Pacifiers are tools that help mothers soothe and comfort the baby. They are usually made of plastic materials used to prevent an infant from sucking his thumb. But mothers should not depend on these tools for too long time as they may pose a threat to the baby’s teeth formation and speech development.
Pediatricians suggest that parents should move away from pacifiers after children reach 12 months of age as the pacifier may distort their speech patterns.
Here are some tips to help your child move away from the pacifier:
- Hide it. If your child doesn’t see it, he will probably forget about it. There are times when children would resort to crying so that they will get what they want. Be firm and consistent.
- Reduce the use of a pacifier. If your child is using it during the day, you can allow him to use it only during the night or during nap time. It may take time for infants to adjust and parents should not hasten this transition period.
- Find other ways to console your baby, such as toy puppetry or music. Be creative as you try out new ways to use, instead of relying on the pacifiers.
- Pacifiers are often used to help babies fall asleep. Help him get into slumber without the pacifiers by introducing new bedtime routinessuch as, taking a warm bath before bed, telling bed-time stories or playing soft music.
- Talk to your child about not using the pacifier. Tell him that as he grows old, he no longer needs it.
- Feed the baby at the right time regularly. When children are well-fed, the urge to suck on pacifiers will lessen.
- Create a reward chart to mark your child’s progress. You can show it to him and make him understand the chart. Praise him for his improvement and provide small rewards every time he makes an effort to not use his pacifiers.