Too old for a pacifier - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 82 Old 12-10-2009, 11:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi everyone. I was just wondering what all of you think how old is too old for a pacifier (barring no medical reasons or conditions). Lately I am seeing more and more 4,5 and even 6 year olds still with pacifiers and or bottles. Not to put another parent down or anything but I feel thats a bit too old in my opinion. Like I said, barring anything medically wrong with the child, I dont think I would allow my child at that age to have one. At night is one thing but during the day is another. I was just curious what everyones thoughts were and if I am the only one seeing kids these days that are like 6 years old still with them. Thank you and I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this. Have a wonderful day!
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#2 of 82 Old 12-10-2009, 11:54 AM
 
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I don't really think anything of it when I see an older child with a pacifier(and I have to say, I don't think I've ever seen anyone over the age of 3 with a bottle out in public, honestly!). You just never really know why a child has one...it's not up to me to say one way or another that he shouldn't.

When my oldest was a toddler, I was chatting with another mom while shopping. I didn't know her...we just were shopping in the same area and started talking. Her son had a pacifier(as did mine). He was about 5, IIRC. He had given up his pacifier, but then regressed when his father was diagnosed with a brain tumor. It was a long illness that ended in death. The boy also regressed back to diapers, too. He had been in his own bed, but went back to sleeping with mom.

Just looking at this family, a person would have no idea of the story surrounding why the child had a pacifier.

My DD5 still sucks her 2 fingers, just like she's done since birth. She just does it at home, but she still does it. No issues with her. She was also nursed the longest of any of my children, until she was about 4(she weaned when I was pregnant with my youngest).
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#3 of 82 Old 12-10-2009, 12:01 PM
 
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Ive seen alot of dental issues from long term pacifier use so yes I do cringe with I see a 4 or older child with one ( or a bottle). I do know several kids who have had them just at night till 3 or 4 ( ok also a 6yr old) but I guess the ones that catch my attention are the ones that keep them in all day Open bites from pacifiers are very common the bones in the upper and lower jaw actually conform to the pacifer.

Yes it does bug me to see older typically developed kids with a pacifer in their mouth

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#4 of 82 Old 12-10-2009, 12:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't really think anything of it when I see an older child with a pacifier(and I have to say, I don't think I've ever seen anyone over the age of 3 with a bottle out in public, honestly!). You just never really know why a child has one...it's not up to me to say one way or another that he shouldn't.

When my oldest was a toddler, I was chatting with another mom while shopping. I didn't know her...we just were shopping in the same area and started talking. Her son had a pacifier(as did mine). He was about 5, IIRC. He had given up his pacifier, but then regressed when his father was diagnosed with a brain tumor. It was a long illness that ended in death. The boy also regressed back to diapers, too. He had been in his own bed, but went back to sleeping with mom.

Just looking at this family, a person would have no idea of the story surrounding why the child had a pacifier.

My DD5 still sucks her 2 fingers, just like she's done since birth. She just does it at home, but she still does it. No issues with her. She was also nursed the longest of any of my children, until she was about 4(she weaned when I was pregnant with my youngest).
You do make a good point. There are reasons why a child will regress back to a pacifier or diapers or whatever. Like you mentioned, depending on the circumstances but, I dont know if I would feel comfortable allowing my child to regress to a pacifier in public, especially around other kids his/her own age. Kids can say some hurtfull things and I couldnt subject my child to ridicule from other kids. I dont think I would ever go out of my way to say something to a parent I dont know asking why that older child STILL has one or in diapers or whatever. Its just seeing it if that makes sense. I know with my daughter who is 8, she still needs a diaper at night because she still has issues making it through the night dry but thats just at night and no one knows other then family and close friends. Like I said, adults will pretty much keep their comments to themselves while kids on the other hand will say whatever is on their mind not thinking what harm it might be doing. I will say that there was a time, like with you, I was talking to a mom at the store and her son was 6. He was talking to her with the pacifier in his mouth the whole time and she asked him right in front of me when he was going to give it up and I had to laugh when he told her he would when he turns 7 LOL She then looked at me and giggled and said thats what he said when he was 5. Thanks for your post and I am looking forward to hearing from others. Have a wonderful day!
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#5 of 82 Old 12-10-2009, 12:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ive seen alot of dental issues from long term pacifier use so yes I do cringe with I see a 4 or older child with one ( or a bottle). I do know several kids who have had them just at night till 3 or 4 ( ok also a 6yr old) but I guess the ones that catch my attention are the ones that keep them in all day Open bites from pacifiers are very common the bones in the upper and lower jaw actually conform to the pacifer.

