Little ones have a natural need to suckle from the time they are born, as this helps to promote feeding. This seemingly innocent desire to suck is also calming to a baby and therefore, the pacifier is a common remedy for an upset infant. As your baby grows, the pacifier can become one of the most important items you have in tow when you are out of the house because it can be pulled out when feeding is not a possibility.
Unfortunately, the constant reliance on the pacifier when your baby is small can encourage the development of an all out dependency issue as the child gets older. The American Dental Association recommends that any child should be encouraged to get rid of the pacifier by the age of four. Breaking this habit can be difficult, but is imperative to prevent orthodontic issues down the road. The prolonged suckling can cause the teeth to protrude forward as they grow and may even cause issues with the roof of the mouth. There are three steps to breaking the binky habit as a parent.
1. Start by Leaving the Pacifier at Home
If there is one thing that a parent of a pacifier reliant child will grab on the way out, it is at least one spare in case something goes wrong. The simplest first step to take is to start leaving the pacifier at home. This will be hard, but your goal is to start eliminating the pacifier from being involved in activity beyond the home.
2. Take a Trip to the Pediatric Dentist
Once your child is old enough, usually about two or three, a trip to the pediatric dentist to address the pacifier usage can be helpful. The dentist will talk to your child about giving up their beloved accessory and help them understand why it is important to get rid of the habit. However small, sometimes advice coming from someone other than you will be encouraging. On dental practice you can take your child to is North Phoenix Pediatric Dentistry.
3. Find Another Form of Comfort
Children often use their pacifier for comfort at various times, such as when they are not feeling well or just sleepy. The goal is to find a different way for your child to feel comfortable during these times. A special blanket, stuffed animal, or even just your touch can sometimes suffice. Encourage your child to at least try to get by without their pacifier, by explaining that this will help them be a big boy or girl.
Breaking the binky habit for some children can take several months whereas others will just drop the habit suddenly and never look back. Your role as a parent is to find what works best for your child and go with it. Talk to your pediatric dentist about additional ideas and advice they may be able to offer.