One Year Olds Still Need to Suck (month12_971)

Baby's First Year

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One Year Olds Still Need to Suck

12 Month Old Babies

You may think now that your little one is 12 months old, she doesn't need to suck a pacifier or thumb any more. Not so!

Studies show the second year of life is the peak time for sucking. By 2 1/2 years-old, most children suck less and begin to give up the habit all by themselves.

Sucking a pacifier or a thumb will not hurt a child's teeth if it stops before the second teeth come in at age 6.

Why do children like to suck? Because it's calming, and it helps them relieve stress. A study of 12 month olds found that when their moms left them with a pacifier in a room full of toys, they stayed longer, explored more and played with more toys than children without pacifiers.

Sucking also helps a baby sleep. Noises and things that would wake a child just make her suck harder.

Try to understand and respect your child's need to be comforted by sucking or by keeping a favorite toy or blanket nearby. Your patience will help your child give up these habits on her own, when she is ready.

Photo Credit - USDA Photo by Ken Hammond

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