Yes it does bug me to see older typically developed kids with a pacifer in their mouth
I am curious, with the 6 year old, was it a sippy cup or an actual bottle. Depending on the age, I personally think they are pretty much the same thing. As I mentioned in my previous post, yes I do cringe when I see that but I have never came out and said something to the parent. I feel thats definatly crossing the line in my opinion. I have stepped once when a mother had her son off the ground with her hand in her armpit spanking her (whipping her) and the child was screaming bloody murder. I told her she needed to stop before I call the police and she let the girl go (she pretty much fell to the ground) and she got in my face and told me I better walk away and mind my own f'n business! Thankfully there were other people around and a man stepped in between us and I called the police right then and there. When they got there, she was trying to fight the police getting in their faces as well telling them that she has the right to disclipine her child! Well she didnt win that battle and was taken away in cuffs. I felt SOO sorry for that child. I guess what I am trying to say is that I would never but into another parents business but I will if the child is in danger.
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#6 of 82 Old 12-10-2009, 12:29 PM
 
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I have a 17mo who is a total soother kid - but I only allow her to have it at night (and naps) and on the occasional long car trip that I hope she is going to sleep during. I am hoping we can start to phase it out before she is two, but I need to get her to start sleeping through the night first. We are pretty much completely done with bottles and are starting on open cups.

I think the problem lies when parents rely on these things more than the kids do. Like it is easier to keep giving a kid a bottle or a sippy cup than it is to have them sit at the table with an open cup and deal with inevitable spillage.

I have a 3.5yo in my home daycare that will only drink milk out of a bottle. He will drink anything else from a cup, but *has* to have milk in a bottle. His mom drags that thing everywhere, and yes they do it in public. She tells me that they are getting rid of them January 1st, but she also said that about him turning three. (I don't bug her about it or anything - she brings it up on her own.)

I also have a 2.5yo who has bottles of milk at home, but will drink it out of a cup at my house.

And then I have a different 3.5yo who continually spills drinks all over him when I give him a cup, because his parents never give him chances to drink out of a cup at home - it is all about sippies. He is a developmentally normal kid, but is lacking this skill because they don't give him a chance.

Sometimes kids are ready to move on, but it is the parents that are afraid to push the issue and make it happen. When the two bottle kids started in my home they were used to being put to bed for their naps with bottles (I know - bad, bad, bad). I did it for a while because that is what they were used to but then a new provincial standard came out saying we weren't allowed to do it. So I slowly phased it out and after about a week they went to bed no problem, without bottles.

I didn't tell the parents until after I did this, because I knew they were going to freak out. And they did! I sent home a newsletter about odds and ends, and included the new "kids can't have food or drinks while going to bed" standard. The moms were so worried that there was no way their kid was going to bed without a bottle, and completely shocked when I said we already phased it out and everyone was fine. So I definitely think that a lot of the time it is more the parents than the kids.

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#7 of 82 Old 12-10-2009, 12:39 PM
 
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You know - it bothers me & I see it a LOT but I would NEVER say anything. But it is one of the reasons I didn't want ds to have a soother - I figured it was just easier to not start the habit in the first place.

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#8 of 82 Old 12-10-2009, 12:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by just_lily View Post
I have a 17mo who is a total soother kid - but I only allow her to have it at night (and naps) and on the occasional long car trip that I hope she is going to sleep during. I am hoping we can start to phase it out before she is two, but I need to get her to start sleeping through the night first. We are pretty much completely done with bottles and are starting on open cups.

I think the problem lies when parents rely on these things more than the kids do. Like it is easier to keep giving a kid a bottle or a sippy cup than it is to have them sit at the table with an open cup and deal with inevitable spillage.

