Weaning Off Pacifiers – Everything You Need To Know
Things are never for forever, including the use of pacifiers or binkies for our baby girls and boys. There will come a time that we need to get it off our baby’s mouth. This article will weigh things related to weaning off pacifiers for the little ones.
When Should You Wean Off Pacifiers?
Pacifiers are such a huge help to parents as it soothes discomfort experienced by our babies, and keeps us away from occurrence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
However, as much as we want to pacify our babies up until they can manage discomforts in their own, we cannot just give them pacifiers forever. We definitely would need to wean these off from them.
Depending on your child-rearing strategies, you can start weaning off pacifiers from your baby as early as twelve (12) months or one year, to twenty-four months (24) or two years.
Some parents do it before or after Year 2, or anytime as soon as they feel like their babies are fast growing.
Why Should You Wean Off Pacifiers?
There is a reason why the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has recommended both the use and the weaning off of pacifiers.
Here are some of the negative effects of excessive using of pacifiers:
1. Nipple Confusion Syndrome (Breast weaning or difficulties in breastfeeding)
Excessive use of pacifiers, or use of pacifiers in not a timely manner can result to Nipple Confusion Syndrome. This causes the baby to experience difficulties in breastfeeding because he or she is confused as to what should be put in his/her mouth. Remember that the way the baby gets milk through breastfeeding is different from just plain pacifying through pacifiers.
2. Abnormalities in the development of teeth.
Similar to thumb-sucking, pacifiers if not limited the use, may cause abnormalities in the teeth formation. Pacifiers push front teeth upward, and about to erupt may not be able to develop fully.
3. Speech disorders.
Instead of uttering a word, you made your baby busy of sucking its pacifier. Some parents observed that because they wean off pacifiers later than usual, it resulted to a delay in speech development.
4. Otitis Media and other ear problems.
Continuous use of pacifiers may cause our baby’s auditory tubes to be open, and remain open abnormally. Otitis Media is just one of the specific ear diseases or problems that results from excessive use of pacifiers.
Signs That You Need To Wean Off Pacifiers:
The answer to “when” depends on you as a parent or guardian, and to the growth and development of your baby.
Below are only few of the things you need to observe to see if it is already time to wean off or limit the use pacifiers:
1. When breastfeeding is well-established.
We need to avoid the Nipple Confusion Syndrome as mentioned above. With that, we need to minimize or eliminate the use of pacifiers and other teats until our baby completely knows how to breastfeed.
2. When babies are about to hum and utter a word.
We do not want to delay the speech development of our baby, so we need to make sure we have weaned off pacifiers before we teach them speech. Ideally, that is around two years or older, depending on the speed of the development of your little one.
3. When babies start to tear off pacifiers which are still in good condition.
If you notice that your sort of new pacifier has been torn off by your baby, it is something you need to worry about. If that happens to you, first, check if the pacifier is suitable for the age of your baby. Pacifiers are not universal across ages. If it is suitable, and still torn, you need to check the if you baby has started teething. From there, you would need to adjust based on the characteristics you have observed. Best also to consult your pedia regarding the use of pacifiers and other teats.
4. When babies are starting to have more teeth.
Pacifiers are good for our baby, but not to the point that we will allow it to misalign our baby’s teeth. We know what will happen next if we did not allow teeth to develop normally—we would need to put braces eventually.
5. When pacifiers do no longer pacify the babies.
Observe if pacifiers are still being demanded by your little one. If not, then pacifiers are good to go. This is a simple sign to check if you are ready to wean off pacifiers.
6. When they have grown enough.
Like diapers, pacifiers are only for babies in specific ages. We are not bound to use it until our little ones are grown to ages 4 and above wherein we are about to send them to schools. Although it was recommended that pacifiers be used until age 4, we need to check if they are still in-need of it.
How to wean off pacifiers?
Step 1. Check your baby’s development. You may check his or her age from Day 1 of birth, or the oral development, or the food your baby is okay to take. You may also check its dependence to the pacifier.
Step 2. Once you think it is fine to wean off pacifiers by checking the signs enumerated above, you may start the process of introducing new things. Check out things that may interest your little one like reading them books, getting new rattles and toys, or talking to them until they know how to speak.
Step 3. If you notice that your baby is looking for the pacifier, give it to them but in a way they will unlike it. Some parents do the lemon dipping to provide the pacifier a sour taste. However, you need to be careful in using such method because it can make your little one acidic.
Another trick is to explain to your baby why he or she needs to stop using the pacifiers. Explanations such as they are too old for it, and that it should be given to less fortunate babies with no pacifiers would work.
Step 4. Other than that, if no reaction from your baby, you are successfully being able to get off the pacifier from your list.
Useful Tips In Weaning Off Pacifiers:
1. Do it in a very timely manner.
You have to make sure that you have prepared your baby well before you completely eliminate their pacifiers for the rest of their lives. Some do it slowly like they only provide it before bedtime, or during a specific period, compared to having pacifiers almost any time the whole day.
2. No second-thinking.
You should be whole-hearted in doing this weaning off activity. Make sure to have alternatives or substitutes to your pacifiers that can somehow pacify your babies even in the absence of binkies.
3. Devise a Plan B before you start to wean it off.
Gather all your alternatives that will provide comfort to your little one—be it instant or not. For instance, some would use cold meats which are soft and relieves pain.
4. No to recycling pacifiers.
Although you use it as an excuse for you baby to give up the pacifiers, it is not hygienic to giveaway your used pacifiers. Never do that as it can harm the baby who is supposed to receive it.
Pacifiers are only able to pacify for specific time period, and not bound to forever. Therefore, we need to wean it off to ensure our baby’s full growth and development.
In order to avoid such consequences of excessive and untimely use of pacifiers, weaning it off in the most proper way should take place.
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