Pacifiers offer comfort and help to reduce stress in infants. Many parents wonder when it is appropriate to wean their child off the pacifier. If a pacifier is not taken away at a certain age it can cause serious issues with a child’s teeth, mouth, and jaw. At Steel City Pediatrics, we support our patients and parents and know weaning a child from the pacifier is hard. As much as the pacifier is needed in the early stages of life, it is just as important to take it away, so your child does not develop any issues in the future.
The pacifier helps to soothe a child, and the sucking reflex is natural when they are born. The ideal time for a child to stop using a pacifier is between the ages of two and four. If a child continues to use their pacifier beyond this age range, they may develop jaw or bite complications.
Children who have used a pacifier tend to develop an over bite, and may have issues with their teeth erupting. Orthodontics may be needed to correct difficult issues caused by pacifier sucking. As your child gets older, breaking their habit becomes more difficult. Early intervention is important to prevent more serious issues as they grow older.
Each situation and child are different, and we recommend you do what is best for your child. The method used can be instant or gradual, and we can help by recommending behavior modifications to assist in the process. Timing is key, and parents should consider what the child has going on at the moment while weaning them off the pacifier. Finding new ways to comfort your child through the weaning process is important and giving incentives can help. Positive reinforcement works best and always avoid negative behavior during the process.
If you are interested in finding out more about pacifier weaning, or to schedule an appointment for your child, Contact Steel City Pediatrics, and our friendly staff will be happy to assist you.