When should I take the pacifier away?
It is common for an infant to depend on a pacifier for the first few months to 12 months of age. The weening process should begin between 2-3 years old to avoid delays in development of their feeding and speech skills.
Ways to decrease and eliminate the use of a pacifier:
-Set your child up for success: make sure there are not too many changes at one time
-Make a plan: if you are decreasing the use, make sure to set specific guidelines around when the pacifier is to be used and is consistent with all caregivers
-Getting rid of pacifiers for a cause: if you have become successful with decreasing the use of pacifiers but having a difficult time getting rid of them completely, find a cause your child can relate to (e.g. baby animals, other babies) and have them ‘donate’ their pacifiers to the ‘babies in need’.
-Back-up comfort items: Remember your child uses their pacifier as a comfort item, so make sure to have appropriate replacement items near by
-Give lots of praise: provide them with lots of positive attention towards the activities they are completing and away from their pacifiers.
How do I know if my child needs to see a Speech-Language Pathologist?
Always consult with your pediatrician first with any concerns regarding their speech and feeding development. Important topics to discuss with your pediatrician are their feeding habits and types of food their eating, as well as sound development. If you notice they are coughing on food, over-stuffing during meals, not tolerating different types of food, or speech sound errors, ask your doctor for a referral for a speech and feeding evaluation.
Why make the referral for an Eyas Landing evaluation?
Eyas Landing’s team of Speech-Language Pathologists are highly versed in the realm of oral motor and speech sound development. They will be able to customize a program specific to your child’s needs and support you through the process with home activities to promote feeding and speech development.