(HealthDay News) -- A pacifier helps comfort young babies by satisfying their natural sucking reflex. But as babies mature and their teeth begin to grow, a pacifier can damage teeth.
The Swedish Medical Center offers these suggestions for weaning your baby off of a pacifier:
- Try reducing access time to a pacifier to only night time and nap time, then gradually work the infant up to sleeping without it.
- Have your child trade a pacifier for a game, book or toy that is more enjoyable and productive.
- Have the child spend time with other toddlers who no longer use a pacifier.
- Explain that pacifiers that are used when you are a baby, and one isn't needed now that he or she is older.
- Reward the child for time spent without a pacifier, with things like stickers, gold stars or a stuffed animal.
- Be patient and offer lots of reassurance, but don't give up on trying to break the habit.
- Offer lots of hugs.