Should you use a pacifier? Are pacifiers bad for your child? When does it become a problem? Let’s answer these common questions!
Sucking for comfort
Babies naturally crave comfort and sucking is one of the best ways to calm a fussy baby. However, some babies rely on sucking more than others. One baby may prefer a cuddle while another would soothe instantly when a pacifier is popped in. Nonetheless, some parents steer clear from the pacifier because they are afraid of it becoming a bad habit!
Pacifiers – the How-To guide from a paediatric dentist’s perspective
1. There’s nothing wrong with using a pacifier
Do not feel guilty if you have decided to use a pacifier! I used a pacifier with both my kids. It really helped me regain sanity during the early months where my first would wail for hours in the evening (the dreaded colic!) as it would help him fall asleep. My next child couldn’t care less for it. Find what suits your baby’s needs. The key is not to force it upon your child if he does not want it.
2. Over-usage of a pacifier should be avoided
Use the pacifier only when your baby is fussy or unsettled. Remove the pacifier from the mouth once possible. Having the pacifier in the mouth otherwise may create a greater habitual desire for it to be in the mouth all the time, whether happy or upset — this makes it harder to wean later on.
3. Wean off early – it’s easier for you and baby!
The longer your child is used to having a pacifier, the more he may become accustomed to it. Most babies start to self-wean and look for other ways to self-soothe as they grow older. In my experience, weaning off works easier around 1 years of age. The habit is not strongly established and there’s lots of new things to explore and distract them!
Can pacifiers hurt my child’s smile?
In general, prolonged use of the pacifier past 2 years old and beyond is more likely to affect your child’s smile. The front teeth can stick out and the jaws may be narrowed in from the sucking forces.
To sum it up, pacifiers can be a real life-saver for us parents but if used, be sure not to let the habit linger on for too long! Any questions? Feel free to ask – we may answer it in a subsequent post!
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