Most parents dont’t like the idea of putting pacifier on their babies’ mouths as babies usually associate their pacifier with falling asleep and they almost can not sleep without it. And if you see toddlers running about with pacifiers attached, it’s truly the inappropriate sight we are concerned about rather than the medical effect it brings.
But seriously, is pacifier really needed? Well, for several reasons, yes. It does help with reflux, colic (as babies can only be soothed by constant sucking) and also in reducing the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
Many babies (or young children) use the sucking of a pacifier as a comfort mechanism as it helps to calm them down, and is soothing especially when they are tired. This is normal, actually, but do remember the need to suck is getting lesser as they get older, around 6 months old onwards. After that age, it is believed using pacifier is more to a habit rather than a sucking need. Other than that, constant use of pacifier may cause speech delays and even dental problems. So it is best to wean off around 6 months old of age or before her first birthday. Of course, you can wait until her second or third, but the consequence is the harder you break the habit.
Then how to wean off pacifier? You can do it gradually or abruptly. It may seem to be forever if you do it gradually (such as limiting pacifier only for bedtimes), so patience is definitely the key to success. If you do it abruptly, means no pacifier at all, you have to be prepared for horror nights for a couple of days because of your baby’s screaming at bedtimes. It doesn’t mean you let your baby cry all night long, but pick her up only after she fusses a few minutes and put her back on her crib when she’s settled. You may need to do this several times but do not give in. It takes about 45 minutes to an hour doing this at first night. But after 3 nights, you will pretty much see improvement. Whichever method you choose, be consistent. The time frame is about a few days to 2 weeks or even a month to complete the mission.