July 02, 2015

Q: My daughter is almost 19 months, but she is still taking a pacifier. Should I take it away all at once or ween her off it, starting with naps for a couple of days and then at bedtime? I was thinking about getting it over with; out of sight, out of mind. Or should I not worry so much and let her break herself from it?

A: By 18 months of age a pacifier could be affecting both your child's speech and teeth placement.  Some parents rationalize that using a pacifier only at bedtime is better than all the time. This may be true from a speech development standpoint, but the pacifier will continue to pull teeth forward while he child is sleeping, so getting rid of it is the best plan.  If everyone in your house is ready to break the pacifier habit, throw all the pacifiers away and be ready for several days (up to a week) of sleepless nights and unhappy periods during the day. If everyone can stay strong and not give back the pacifier, it will be forgotten by the child in a few days.  It may also help to offer another object, such as a blanket or a stuffed animal, and to explain that she is now a big girl and big girls do not use pacifiers.

Answered by Dr. Carrie M. Brown