Tuesday, September 5, 2006
Parent to Parent: Pacifier
Whether your baby can't sleep or can't stop crying, almost all parents rely on the pacifier. But if you're worried about when to wean the baby off, there is a way to make a smooth transition. In tonight's Parent to Parent, Dr. Valerie shows us how to finally put away the pacy.
WSVN -- Two-and-a-half year old Dara Silverman already has a favorite song.
Dara Silverman: "Twinkle, twinkle, little star."
Only problem -- she sings it while sucking on her pacifier.
Shari Silverman: "It's almost like a little security. She falls down and has a boo-boo, and she says, 'I want my bear and my pacy.' It's sort of like a team."
Unfortunately, mom Shari fears that team could spell trouble.
Like other parents, she worries what the pacifier will do to her daughter's teeth and speech.
Shari Silverman: "She'll take stepstools, she'll stand on anything and get into the drawers where I keep it, or, if I move it, she'll find it. She'll search it out."
So Dr. Valerie, what do you do; cold turkey or calm child?
Dr. Valerie Goode: "Getting rid of a pacifier isn't the answer. The answer really is to trust yourself to calm your baby, and if you can't, the pacifier works, but it's secondary."
Instead, Dr. Valerie suggests trusting Mother Nature.
She says eventually your child will get sick of sucking.
Dr. Valerie: "There's a natural getting rid of the pacifier by the child between two and four. They themselves will lose interest in it."
In the meantime, you can quicken the process. If your child doesn't ask for the pacifier, don't offer it.
And when they do ask, try to reason with your child or even distract your child by offering something else.
Dr. Valerie Goode: "You can talk about how good they feel as a big boy or a big girl but, once again, if you put too much attention, it makes them feel anxious, and we don't want to do that, then you're defeating the purpose."
Also, consider soothing your child in a different way, like giving them a big hug.
But don't ever completely take your child's pacifier away.
Instead, only withhold it at certain times.
Dr. Valerie Goode: "In a sense, if you're trying to take their pacifier after they've had it their entire life, that's going to set up some adversity. What I'd rather see you do is show them something more fun, and they'll put their pacifier aside."
Shari's working on weaning Dara off the pacifier.
By only using it to sleep at night, she's one step closer to being a big girl.
Shari Silverman: "I guess what I'm really hoping for is the day that she says she's a big girl, and she doesn't need it because she's been trying to say that: 'I'm a big girl, I'm a big girl, can I have my pacy?'"
Lynn Martinez: "Dr. Valerie says pacifier or thumb sucking isn't harmful until a child turns five or six when their permanent teeth come in. That's when you should seek professional help."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Mother's of Older Children Support Group run by Shari Silverman
IF YOU HAVE A CONCERN DR. VALERIE CAN HELP YOU WITH E-MAIL US AT:
Dr. Valerie Goode:
7711 SW 62 Avenue
Miami, FL 33143