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Suri Cruise: Too Old for a Binkie?

by Sue Hubbard, M.D.

There seems to be a lot of of  buzz among parents surrounding a picture of Suri Cruise with a binkie in her mouth. Just how old is too old for a binkie? It’s a common question. I must say, I am a pacifier fan but NOT for a 5 year old!

I know that newborns need to suck and enjoy “non-nutritive” sucking. Many a mother has come in to see me in the first week’s post-partum, tired and worn out from putting an infant to their breast for most of the day. The-baby is fine and thriving, but the poor mother is wiped out. Babies want to suck, it is a reflex, and it is also one of the ways infants soothe themselves. So…was the first pacifier invented by a genius father to help a poor tired mother?

Pacifiers really work well to help babies calm themselves and relax. Sometimes I think we could all use a pacifier at the end of a stressful day. But like many things, the sucking becomes a habit and the longer you have a habit, the harder it is to break. We all know that. Ideally, it is easier to stop using the pacifier as a your-baby leaves infancy. In most cases that does not happen, although some babies will give up the pacifier on their own, most come to rely on it more and it is used throughout the day and night.

The first step to stopping the pacifier is to make it only a nap and bedtime routine and to keep the pacifier in the bed. That means that the child does not have it throughout the day. Once that transition is made, the next step is the hardest for most of us, stopping it at night. I also think it is easier to stop the pacifier before the child has formed such an attachment that they have a word for the pacifier, i.e. “paci, binkie, boppy etc…” as they will then repeatedly request their pacifier, and makes it harder for a parent to deny a request.

All of that being said, I would try to stop pacifier use at the same time as the bottle, the first birthday. There are numerous “tricks” that people have used, such as poking holes in the pacifier nipple, or cutting off a little bit a day, or having the pacifier fairy come and take the pacifier and leave a gift, or tie it to a balloon so it can go to heaven or wrap it up and give it to a new your-baby that needs it…the list is endless.

Whatever trick you try, just follow through. Once you have committed to stopping the pacifier, remove them all from the house so there is no temptation to find one at 2 a.m. when you want to give in. Remember, sooner is easier than later and when you look at the pacifiers that children carry around all day the germ burden on them must be greater than most any other object they touch. Science would tell us to throw it away too!

What do you think? I would love to hear from you!  Leave you comments below.

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2 Responses to “Suri Cruise: Too Old for a Binkie?”

  1. Kim M says:

    Great advise, if only my 2 year old would listen- tried to commit and he cried till I was wanting to cry with him! Gonna try it again next month since will be home with him all summer, and hopefully we can keep it up.

  2. Jen Roberts says:

    Ahh, the paci….
    Middle son Rhett loved his paci. Rhett was 17 months old and still dependent on his paci at night. I knew I was going to be in for it since we had a new baby due in March and with baby using a pacifier, it would be harder to break Rhett of his “addiction.” Fortunately for us, we had a week long Christmas trip planned for December. Since we were traveling during the day, he never asked for his pacifier. When we got there and it was bedtime, he helped me unpack his suitcase and I explained that “oops, I left all of the paci’s in Dallas. you are a big boy now, no need for them anyway.” He cried for about 30 minutes that night, but that was the end of the pacifier reign in our household. Cold turkey and a trip was an easy way to do it.

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