Oral Health Buzz
How to Say Goodbye To Binky Bunny - Your Baby's Pacifier
Do you let your baby use a pacifier? Most parents allow their infant to use one at some point, so it certainly doesn't mean you're a bad mom or dad. But that cute little binky bunny can create some issues with your baby's teeth if it is used incorrectly. Let your baby calm himself with the pacificer, but then plan to wean your child at the right age to prevent dental problems.
When Should I Take Away the Pacifier?
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), a young infant can safely use a pacifier to help them fall asleep. In fact, the AAP recommends the use of a pacifier for babies one month and older to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). But that doesn't mean you should use the pacifier all the time.
Potential complications of long-term pacifier use include issues with breastfeeding, ear infections and misaligned teeth. These problems often present themselves after your child is two years of age, but mainly after four years, according to the AAFP. Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the AAFP recommend that parents begins weaning their child when the baby is 6-12 months old.
How to Take Away The Pacifier
Your baby uses a pacifier to comfort himself. But sometimes parents give a baby a pacifier to avoid embarrassing crying fits in public. In effect, the binky is pacifying mom or dad. The first step to weaning your baby is to evaluate which occasions the binky should be used in and where it should be limited like in public settings.
As your child adjusts to using the pacifier less during the day, it becomes easier to remove it at night. But you should still plan to make the transition to pacifier-free nights over a period of 3-7 days. Begin to build a nighttime routine that includes other sources of comfort. A warm bath, cuddle time with mom or dad and a bedtime story will all help your young child drift off to sleep without the pacifier.
As a last resort, some parents develop characters to help their child learn to live without their binky. Get creative if you need to and develop a story to engage your child's imagination. The tooth fairy, a big bunny or other familiar characters can come take away the binky to help your child become more grown-up. Or consider a reward system that each time the pacifier is not used your child is rewarded with a star which can be converted into a gift they would like to receive.
Learn more about pacifier use at Colgate Oral Care resources.