How Long Should Baby Use a Pacifier?

Pacifiers. They can be serious lifesavers and are beloved by babies, parents, and caretakers alike.

But how long is too long for a baby to use a pacifier? Is there a definitive point where it’s time to stop?

According to Colgate, “the consensus is that one year old is ideal, and three years is the absolute limit…the best thing to do is to speak to your pediatrician about your child’s individual needs.”

Let’s take a deeper look at why.

Your Baby’s Dental Care

Pay attention to when your baby starts breaking teeth
What happens when my baby uses a pacifier and has teeth coming in

The main reason you’ll want to consider weaning your baby off of their pacifier is due to their dental care. If they’re using a pacifier for too long after their baby teeth start coming in, it could cause some issues.

It won’t necessarily harm their teeth, especially since they won’t be getting permanent teeth until they’re about six years old. We’re talking about their jaw.

If at three years of age your child is still going strong with the pacifier, it’s a good idea to take them to the dentist and see what they recommend. You want to avoid any permanent damage to their jaw, making it important to time things right with weaning off the pacifier.

Benefits of Using a Pacifier

With that said, there are plenty of benefits that come with using a pacifier, as long as it’s being used for a child of the right age. Pacifiers have been proven to lower the risk of SIDS, and they reduce stress for your baby, giving them a better night’s sleep than they would have without it.

The benefits of using a pacifier make for an easy decision; keep them on hand and nearby for your young baby to enjoy and take advantage of.

How to Wean Off the Pacifier

And when it’s time to wean off the pacifier, make sure you’re prepared.

Start by giving them another comfort item along with the pacifier. This could be a small toy that’s safe to have in their crib, or perhaps a lovey. Avoid giving the pacifier to your little one when they don’t absolutely need it. If they’re calm and happy, there’s no need for them to have it.

Slowly start giving them the comfort item on its own until that’s all they need to be calm and happy.

There’s also the option to go cold turkey. While this is a challenging route to take, if you’re determined to do it this way, toss out those pacifiers and go for it! There’s a variety of methods for a reason: there’s something for everyone.

The Joys of a Pacifier

We get it: pacifiers are a serious lifesaver and work wonders with keeping everyone happy. However, all good things must come to an end eventually, and knowing when and how to make it happen will make all the difference for you and for your baby.

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