Many parents use pacifiers as a soothing tool, because it gives babies something to fixate on as opposed to crying. As an alternative to habits such as sucking thumbs, it is definitely much preferred and even doctors recommend its use.
That being said, pacifiers do have disadvantages too. For starters, it can be extremely difficult to wean a child off using a pacifier once it has become a habit. Some children even end up waking up in the middle of the night for no other reason apart from the fact that their pacifier has accidentally fallen out of their mouth.
More importantly, recent studies have also begun to show that pacifiers may lower the chances of successfully breastfeeding, and also have other long term effects too.
Using Pacifiers in a Limited Fashion
One of the ways to limit the disadvantages of pacifiers is to use it only in a limited fashion. By not allowing your child to continuously rely on the pacifier, you can essentially control their attachment to it.
The recommended method of accomplishing this is to limit the use of a pacifier to sleep or naptimes, and even then only when your baby is under a year old. Once they are a year old, you’re going to want to stop using a pacifier altogether.
In this way, you’ll be able to get the benefits of using a pacifier to help your child sooth themselves when they are still very young, but not foster a strong attachment that could end up to be unhealthy in the long term. Needless to say, stopping a child from using a pacifier altogether can be tricky, but sometimes it is best to just go cold turkey.
Of course, this issue is not one that is without contention. If you head over to moms.com or any other website where mothers discuss pacifiers, you’ll see that there are many schools on thought on what the ‘best’ way to proceed really is. All said and done it is up to you to choose on behalf of your child – just be sure to remember that the last thing you want is for your child to become dependent on the pacifier.
On the whole, starting to build up healthy habits from the time your child is young will make things a lot easier in the long term and avoid many issues that often crop up.