Weaning From A Pacifier

How do I wean my 2-year-old from a pacifier? Or should I?

Little girl with pacifier in her mouth. Weaning from a pacifier.

Dr. Greene’s Answer:

Many kids will stop using a pacifier on their own, when they are ready. As long as your child is done using the pacifier by age 4, there shouldn’t be any permanent effects on tooth or jaw development. After this age, however, consistent pacifier use may affect the upper front teeth.1

If you are anxious to help the process along, there are several ways to go about this. Usually the first step is to restrict the pacifier consistently to certain times, such as bedtime and nap time.

Next possible steps include offering the child the opportunity to trade in the pacifiers for a big-boy or big-girl toy, or dipping the pacifiers in something that just doesn’t taste so great, such as pickle juice, so kids will look forward to them less.

I do not recommend cutting holes in pacifiers because this can create a choking hazard.

1American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry

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Dr. Alan Greene

Dr. Greene is the founder of DrGreene.com (cited by the AMA as “the pioneer physician Web site”), a practicing pediatrician, father of four, & author of Raising Baby Green & Feeding Baby Green. He appears frequently in the media including such venues as the The New York Times, the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, & the Dr. Oz Show.

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