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Bottles and Pacifiers


There is not a set time or age when you have to take these away. Many doctors tell their patients not to give the bottle or pacifier past 1 year of age because they do not trust the parent not to do certain things with them.

The bottle can be given past 1 year old if you do not put them to bed with it and do not let them walk around all day with it in their mouth. You have seen the child walking around with it dangling in their teeth. Do not put them in bed with a bottle or any container with juice or milk. It will rot out their teeth quickly. Then the child has to be put to sleep to cap their teeth. Actually the sippy cup and the plastic tumbler that has the lid and swivel spout is a bottle. It is a bottle with a plastic space-age nipple. It is a container with a spout you suck on. So you do not have the child off the "bottle" until they are on an open cup. Continue the bottle as long as you want but be consistent with the times and places. It is usually 2 or 3 times a day. The 1-2 year olds especially like it in the morning when you are getting dressed and being rocked in the evening with a bottle. When it is time to take it completely away, then do it cold turkey and the reaction is very short.

The pacifier can be given even to 4 years old but again controlled use. After 1 year old, it should be in bed, in the car, or church. Do not let them walk around with it in their mouth. It will mess up their teeth and speech. If you take it away too soon, they will start sucking their thumb and you can not control that. Then by 18-24 months, it should be bed and naps only. But they can take it to bed till 4 years old, and that is not bad if they have it for security in a dark room with out parent. When you decide to take it away, then do it cold turkey again.

Do not give it more often or start using it again after taken away, just because they are sick. You do not let them do other no-no's just because they are ill. Be consistent with the rules. You should not give them candy or let them watch bad TV shows because they cry all day. Stay firm as to when they can use the bottle and pacifier.

Dr. Knapp