I have a 3.5yo in my home daycare that will only drink milk out of a bottle. He will drink anything else from a cup, but *has* to have milk in a bottle. His mom drags that thing everywhere, and yes they do it in public. She tells me that they are getting rid of them January 1st, but she also said that about him turning three. (I don't bug her about it or anything - she brings it up on her own.)

I also have a 2.5yo who has bottles of milk at home, but will drink it out of a cup at my house.

And then I have a different 3.5yo who continually spills drinks all over him when I give him a cup, because his parents never give him chances to drink out of a cup at home - it is all about sippies. He is a developmentally normal kid, but is lacking this skill because they don't give him a chance.

Sometimes kids are ready to move on, but it is the parents that are afraid to push the issue and make it happen. When the two bottle kids started in my home they were used to being put to bed for their naps with bottles (I know - bad, bad, bad). I did it for a while because that is what they were used to but then a new provincial standard came out saying we weren't allowed to do it. So I slowly phased it out and after about a week they went to bed no problem, without bottles.

I didn't tell the parents until after I did this, because I knew they were going to freak out. And they did! I sent home a newsletter about odds and ends, and included the new "kids can't have food or drinks while going to bed" standard. The moms were so worried that there was no way their kid was going to bed without a bottle, and completely shocked when I said we already phased it out and everyone was fine. So I definitely think that a lot of the time it is more the parents than the kids.
I personally dont see a problem with a 2 year old still having a bottle. I can see a problem with the 3 year old your mentioned having one to bed and naps as that can start ruining their teeth with prolonged use. Thats strange that that child will only drink milk out of a bottle but everything else in a cup. I dont know what to think about that lol Your right when you said that there are parents that do it for thier own sanity, to make the child be quiet, they hand him/her a bottle or pacifier. I can see a sippy cup at dinner or outside the kitchen if there is issues with spillage. Hell, my daughter spills all the time and there are times I wish she used a sippy cup and she is 8! LOL I cant tell you how many koolaid stains I have had to get out of the carpet lol
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#9 of 82 Old 12-10-2009, 12:40 PM
 
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I don't necessarily have a problem with them since obviously some kids have a high suck need even as they get older and I certainly don't have a problem with an older child nursing. I have seen parents trying to shove a binky into the mouth of an older toddler who is upset at a store and that seems really inappropriate to me, clearly they are trying to use their words to express something and the parents are cramming something in their mouth to make them quiet. I also don't really understand older kids who just seem to always have a binky in their mouth even when they are happy and otherwise engaged but I only ever used it as a soothing/sleep tool in an under 1 year old.

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#10 of 82 Old 12-10-2009, 12:42 PM
 
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It bugs me when kids are talking around their pacifier (or thumb, or lovey they chew on, whatever) but that's the extent of my judgment. Parents should teach their child to take it out of their mouth so people can understand them talking. I was working at a fast food place one time and this little kid ordered with his thumb in his mouth and his grandpa yelled at me because I couldn't understand him. "Don't you understand ENGLISH!!??" were his exact words. Not garbled toddler thumb-sucking english, no.

1) Some kids are big for their age. We're talking 2 year olds that look 5. Unless you know the child is 6, you can't say "I've seen 6 year olds with pacifiers".

2) You can't always SEE medical/developmental problems. Enough said.

It's really not your problem so why worry? Maybe they'll have dental problems, maybe they won't. Maybe their friends will make fun of them, maybe they won't. Maybe the parents are lazy, maybe they've tried *everything* and have given up, defeated.

