A pacifier or a dummy is a silicone tool that mimics the shape of a nipple and acts as a soother that satisfies the child's sucking needs. When a baby is around 2 to 4 months old, the question of whether to bite the pacifier seems to start. This is because children at this age have an increased desire to suck.
Many parents have similar concerns with the pacifier in front of them. Biting the pacifier seems to make the child more comfortable, but what if the child's teeth become crooked after biting the pacifier all the time? What if their child refuses to breastfeed because of nipple confusion? Today, we are going to look at some questions and answers about pacifiers.
1. Can I use a pacifier to teach my child to sleep?
Mothers with babies under 6 months of age are advised to use a pacifier if they have trouble sleeping. The pacifier is a tool with many advantages. In particular, as it satisfies the child's sucking desire, it has the effect of making the child comfortable, which helps them to sleep better.
Tip: Be careful if your child is too young!
If you have a newborn under 4 weeks of age, please be careful when using a pacifier. If you're breastfeeding your baby, you need to use it only after your child gets used to direct breastfeeding, roughly around 4-6 weeks of age. Using pacifiers within 4 weeks of age may result in nipple confusion and a refusal to breastfeed directly. After 4 weeks, children become quite smart, so there is less nipple confusion.
2. Will there be any problems with their teeth?
Considering the effect on teeth, it is recommended to stop using pacifiers from around the age of 2 years. Between 24 and 48 months, the child's desire to suck also subsides, so the habit of looking for a pacifier naturally disappears. If your child has a habit of sucking pacifiers after the age of 6, please consider getting a professional checkup.
3. What should I pay attention to when using a pacifier?
When using a pacifier, do not use it attached to a rope wrapped around the child's neck. There is a risk of suffocation. Thoroughly wash and disinfect it before use, and when your child is hungry or having fun, do not use it as a meal substitute or a play substitute. It is recommended to use only as a sleep reminder. Let your child suck the pacifier just before bed for comfort.
Tip: Don't give the pacifier just because your baby cries! They don't need a pacifier, especially when your child is playing well during the day or when they are hungry and looking for milk.
4. When should you stop using pacifiers?
When you cut off pacifier use, your child has no choice but to go through a slightly difficult process.
If you decide to stop, you need to be prepared to work hard for 3 days to a week without changing your mind. Slowly reducing the use of pacifiers and cutting them up with scissors when the time is right can also help. When you decide to quit, don't forget to be decisive!
Author: Eun-Kyung Beom, Pediatrician
- Baby Sleep Education Expert
- Director of Baby Sleep Research Institute
- Formerly Director of Gwangju Central Children's Hospital