The need to suckle is natural and offers your child comfort. This need should decrease by three to four months.
Thumb-sucking is natural and a way that babies and children can comfort themselves. There is no concern about thumb-sucking affecting teeth, but it should stop between four and five years of age at the latest.
Pacifiers (soothers) also satisfy the need to suckle. Pacifiers should be a one-piece, orthodontic design.
To safely use a pacifier with your baby:
- Boil before first use then wash with soap and water between uses.
- Check often and replace when it starts to look old/used.
- Never attach with a string.
- Never dip in sweeteners such as sugar or honey.
- Gradually reduce the use as baby gets older.
Never suck on a pacifier yourself to clean it. Your mouth has germs that can cause cavities that you can pass to baby.
Pacifiers should not be used instead of feeding or be introduced before breastfeeding is fully established.
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