Teeth and pacifier

Babies are born with the reflex of sucking. You might also be one of those moms, that remembers watching an ultrasound and seen her baby with his finger in his mouth! The pacifier is the first and most beloved accessory that babies "choose" and this is justifiable.  

Η πιπίλα και τα δοντάκια του

Psychologists assure us that the pacifier is an important "friend" for your baby, because by sucking, endorphins are secreted, which are the "hormones" that create reassurance through intense euphoria. Feelings like this can help the baby to get through difficult days with colic or sleep easier at night.

The pacifier can also serve another purpose. In discussions with other moms you’ll see that the time your baby needs to satisfy the instinct of breastfeeding may differ from other babies. The non-nutritive breastfeeding, as it is called, is a common phenomenon, exceeds the time of feeding and leads to the use of the pacifier or the finger sucking.

And here comes the question... finger sucking or pacifier; The majority of children will quit the use of the pacifier or the finger sucking before the age of four. But there are some children who will find it hard to quit the habit. As you cannot know in which category your baby will belong, most doctors will suggest the solution of pacifiers for two main reasons... cutting it will be easier and if the use will continue for a longer period than expected, there will be less damage caused to the teeth. There is always the possibility that the choice won’t be yours! Your baby may show a strong character and despite all attempts to learn using the pacifier, he will finally prefer finger sucking.

 

When and how to 'cut' the pacifier?

As we already mentioned if the sucking continuous after the age of four, this can cause teeth and jaw disfigurement. If your baby cuts the habit early, any disfigurements may be fixed. On the other hand, there is the risk of becoming permanent, difficult, painful and expensive to treat in most cases.

 

Pacifier!

The difficult part in most cases is cutting the pacifier. The instructions are simple, though difficult to follow. Just make the decision that this is the time and throw it in the trash! Your little one will cry and have nerves, will blame everyone and nothing will replace the beloved pacifier. This will last for a few days. You have to be patient, even if you see your baby suffering, something that most parents cannot bear, do not give in to the temptation, not even once, because before you know it the old habit will be back. You can come up with a story for the reason why he cannot use the pacifier anymore, such as the good fairy who watches all the kids, saw how he grew up and how good child he is and took the pacifier to give it to younger babies. You can also use Santa Claus if it is Christmas time or even his favorite childhood hero. Be sure to replace it especially for bedtime, about a month before cutting it with something new that your little one will choose for himself (eg toy, blanket) to help especially during bedtime since this is the most difficult time during the day. DO NOT remind him of it! Just act like the pacifier never existed!

 

The finger!

If you think it is difficult to cut the pacifier, ask parents who have babies sucking their fingers. To stop sucking the finger is more difficult as a process since we cannot simple “take” the finger of your baby. It is also very important to use the right technique. You don’t want to be strict with him and create guilty thoughts. Your approach should be to debate and not judge. Older practices like tying of hands, pepper or even gloves are not recommended since they are not always successful and can create bad and guilty feelings.

You should firstly focus on daytime and then at night. Play with him and make the whole process a rewarding game. Make a board divided in days, where you will put stickers with him and if the number of stickers is the one agreed on the end of the week you will offer him a big prize at the weekend. At the same time you can watch him sleeping and try to keep the finger out of his moth without disrupting his sleep.

Patience and good luck!

 

What should you look in a pacifier.

It won’t be long before you realize that, there are many different types of pacifiers in the stores and you should do a little research before you choose one. Your baby might even has a preference as for the type of the material used for the pacifier​​ and since the use is going to be constant you have to choose what best suits him. There are silicone, rubber, round and asymmetrical pacifiers... and it would be useful to ask your pediatrician and let him help you decide what is most appropriate for your little one.

 

However if you want the pacifier to be safe you should note the following:

  • Its size must be larger than the opening of the baby’s mouth, to eliminate the possibility of suffocation.
  • Choose a pacifier that has an outer plastic curvature to fit the mouth and be equipped with small holes to ensure air circulation needed to avoid irritations along with the risk of suffocation.
  • The construction should be durable so they are not likely to tear it and swallow small pieces of it by chewing.
  • Be sure it is clean and sterile before you give it to him. Do not forget that the mouth is connected with the ears so many ear infections are related with the use of a pacifier that have germs. If the pacifier falls, do not put it in your mouth before giving it back to him, as you can also transmit germs to your baby. Always have in your bag more than one pacifiers ready for use.
  • Do not attach the pacifier in the stroller or your baby’s clothes, with string or ribbons because there is a serious risk of choking, especially for infants during sleep time.