Parents want to do what’s best for their children, but with so many voices telling you what the do’s and don’ts are, it can be hard to feel like you are making the right decisions for your kids. If you’ve heard about the dangers of pacifiers and worry about your baby’s attachment to theirs, here are a few things to help put paci use into perspective so you can make the right choices for your little one.
First, it should be pointed out that pacifiers are not all bad. They can actually be quite useful when your child is very young to help them with strengthening their oral muscles and providing them with a way to self-soothe. The problem comes when your child continues to use their pacifier past the age of two.
The sucking motion of the pacifier and the pressure it puts on the top teeth can cause a shift in the way your babies teeth are positioned in their mouth. The teeth will move forward and become crooked which might then result in bite problems. More extreme cases can even result in jaw alignment problems or changes to the roof of the mouth.
Pacifiers vs Thumbs
Babies like to suck, so if you decide you don’t want your child to have a pacifier chances are their thumb is going to find its way into their mouth as they learn to self-soothe. The only problem with this is that eventually, for their oral health, your child will need to stop sucking on their thumb. You can’t take their thumb away so the weaning process can prove more challenging.
If your child is allowed to have a binky to practice their sucking motion and build stronger oral muscles you will have more say when it comes time to give up the binky. You’ll be able to help them work through getting rid of their pacifier and won’t have to worry about them popping their thumb in their mouth every time you turn away.
To keep your baby from messing up their teeth, try to have them weaned from their pacifier by the time they are two years old. Studies have shown that after the age of two, pacis start to make changes to your child’s mouth. If you are concerned that it might already be affecting their teeth, then schedule an infant dental exam. Your dentist should be able to quiet your fears about any oral issues they might be experiencing.
If you’re trying to help them break their pacifier habit then always try and use positive reinforcement. Punishing them for sucking on their binky might just stress them out and make them turn to their pacifier even more often for self-soothing.
You are a good parent. The fact that you’re concerned about their pacifier use means that you care, and that’s what matters most. Just pay attention to their wants and needs and you’ll do great. You’ve got this.