I've never seen a child older than about 3 with one, personally, but I do know of older kids who have just used them at bedtime.
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#11 of 82 Old 12-10-2009, 12:42 PM
 
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I really, really try hard not to judge other parents or other kids. Its hard, and I sometimes fail. I think we, as a society, put too much pressure on our children and ourselves and each other, and I don't want to contribute to that if I can at all help it. I know I feel badly when another person makes a judgement of what my child is doing when it really isn't hurting anyone, or makes a judgement of me, as a mom.
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#12 of 82 Old 12-10-2009, 12:50 PM
 
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I've never seen a child older than about 3 with a pacifier. If I saw a 6-year-old with one, I'd assume I didn't know all the circumstances involved, and mind my own business.
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#13 of 82 Old 12-10-2009, 12:55 PM
 
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I haven't read all the replies yet, but the three kids I know that had long term paci's have some major speech issues (all from different families). Now, I can't say for certain that the pac caused it, but it can change the way children speak if they constantly speak with it in their mouth because it changes the natural way the tongue moves and can cause a tongue thrust sound.

My main gripe about paci's is the germs that get all over them...blech! We chose not to do a paci with DS because he is always with me, but if there was some reason why we had to be seperated when he was an infant, I might have considered using one because infants really need to suck.

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#14 of 82 Old 12-10-2009, 01:01 PM
 
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My 22 mon old is a soother user. Mostly at night in the car and at home but he likes it to help comfort him when he is tired and sick when we go out. I tell him I can not understand him when he talks with it in his mouth. I would like him to wean from it before he starts losing his baby teeth.

My nephew has aspergers and he uses his soother to help him self regulate his emotions and when he is tired at home. He is 6.5 years old and I thing it is affecting the shape of his jaw (he use to have his soother in 24/7 till he was about 4) It's hard because it really helps him feel centred and is one of the few things he is attached to.

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#15 of 82 Old 12-10-2009, 01:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My 22 mon old is a soother user. Mostly at night in the car and at home but he likes it to help comfort him when he is tired and sick when we go out. I tell him I can not understand him when he talks with it in his mouth. I would like him to wean from it before he starts losing his baby teeth.

My nephew has aspergers and he uses his soother to help him self regulate his emotions and when he is tired at home. He is 6.5 years old and I thing it is affecting the shape of his jaw (he use to have his soother in 24/7 till he was about 4) It's hard because it really helps him feel centred and is one of the few things he is attached to.
Yes, especially with kids with Aspergers and Autism its very common to still have a pacifier when they are older. I do not know the reasoning behind it as I dont know any parent with a child with those disabilities. With your nephew, its not a habit at that point right? Its something he HAS to have in order to cope? I am guessing a child with Aspergers cant cope with stress like a normal child?
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#16 of 82 Old 12-10-2009, 03:17 PM
 
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It sort of annoys to me to see a toddler with a pacifier in his mouth because I feel like the parents are just trying to shut him up. And a baby without a pacifier is just cuter! But with that being said, I never by look or deed let that child or parent know I don't like it. It's just not my place.

I know when my BIL and SIL were having marital problems and were separated, my niece whispered to me that her mom let her have a pacifier at night. She was 5 yo. And that was okay. She needed some extra security and I totally got that. And I would never have wanted her to think I thought less of her for that. It was a tough time and I was happy she had something to help her through it.

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#17 of 82 Old 12-10-2009, 03:25 PM
 
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At night, whatever, but at age 3 or so I would start making rules like "the paci stays at home."
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#18 of 82 Old 12-10-2009, 03:29 PM
 
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Personally - as its a comfort thing, I think it should be up to the child when they see fit to no longer have a 'pacifier'.

I sucked on my fingers until I was 8 - and was made to stop. So I remember it very well and I remember what it was like to have that comfort and then to no longer have that. It is not something you can ever get back.

This never caused any problems to my teeth or speech. The whole teeth thing doesn't have much standing in my opinion. The only teeth problems I have seen on dummy users are ones that use very cheap non-orthodontic dummies. I didn't mind splashing out a bit of money for a decent dummy for my child to suck on. They look better too - not that that should matter...but I never got buying the clearly cheap ones at the pound shop.

I gave my son a dummy as he was a sucky baby - he couldn't find his fingers lol! (and he didn't milk either!)... Mostly he used it for sleepy times, but when he was teething he wanted it more often. So, as it was a comfort thing for him, I felt it was up to him when to give it up. He did of course - shortly after turning two ...perhaps this also coincided with the fact he had all of his teeth then - but he got his teeth fast, not all children have them all at two. His choice, no coercion - 100% up to him.

