Is it time to throw away the pacifier? Find out when to use a baby pacifier.
When babies are born one of the first things we give them are pacifiers. Giving a pacifier to a baby can be very helpful and useful those first few days, weeks and months. Pacifiers can be a lifesaver. You should also know the pros of using a pacifier. The advantages stop once your baby is a few months old. Learn pacifier pros and cons. Reasons why you should throw away pacifiers early on.
The Pacifier Debate
Any time you talk to parents about a pacifier you typically are going to get strong options. The pacifier debate is something that has gone on for decades. Though, there is proven reasons why the pacifier is helpful to your child and then reasons when it turns to hurt your child.
I should mention that sometimes doctors or lactation specialist recommend waiting to introduce the pacifier if you are excessively breastfeeding. They say to wait a few weeks until the baby knows how to nurse before introducing a pacifier. Some people feel that it can cause nipple/ breast confusion. This is due to the fact that the nipple and pacifier are a different shape. If you are having any trouble producing milk or your child latching you should wait a few weeks before introducing a pacifier. (I did breastfeed and gave the pacifier right away. Luckily, I had no trouble.)
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The Best pacifier to use
These are rated the best pacifiers for newborns and babies.
The First Year’s Gum Drop Pacifier
Best for breastfeed babies. These pacifiers have a scoop front to stay under babies nose.
Philips Avent Soothie Pacifier
These are made out of hard, hospital silicone. Has a large round face so may get in the way of the babies nose.
WubbaNub Brown Puppy Pacifier
Typically comes with the attached stuffed animal.
Bibs Natural Rubber Pacifier
Made of natural rubber which is supposed to mimic the feel of a breast. It has a rounded tip as well.
Natursutten Natural Rubber Pacifier
This has a smaller, rounded nipple. It’s one piece without a shield.
MAM Clear Orthodontic Pacifier
Helps protect your babies jaw as it develops. The shield has a large button to hold to help put the pacifier in and out of their mouths. This is hard to attach to pacifier clips.
Philips Avent Orthodontic Pacifier
This has a larger nipple that can be beneficial to babies that have a tongue tie.
Playtex Binky Silicone Pacifier
This is also shaped more like a moms nipple. It has a short nipple which helps for those babies that gag on larger nipples.
We used the pacifier that was given to us in the hospital. Those are the Philips Avent Pacifier. To be honest, we didn’t try others to see what worked, that was the only we used. After a few months old we stopped using a pacifier completely. If you continue to use a pacifier as your child gets older you may have to switch from the one you started with.
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These are easy to attach to babies clothing so the pacifier doesn’t fall to the floor.
You can choose the animal of your choice to hold your babies pacifier. The stuffed animals are easy for babies to hold onto.
These are little cases that hold the pacifier so it’s easy to throw into the diaper bag. They remind me of when I used to have a retainer.
Latex vs. silicone:
You’ll probably want to pick a silicone pacifier because it’s sturdier, longer-lasting and doesn’t retain odors. It is also top-rack dishwasher safe.
Latex is softer and more flexible but wears out sooner. The babies’ teeth can also bite through it.
TIP: After you choose a pacifier or your baby chooses one they like I’d advise having at least 4 in the house. This will help you to not run around the house when you want to use the pacifier. If you have a crying baby you want something close that will help soothe them. Also, if your child gets used to a specific kind and then loses it they won’t be happy with a new pacifier. You can keep one downstairs, one in the bedroom, one in the diaper bag and one in the loving room.
- Soothe babies when not hungry
Your baby might be fussy, or uncomfortable but that doesn’t mean hungry. Using a pacifier can help see if your baby wants to suck or if they are actually hungry.
- For preemies, it helps with learning early sucking patterns
Preemie sucking patterns are not always present early on. Using a pacifier can help them develop this skill.
- Easy and convenient
Pacifiers are small and you can throw into any bag or diaper bag. You can bring 2 or 3 with you when you go out.
- Helps with travel
If you are traveling to see family or on a little vacation, the use of a pacifier on a plane can help. As they use a pacifier it can help their ears pop so they don’t feel pain and cry.
- Reduces thumb or finger sucking
It’s easier to break the habit of using a pacifier than it is thumb sucking. You can’t take away their thumbs.
- It can reduce the risk of SIDS
SIDS stands for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. By sucking on a pacifier at night during the early months, it prevents babies from falling into a deep, heavy sleep and then can help reduce the risk of SIDS. This is not something that is proven but has a strong correlation. ( Having a strong correlation was reason enough for me to use it when my child was an infant. Anything I could do to prevent SIDS I would.)
