Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Pacifier Use

As Park rummaged through his toy basket yesterday, he came across one of many pacifiers I tried so diligently throughout his first year to take but never did so. He picked it up, looked at it for a minute, then popped it into his mouth.

At 16 months old...Go figure.

I was asked the other day to write about pacifier use in toddlers. As many opinions see it and in my opinion, usage should be eliminated by such age. But is there a proper age in which the pacifier should be taken away?

My son never took to the pacifier for comfort. He only took me. I didn't mind it at first but after the first few months, I realized I was never going to be able to do anything or sleep for that matter if he continued to pacify on me all the time. I tried many maneuvers at getting him to unlatch and stay soothed. I tried MANY different brands, styles, and colors of pacifiers and those never worked either. So I finally gave up. And so the pacifier became just another toy in his toy basket.

I have seen children 3-4 years of age still dependent upon the pacifier for soothing when sick or taking a nap or for bedtime. Isn't this too old? According to a report/study that appeared in the January/February 2007 issue of General Dentistry, the Academy of General Dentistry's (AGD) clinical, peer-reviewed journal,
Pacifier use often attracts negative attention for potentially harming children's oral health. There are positive effects of pacifier use, however. In addition to calming the infant, pacifier use can also assist in reducing the incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS. However, I can't help but notice the effects pacifier use has on the shape of toddlers teeth as well as their bite. Maybe this isn't a problem since toddler teeth are not permanent.

Still, why do 3 and 4 year old children need pacifiers? What is so hard about not having something stuck in their mouth? And how are they ever going to learn speech at a normal age if they are still using pacifiers? It doesn't take a genius to figure out there are other ways to soothe our little ones who are past the infant stage of life.

Mommy Bridget

1 comment:

  1. Cache still takes a bink for sleeping, therefore unaffecting his speech. Since he's asleep. Also, thumb sucking (which you can't take away) and binkies don't affect bite or teeth until the 'adult' teeth come in. If the child is still thumb sucking or taking a bink by then, you will notice huge, obvious teeth problems.
    I think the reason people give their kids binks for so long is it's easier than listening to tantrums. And, I believe the kid will grow out of it on their own. Such as the case with nursing....if you let your child 'pacify' on you solely, and not on a binky, than he would be nursing a lot more.(which is what's natural) And if we let our children self-wean, as is promoted by LLL, they wouldn't need binkies, just their mother and her loving touch to fall asleep. I whole heartedly believe that children will out grow the need for sucking. I also believe the sucking should be taking place on their mothers, not a binky. True has never taken an artificial nipple, nor will I ever give her one. She will self wean when sucking is no longer needed for comfort, food, sickness or otherwise.