After having a 10 and half pound son who was not fat but just really long at birth and kept up with his size (everyone thought he was 5 at 2! lol) - I know you really can't judge a childs age based on their size either. My friend has the opposite - her DS is a year old but still in 3-6 month clothing! hehe

Bottles...well...we can't all be perfect lmao...But I wouldnt bat an eyelid at a 6 year old breastfeeding, so why should a bottle be any different? (I only cringe at juice and or coke, etc in a bottle...don't get me started lol)

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#19 of 82 Old 12-10-2009, 04:25 PM
 
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I've never seen a child older than about 3 with a pacifier. If I saw a 6-year-old with one, I'd assume I didn't know all the circumstances involved, and mind my own business.
Thank you.

My daughter was 5 when she gave up her paci. She only had it at night, but she needed it.

She was a NICU baby that was in a drug induced coma for weeks. She tried to suck on the tube that was in her throat (her vent). She had a very strong suck need, and she was never able to nurse. We chose to take it away very gently, and child led. That means that it took until she was 5.

Why is it anyone's buisness?
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#20 of 82 Old 12-10-2009, 04:47 PM
 
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I don't believe in forcefully taking child's paci or bottle away. Why on earth would I take away something that is comforting to my child when they obviously still need it?

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#21 of 82 Old 12-10-2009, 04:49 PM
 
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Well, would you be shocked at 5 year old nursing? Why then, the shock at a 5 year old using a bottle?

For the record, dd was breastfed until she turned 4. Much to the horror of most of the moms in the neighborhood. Dd is highly verbal so she told everyone when we stopped nursing. I weaned her at 4 because after 4 years of constant sleep interruption, I needed SLEEP.

Guess what? About 3 months later, she found some old bottles in the back of the cupboard. About once a week now, she'll ask for milk in a bottle. Who am I to argue?

I sucked my thumb into my teens. It was a sensory/comfort thing.

So, while I would choose not to let my 5 1/2 year old run around without a bottle, I'm going to give any parent who does a free pass. Who knows what else is going on in their lives that's made this a battle they don't want to fight.

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#22 of 82 Old 12-10-2009, 04:53 PM
 
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My nephew has aspergers and he uses his soother to help him self regulate his emotions and when he is tired at home. He is 6.5 years old and I thing it is affecting the shape of his jaw (he use to have his soother in 24/7 till he was about 4) It's hard because it really helps him feel centred and is one of the few things he is attached to.
I'm also aspie, i am 29 and i suck my thumb to calm down/comfort/whatever. I have never had any dental or medical issues from it. I do have a callous on my thumb where my lower teeth rest. My parents tried a lot to get me to stop, but if i didn't suck i had to self-harm to regulate instead. To me it's harmless and i could not care less if people see me and my DD sucking our thumbs on the bus at the end of a tiring/stressful day and think we're weird/bad people.
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#23 of 82 Old 12-10-2009, 05:03 PM
 
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Well, would you be shocked at 5 year old nursing? Why then, the shock at a 5 year old using a bottle?
Agreed.

My husband and I were having this very same discussion just last night, he was concerned about what relatives would say when they see our son with a bottle. Our 26 month old still drinks his milk out of a bottle at night before bed. The bottle was a nursing replacement since I got pregnant when he was 16 months old and still nursing. We weaned him at 19 months because I have a history of pregnancy complications. We are gently phasing him away from the bottle but I am not going to push it too hard. Sure won't be doing anything traumatic like cold turkey.
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#24 of 82 Old 12-10-2009, 05:08 PM
 
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DD never used a pacifier. I don't like seeing parents stick it in a crying babies mouth just to get him or her to be quiet without addressing what's wrong with the baby. To each his or her own to do what they want with their child but I prefer to not have a 6 year old speak to me with a pacifier in his mouth. Take it out if you're asking for something or trying to have a conversation with someone.

