it

Write a message