Saying goodbye to the pacifier is a hard habit to break but getting your child off the pacifier before age 4 is important for his or her dental health.
In fact, overusing pacifiers affects mouth and teeth development in the same way as long-term thumb-sucking, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD). As the child’s upper front teeth tip forward, teeth may become crooked and he or she can experience bite problems.
There are some popular strategies for weaning your child off the pacifier. However, they require a high level of patience, determination, possible story-telling, and creativity. One thing to remember is that positive reinforcement, hugs and plenty of love should always reign supreme. Getting over the pacifier is a difficult rite of passage, yet tremendous accomplishment for your child.
- Cut the binky
Slowly cut the tip of your child’s pacifier over an extended period of time until there is no nipple left. Sharing stories with your child about pacifiers naturally shrinking as they grow and turn into a big kid may help.
- The infamous “Paci Fairy/Superhero”
Now that your child is growing up, you can tell him or her that the “paci fairy or paci superhero” are coming to take their pacifier to give them a surprise in return. On the day the paci fairy or superhero arrives, you can decorate your house with balloons or leave glitter dust to show they came to visit. This takes the elimination of the paci off of you and places it on the fairy or superhero!
- Let your child know another baby needs his/her paci
Now that your child is a big girl or boy, they can help other babies by giving them his or her pacis. You can pack the pacis in a gift box and take your child with you to the post office or mailbox to “mail the pacis to the new child”. Or, you can send them via balloon release.
- Introduce a book to your bedtime routine that discusses why your child should give up their pacifier.
Some popular books include Florrie the Paci Fairy, Ben/Bea Gives Up His/Her Pacifier, Pacifiers Are Not Forever, and Bye-Bye Binky.
- Begin the process by talking to Dr. Baker
We know how hard it can be to see your child unhappy when they are unsure about giving up this habit. And, you may have a few nights of crying during this transition. Our staff can help you with additional ways of encouraging your child. Each child is different and requires an individual plan that best fits their personality. Stay strong!
Medplex Pediatric Dentistry serves as a top rated pediatric dentist for Alabaster, Birmingham, Hoover, Helena, and Pelham, AL.