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My Five-Year-Old Still Uses a Pacifier

Yup. You read that right. I let my 5-year-old use a pacifier. Cue the judgment.

Why?

I mean, does it really matter why I let her? Does it affect your personal life so much that she still uses one that causes judgment?

The obvious answer is no. I don’t owe anyone an explanation about why I allow my daughter to use a pacifier. Is it something that I’ve discussed with her pediatric dentist? Yes. Is it something that I’ve discussed with her father? Yes. Is it something that I talk to her about? Yes.

And those are the only opinions that matter.

But, what about her teeth?

Great question! And I made sure to ask her dentist. I wanted to know all the pros and cons of allowing her to take a pacifier. And guess what? My daughter was right there in the middle of that conversation. But surely there isn’t a single pro that outweighs any of the cons? 

That’s where you are wrong. Yes, using a pacifier for a prolonged time can cause the child’s teeth to become crooked, create an overbite, and cause the roof of the mouth to misshapen. But, while many of these issues can be frustrating to have, they can be corrected.

You don’t have to be a thumb-sucker or pacifier lover to have these issues either. For example, one of my sons is currently dealing with a mouth full of crooked teeth, and not once did he take a pacifier or his thumb. Of course, I do not want to cause damage to her teeth and create a situation where she might have to undergo procedures to fix the issues in the future – that’s why she sees her dentist, and we monitor these issues.

My daughter has reached an age where she naturally goes without her pacifier for prolonged periods. It was always in her mouth (slight exaggeration) as a toddler, but she is naturally weaning herself off it. There are even days when she doesn’t even use it. We don’t buy them if she chews the end off or loses them.

Her pacifier is her comfort, and as her mother, I’m okay with her still using it.

Shouldn’t she learn to comfort herself without her pacifier?

Another great question! And the answer is yes! Did you know that just because she may use a pacifier to comfort herself doesn’t mean it’s the only way she can calm herself down? Most of the time, when she is upset, she doesn’t even want her pacifier. She wants to go to her bedroom to be by herself to cry. Also, we use the finger-to-nose calm down method. Sometimes, when she is having a tough time calming down, whether from being upset or overly hyper, I ask her to put her finger on her nose, and we take in big breathes and let them out. At nighttime, when she is super sleepy, she’ll rub my ear to help herself fall asleep. Just because someone may see her with a pacifier doesn’t mean she’s using it all the time.
Like with all good things, moderation is key.

So, while you might see a child with a pacifier and begin to judge the parents, maybe you should take inventory of your own parenting choices.

Does your kid watch a little bit too much T.V.? Maybe your kid doesn’t read enough or isn’t read too.

The list can go on, and it doesn’t matter how long it is because it’s your child, and you get to decide how to raise them. Sure, judging is natural, but it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have better inner dialogue towards other parents. Parenting is hard. It doesn’t matter if you are a first-time mom or raising a teenager. Parenting is complex, and isn’t it about time we start giving each other more credit than judgment?

So, yes, my five-year-old still uses a pacifier from time to time. And, no, it’s none of your concern.

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