I carry 19 month old DD in a baby carrier and people think she's "too big" and "too old" for it. We all have our different ways of parenting our children. What I think is odd is perfectly normal for someone else.
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#25 of 82 Old 12-10-2009, 05:46 PM
 
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Really, really not your business what other parents let their children use for comfort objects. Why would you care?
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#26 of 82 Old 12-10-2009, 05:56 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bandgeek View Post
1) Some kids are big for their age. We're talking 2 year olds that look 5. Unless you know the child is 6, you can't say "I've seen 6 year olds with pacifiers".

2) You can't always SEE medical/developmental problems. Enough said.

It's really not your problem so why worry? Maybe they'll have dental problems, maybe they won't. Maybe their friends will make fun of them, maybe they won't. Maybe the parents are lazy, maybe they've tried *everything* and have given up, defeated.

I've never seen a child older than about 3 with one, personally, but I do know of older kids who have just used them at bedtime.
That exactly. I see bottles and pacifiers are comfort items. My 3.5 year old is fairly obsessed with his blankie and I'd never dream of taking that away. If he'd been attached to a bottle, I wouldn't take that away either. I know bottles/pacifiers and blankets are different things and blankets don't cause dental issues, but still. My oldest gave up his bottle at 18 months and never had a pacifier and has a mouthful of dental issues.
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#27 of 82 Old 12-10-2009, 06:10 PM
 
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for my kids they were no longer allowed to use the paci during waking hours at about a year and no longer while sleeping around the age of two. sippy cups were banned at about three. they still have water bottles all the time but only water is allowed in them.

I think we do our children a disservice when allow comfort items to be come bad habits and crutches. it was hard work breaking my kids of the binky habit and teaching them new, healthier ways of falling asleep, and curing boredom but it was worth it. My dd needed a lot of orthadontic work but fortunately it was all simple streightening and making room. I can only imagine how bad it would have been if she had been allowed to suck on her pacifier 24/7 for another 2-4 years. and she would not have given it up on her own. She would have been one of those kids who pops it out to say what they need to say and then popped it back in. I won't lie. i do a little internal freak out every time the neighbor girl does this.

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#28 of 82 Old 12-10-2009, 07:34 PM
 
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I'm planning to wean DD from the paci at 9 months and be completely over it by 12 months. Between 12 and 15 months is serious bottle weaning time.

I'm in the minority here, but 5 yo is way too old for my LO to still be nursing.

First-time mama due on Dec 3rd 2009!
Update: Baby girl born Nov 19th!
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#29 of 82 Old 12-10-2009, 07:45 PM
 
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You know, some of us are offended with the same type of question re: breastfeeding. "When will your kid give that?" "Isn't your kid too old for breastfeeding?" "Why does your kid need to do that?" For the older kids, generally speaking (of course there are exceptions), they nurse for comfort. I imagine that kids with pacifiers and bottles use them for the same reason. While I would find it odd to see a 5 or 6 or 7 yo with a paci in their mouth, I certainly wouldn't judge the parent for it. Just like so many of us, we do what we think it best for our kids; of course you're going to have the lazy parent, but for the most part I think that's the exception.

I think extended breastfeeding is the way to go. My best friend refused to give a paci because she didn't want to feed the need to suck (of course she became a human paci later on, LOL!). My neighbor gave her kid a paci until he was almost 4 because she didn't nurse and felt bad taking away that comfort. He obviously felt some attachment to it, you know?

Anyway, I liken this discussion to the compaints we hear about extended breastfeeding.
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#30 of 82 Old 12-10-2009, 07:45 PM
 
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I have seen many "studies" dispute this, but what I'm about to say is the truth. My niece, who is almost 30 now, took a pacifier for YEARS and learned to talk around it. She has permanent palate damage. Now, back then maybe the pacifiers were harder than they are today, but this really did happen. She still has a speech impediment that was blamed on her 6 year pacifier habit.

Other than these extreme cases, I don't really care much about what age they are still using them. None of my business. I just cannot stand when a kid is trying to talk to me and talks to me around it. Young kids are hard enough to understand. Other than that... not my business.

FTR - we didn't want dd to ever get into the habit. I didn't want her relying on it and I happened to have one breast that produced MUCH less (I was really a one-sided nurser) and she was able to comfort nurse the first few months without getting much milk from that side, so I had a natural pacifier.
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