Although the information on the harmful effects of using a pacifier in babies is well known, one does not pay heed to it and on the contrary, tends to give pacifiers to toddlers. Doctors tend to motivate people to get to know more about the ill effects of pacifiers.

Also, one needs to know that there will come a time when he/she has to wean their child off the pacifier. Hence, it is better to start this “Pacifier Independence Programme” as early as one can, before their child tends to become dependent on it.  

Following are the demerits of using a pacifier:
1. Effect on speech

The use of a pacifier can impact your child’s speech in the long run. This happens mostly when a baby is given a pacifier of the wrong size or when the nipple is hard. The use of a pacifier should not be frequent and young mothers should look for alternate ways to soothe the baby, rather than, depending on a pacifier to do so.

2. Nursing Compromised

Many parents end up relying so much on pacifiers that they at times substitute food with it as well. The dependence on pacifiers results in health problems for the baby. Also, some parents force the pacifier on their baby, not knowing that sometimes, toddlers do not readily agree to suck on pacifiers. To say that the use of a pacifier, also makes mums incapable of adequately feeding the baby is an understatement, for, our basic due to feeding the baby is when it cries and the pacifier makes it impossible for one to detect this. In addition to this, prolonged use of the pacifier will result in lesser time for breastfeeding for the baby. Yes, a pacifier negatively impacts breastfeeding time, as your child will neither be interested in any other kind of nipple then the nipple on the pacifier.

3. Hearing Problem

Continued use of a pacifier is often related to causing ear infections. As postulated by Dr Hauck. Limiting, the pacifier can increase the risk of ear infection in the child by 29%. This is because the pacifier reduces the pressure equilibrium inside the ear when the kid sucks the nipple. This infection will later lead to loss of hearing if not addressed immediately.  If one cannot abandon the use of pacifiers altogether, at least he/she should limit the use of it for their child’s own health.

4. Teeth Damage

A pacifier can affect the baby’s teeth when used improperly. Consequences emanating from that are crooked teeth, cavities and gum recession. The longer a baby uses a pacifier, the worse their speech becomes. Please note, use of pacifiers in itself, cannot cause teeth damage but the frequent long-term use of which, does.

5. Nipple Confusion

According to Step Nine of the United Nations Children’s Fund and World Health Organization, it is advised to not use a pacifier because it could lead to nipple confusion or nipple preference especially when it is introduced before breastfeeding has been fully established.

6. Psychological effects

The long term effects of using a pacifier for your baby includes a lack of development in emotional intelligence. This is because a pacifier tends to prevent the baby from making any facial expressions.  Since most of the emotional development of the child happens at a younger age, prolonged use of a pacifier will become counterproductive.

7. It is difficult to give up

Getting your child to stop or give up on a pacifier is much of a difficult task. A pacifier cannot just be taken away. The process of limiting pacifier usage has to be bearable for the child as he/she has to learn to live without one.

Try to substitute the use of a pacifier with cuddling. Ensure that the pacifier use is non-existent during the day. While it is easy to wean off the pacifier off a child of 6 months, the same cannot be said for a toddler. Pulling out the pacifier and preparing it for a few days of rough sleep is all that suffices for an infant, however, for a toddler one has to remain firm, patient and creative in getting them to rid the pacifier.

You must be ready to deal with the separation anxiety that your toddler would feel when the pacifier is parted from them. This is because of you, by taking away the pacifier are in a way taking away their comfort object, with nothing to replace. You have to be there for your child in this moment, because though a pacifier might seem insignificant to you, the pacifier has been everything for your child.

The best way to stop is not to introduce the pacifier at all to the baby. Do not allow yourselves to give in to the temptation of a pacifier. If your doctor does not advise you to use one, then find other ways to soothe your child. Children need a lot of attention and cuddling and a pacifier cannot do all that. Do not deprive your children of attention and care.

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