Know When To Say No To ‘Mommy’s Best Friend’

You have an 8:00 appointment and it’s 7:45. One child has only one shoe on, and you can’t find your keys; all the while your baby is testing out those lungs with a constant arpeggio.

Then you remember your secret weapon, the pacifier. Once you pop that thing in, your baby’s tense body relaxes. Now that your child is content, you are out the door in no time.

We wonder though, are we doing what’s best for our baby by submitting to the power of the binky?

There are many theories and personal opinions surrounding the pros and cons of pacifier use, when to use it, and how to wean your toddler off of it.

Looking at some of the experts, and those who have been through this phase will help us to navigate this arena with confidence.

Cafe Mom reported:

Prolonged pacifier use can make erupting teeth come in crooked. Breaking your toddler out of pacifier use can be difficult, and the most straightforward thing to do is to gather all the pacifiers up and throw them away. You can give your toddler a reason why there are no more pacifiers (i.e., ‘You are a big girl now’). Be prepared for about three days of crying and fussiness as a protest, but then the habit will be broken.”

— Jarret Patton, MD, founder of DoctorJarret PLLC, Reading, PA

Using a pacifier can be for “emergency cases”, eliminating the danger of using it too much.

Good scenarios, where the benefits may outweigh the risks, would be long travel times, a time-sensitive situation, and when they are not feeling well.

Pacifier use between 4 weeks and 2 years old is considered safe. Prior to 4 weeks, the pacifier can cause nipple confusion or feeding complications.

Web MD reported:

Before age 2, any problems with growing teeth usually self-correct within 6 months of stopping pacifier use,” says Evelina Weidman Sterling, Ph.D., MPH, co-author of Your Child’s Teeth: A Complete Guide for Parents.”

There are practical benefits of utilizing the tool that has been called “mommy’s best friend.” A pacifier helps your baby self-soothe, which is a vital aspect in having them fall asleep unassisted.

In addition, the pacifier may save your baby’s life in those early months. It is thought by experts that it may aid in ensuring airways stay open during sleep.

Mayo Clinic reported:

“A pacifier might help reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Sucking on a pacifier at nap time and bedtime might reduce the risk of SIDS. If you’re breastfeeding, wait to offer a pacifier until your baby is 3 to 4 weeks old and you’ve settled into an effective nursing routine.”

If you decide using a pacifier for your little one is the option that works best for your family, the challenge now is taking away the beloved appendage.

There are some successful examples from moms who have endured this battle already that we can glean from.

Café Mom reported:

When my daughter gave up her pacifier, we gathered them all up and put them under her pillow for the pacifier fairy to pick up and take to all the new babies in the hospital. The fairy left her a new big-girl present under her pillow in its place.”

This cute anecdote provides a good format for letting your child know when it’s time to move on to the next phase in life.

The key is not to stress about taking away the pacifier. The most ideal scenario would be for your child to wean themselves from it; assuming it’s within healthy perimeters.

One Café Mom contributor wrote, “Two of my children used a pacifier and it was hard to get rid of them, but my doctor told me not to worry and that when they were ready to get rid of the paci they would.”

There are always exceptions to the rule. Certain times may be more stressful for your child to give up the pacifier, which acts as a reliable comfort.

Mom365 reported:

Don’t try to wean your little one off her pacifier during major life events like starting a new daycare or a household move, when your baby could use the extra soothing.”

Now we know it’s safe to use a pacifier in those hectic moments where the baby needs some soothing, and we need a minute to catch our breath.

Don’t feel guilty when your mother in law gives a dirty look for popping the binky, and, at the same time, recognize the dedication to those who choose not to use it.

Please let us know in the comments section if you have had a successful experience with weaning your toddler off the pacifier!

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