Should I Let my Child Have a Pacifier?

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  • Written By: J. Beam
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 17 October 2019
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Deciding to introduce an infant to a pacifier is a decision best left to parents, but when asking for expert advice on the matter opinions vary. Some child development experts believe that pacifiers can hinder speech development and the proper growth of teeth. Similarly, proponents of breastfeeding believe that they create “nipple confusion,” a condition that may impact breastfeeding. However, there are others who believe that pacifiers cause no developmental issues at all.

The intended purpose of a pacifier is to help an infant learn to self-soothe. For an infant, sucking is a natural reflex they are born with. While their natural ability to suck is what allows them to feed almost immediately from birth, sucking is a soothing action for many babies.

In some hospitals, a pacifier is introduced in the nursery after delivery. If you decide you do not want your child to use one, you should make your preference known ahead of time. Many babies who never have one simply replace it and find the same comfort by sucking on fingers or thumbs. If you plan to breastfeed, you should consult with a lactose counselor about introducing one.


The primary reason parents hesitate to introduce their children to a pacifier is because of long-term attachment. However, keep in mind that you can choose to use a pacifier for self-soothing during infancy and wean the child from it when you wean them from the bottle or breast. Conversely, some parents fear that their children will become thumb-suckers if they do not have a pacifier and fear it will develop a habit much harder to break.

It’s generally best to take a watchful approach. Every baby is different and some babies learn to self-soothe without any help. Some babies will not take a pacifier even when one is introduced. Other babies may fuss constantly if they do not have an object to transfer their sucking instincts to at all times. Pay attention to your baby and do what seems the most natural for them. Many babies will use one for a few months and then break themselves of it as they develop.

Unless you have your own deep-rooted philosophy about using pacifiers, you can simply wait and watch and respond as your baby needs you to. You should not use one as a means to put off feeding or to stifle needful crying, but you can safely use it to aid your child with self-soothing if he or she respond to it. Make sure you pay close attention to the safe use of these objects and do not give a child a pacifier that is torn, split, or cracking.


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Post 5

@Wisedly33 -- She let him *start school* with the pacifier? Oh, my Lord. I'd have been mortified. My daughter had one, but gave it up on her own. She was probably 18 months old or so.

Whatever hell that mother catches from her friends is richly deserved. She's raising a spoiled rotten mama's boy. I hope the dad intervenes. Good Lord almighty.

Post 4

@Scrbblchick -- "He will get over the trauma." That made me laugh. You are so right. There's even a term for kids whose parents shield them from everything: bubble-wrap kids. As a result, they never learn how to handle disappointment or conflict, or any human, adult situation. And believe it or not, a lot of it can start from allowing the child to have that stupid binky for too long. I'm talking about neurotypical children, here. Of course there are exc exceptions for special-needs children.

I've seen kids in the store who couldn't talk around the pacifier. Disgusting. I knew a couple who allowed their little boy to have the pacifier indefinitely. The dad really tried to get him to give

it up, but finally threw his hands up in the air.

Can you believe the mom allowed her child to start school still sucking on a pacifier? That lasted about three days, until the other kids made him miserable. Sometimes, peer pressure is a good thing. The mother wasn't happy that her "baby" was being picked on, but the dad reminded her that pacifiers were for babies, and a five-year-old isn't a baby anymore.

Post 2

This is one of those tricky questions. I don't have a problem with babies having a pacifier. However, once that child reaches the age where they no longer take a bottle at all, and can drink from a cup, it's time for the pacifier to go bye-bye.

Kids can handle a little frustration. Getting rid of the passie, or the binky, or whatever you call it, is not going to permanently damage Junior's fragile psyche. He *will* get over the trauma.

When I see a four year old with a pacifier, it makes me want to smack the parent. There are exceptions, but it usually means they're taking the line of least resistance and they will pay for their permissiveness one of these days. Actually, their child will pay for it, which is worse.

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