We’ve all heard the Scientology stories surrounding Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes and how they’re bringing up their daughter. I don’t know a whole lot about the religion or whether it’s the reason, as some media outlets report, that their daughter still uses a pacifier and drinks from a bottle, but it’s sure causing a lot of controversy.
Suri turns 5-years-old next month.
There is really no hard and fast pacifier weaning rule, but by the time kids are nine-months old, they have the physical development and mouth coordination necessary to be able to drink out of a sippy cup or a cup with straw. Some pediatricians and speech experts say twelve months is a good time to wean your child from the pacifier because that marks the beginning of serious speech development. If your kid has a pacifier in his mouth he may be less likely to talk or it may distort his speech. Jonathan D. Shenkin, a pediatric dentist is quoted in Breaking The Binky Habit as saying the magic age to binky wean is two.
Still, many children use pacifiers well into their preschool years as a means of comfort or a stress reliever. And – oh my god – Suri has to be under a lot of stress, no?
My daughter, Violet, is two and we were considering weaning her off her “binky” but decided not to because we thought she had enough changes going on what with the birth, two weeks ago, of our son Henry. We figure we’ll let her rock the binky a while longer as she adjusts to the new situation.
There are some serious reasons to consider trashing the pacifier earlier rather than later:
-As mentioned, pacifier use can interfere with speech development. Sucking on a pacifier locks a child’s mouth in an unnatural position, making it more difficult for him to develop his tongue and lip muscles normally and could contribute to a lisp later.
-If your child seems prone to ear infections, losing the pacifier might provide some relief.
-If your child becomes dependent on a pacifier to fall asleep, you may have to get up and find it for him every time he wakes during the night.
-In some cases, the pacifier can cause your child’s upper teeth to tip forward toward the lip. That said, there’s no evidence that pacifiers cause any permanent damage to baby teeth – they usually return to normal after a few pacifier-free months. The bigger concern is permanent teeth, which usually start coming in around age 4 to 6. At that age, pacifier use can cause lasting dental problems.
All that said, I’m the absolute last person to be a backseat mama because I can’t stand it when people do it to me. If Katie doesn’t mind Suri rocking the pacifier, I don’t either. It’s not the worst thing she could do. Is it really that reprehensible? Is Suri going to be scarred forever? Strollerderby’s Madeline Holler agrees with me but for different reasons. In They Say: Pacifiers and Bottles Lead To Speech Delays she says “I don’t care if my son’s frequent pacifier use results in the biggest, nastiest, crooked-tooth overbite — or renders him dead last among his contemporaries in complete sentence formation. That little plastic plug of love has been an integral part of our multi-pronged approach to the whole family getting really good sleep. Every dime I pay for orthodonic (and, apparently, language development) correction will have been worth it. Charge me double. I’ll pay that too.”
What about you? Do you think she’s too old for a pacifier? Take Us Weekly’s poll and see if thousands of others agree with you.