Since babies are born with a need to suck it’s good to use a pacifier early on. It can be a great thing. When your home with your new little baby and they are fussing, but you just feed them, using a pacifier can be a lifesaver. You are trying to get your baby to sleep a little bit more, using the pacifier comes to the rescue. All the pros of using a pacifier are for infants and babies under 6 months. After a few months, these benefits are no longer there. At 6-8 months if you are still using the pacifier, the best plan is to only use the pacifier in bed for naptime or bedtime. Then it will be associated with sleep instead of using it all day.
Pacifier Cons with prolonged use after age 1
- Increase the chance of ear infections
- Increase dental problems
The most common problems are misaligned teeth and changes in the roof of the mouth. It’s common that children develop a gap between the top and bottom teeth.
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- Delayed language development.
When a toddler has a binky in their mouths during the day they are less likely to make sounds and words to communicate. It can affect socialize time.
- Becomes dependant on using a binky
Your baby may want to use the pacifier all the time. They want the pacifier when they are moving around, playing and sleeping. When your child is sleeping they wake up every time the pacifier falls out of their mouth. You then have to get up and place the pacifier back in their mouth to go back to sleep. You are not sleeping and neither is your baby. Getting up every half hour is not helping anyone.
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8 Tips for weaning your child off the pacifier
The earlier you start, the easier it will be. As your child gets older they get more attached and habits form. If you get rid of the pacifier before their 1st birthday, you won’t experience the problems listed above. You will also have an easier time getting rid of the pacifier at 9 months then you will at 2 1/12.
Whichever method you choose for your family, be consistent. Don’t go back on what you said or what you started to put into effect. Children learn very quickly how they can get what they want.
- Cold Turkey
Pacifier weaning cold turkey is when you get rid of everyone in the house and are no longer giving them to your child. It’s not used during the day or night, it’s no longer used.
- Family and caregivers on the same page
When you make the decision to start to wean or remove the pacifier make sure everyone is on the same page. If Dad comes home from work and gives the pacifier or Grandma comes over and gives it to them then the child knows that they can still have the pacifier. You don’t want to send mixed signals to your child. This will make it that much harder to reach the goal of no pacifier.
- Something new for comfort
You could get a new stuffed animal or new blanket that they would have in bed. If your child is past 1 years old, they can have a blanket or stuffed animal in bed.
- Slow Weaning
Hopefully, your baby is only using the pacifier in bed for naptime or bedtime. If you haven’t started that yet, start now. Slowly start to only give the pacifier for bedtime. Don’t give them when you are out of the house or when the baby is crawling/walking around.
These other strategies are all part of slow weaning.
- Give them away
You can tell your child you are giving them away to other babies that need it. For this, you can do a few different things. If you are close to Easter of Christmas they can leave all their binkies for the Easter Bunny or Santa. Some kids like the idea of leaving the binkies for the Easter Bunny or Santa. Doing this also allows the child to be in some control.
Your child can also give them away to other babies in the family. This only works if the baby doesn’t live in the same house. It doesn’t work with a sibling cause then the child still sees their binky in the house and they want it.
- Binky Fairy
This is along the lines of the Easter Bunny or Santa but it’s a new magical being just for binkies and pacifiers. You can start talking about the binky fairy and that there only job is to come to get pacifiers when you are too old for them. If you leave the pacifiers the Binky Fairy will leave a special gift in return.
- Set a Countdown
You can have a chart or calendar up and pick a day a few weeks away. Mark the date with stickers. Prepare your child that they will get rid of the pacifier by that date.
- Change the desire they get
Many parents have had success with cutting tips off the pacifier. This then changes the benefit they get.
When to stop Pacifier use with your little one?
The younger your child is the easier it will be to get rid of the pacifier. Once your child is past 9-11 months they develop an attachment to a binky. They have an emotional attachment and will be much harder to get rid of it. Once you have a toddler they will protest and possibly fight giving up a pacifier. That is why you always hear parents ask “How do I get my child to stop using a binky?” This is a common question among parents.
Using a pacifier in the first few months of your baby’s life can be really helpful. Babies have a need to suck and using a pacifier can help soothe them. If you stop using the pacifier early on you will avoid any of the problems associated with pacifier use.
I breastfeed and used a pacifier with my kids. I stopped using the pacifier by 7 months. At that point, it wasn’t hard to get rid of the pacifier. When my kids turned 1 they got a stuffed animal to sleep with.
I would love to hear which strategy worked best for your little one. Comment below and share.
Pacifier Pros and Cons to help know when to use them and when to throw them out.
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