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When to Bid Farewell to the Binky

When to Bid Farewell to the Binky

Binky, Sucky, Pacifier… we all have our own term for this commonly loved parenting tool. It’s a tool I’ve used with both of my own children throughout the early years of their lives. As a first time mother I was clueless to the potential dependancy they could develop while using their beloved binky. I was clueless until it was too late and I was forced to learn the hard way. Don’t get me wrong, pacifiers can be a great parenting aid if used correctly, in moderation. 

Benefits of the Binky:
Pacifiers provide babies with a natural instinct for sucking, offering comfort and a sense of security. Research suggests that the use of pacifiers during sleep can reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). By helping to maintain an open airway and promote better breathing patterns during sleep, which in turn can potentially reduce an infants risk of SIDS. Lastly, I think we are all familiar with the benefit of distraction. Whether it be in the grocery store, during vaccinations, or when you just need to make that one phone call you’ve been postponing. The binky gives you and your child the relief you both may need in that moment, offering comfort to your child in a time of discomfort. 

Going back to the lessons I learned with my first child, I wanted to implement that newfound knowledge with our second. Our second child, the wild child, was a screamer which in turn made us all big time lovers of the sucky in our household. It was used as a helpful tool for outings and for sleep. As the months went by and he grew older, we dwindled the pacifier use down and used it strictly for sleep. He was still attached to his sucky and had the habit of sucking to sleep already formed and set in stone… so I thought. Around maybe 1 year old, I noticed the pacifier was starting to shape his teeth differently. I did my own research, talked to our doctor and decided at 18 months old we would ditch the sucky and say hello to the lovey.  I was ready to endure a long battle when I came to this decision but to my surprise, my son had only 3 “off” nights with it being a bit tough for him to learn to self soothe himself to sleep. Once he was asleep though, he slept through the night and after that it seemed the habit was kicked. Yes he still had off nights of sucking the air missing the presence of what once was but I believe he was at the perfect age to distract and redirect with his lovey as a self soothing tool. He is 2 now so this was not long ago and he has never asked or brought up the sucky ever since. I know experts suggest 6months to two years but in my personal experience I would suggest anytime BEFORE 2 years as that’s when they start to visualize the world in a more knowledgeable way as they are growing and learning like a sponge. 

When to Bid Farewell to the Binky & Why:

The age at which you should wean your child off the pacifier can vary depending on their individual development and needs. However, many experts and doctors suggest weaning from the pacifier between six months to two years of age. Here's why:

1. Oral Development: Prolonged pacifier use can potentially impact the development of teeth and oral muscles. Weaning off the pacifier by around age two helps reduce the risk of dental problems, such as misalignment or issues with bite. It allows the natural growth and alignment of teeth to occur without the continuous presence of the pacifier.

2. Speech and Language Development: Extended pacifier use, particularly when children start to vocalize and babble, can interfere with speech and language development. Removing the pacifier by the age of two encourages children to explore different oral movements and develop proper tongue and mouth muscle control, which is essential for clear speech production.

3. Independence and Self-Soothing: Weaning off the pacifier at an appropriate age promotes the development of self-soothing skills. As children grow older, they can learn alternative ways to comfort themselves without relying on a pacifier. This fosters independence and helps them develop important self-regulation skills.

It's important to note that every child is different, and the weaning process should be approached with sensitivity and patience. Some children may naturally lose interest in the pacifier earlier, while others may require more gradual weaning. This is not the holy grail to when you should wean your child but it is advice to base your decision off of and have a better understanding on the topic so you are able to make a more informed decision for your own child. It's always a good idea to consult with your child's doctor or dentist for personalized advice based on your child's specific needs and oral development.