Actress Kate Hudson regularly shares snippets of her life as a mom of three on Instagram. But she just released a simple photo of herself and her nearly 3-year-old daughter Rani that brought out the parenting police.
In the picture, the Oscar winner can be seen holding Rani in what looks like her nursery. Hudson is wearing sunglasses and her daughter has a pacifier in her mouth as they both look at the camera. Hudson kept the caption simple, adding a flower emoji.
Some commenters were very focused on Rani's pacifier.
"I totally adore you from the day you were born… please take the pacifier away from your precious daughter…. Her teeth are being compromised… " one wrote.
"Take the pacifier away, that child's mouth is already jacked up," another commenter said. "A pacifier and a cage," someone else commented, seemingly referencing Rani's crib in the background. "Time to grow little girl, you are 3," they added.
While Hudson hasn't publicly commented on the criticism, it's understandable to wonder how old is considered too old for a pacifier.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) warns that there can be consequences if children use pacifiers beyond age 2. "If your child sucks strongly on a pacifier or his thumb or fingers beyond 2 to 4 years of age, this behavior may affect the shape of his mouth or how his teeth are lining up," the organization says online. "If your child stops sucking on a pacifier or his thumb or fingers before his permanent front teeth come in, there's a good chance his bite will correct itself. However, if the bite does not correct itself and the upper adult teeth are sticking out, orthodontic treatment may be needed to realign the teeth and help prevent broken front teeth."
There are benefits to using pacifiers for babies, though — the AAP says that they can help reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). "I actually love them, for a limited period of time," Dr. Gina Posner, a pediatrician at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, Calif., tells Yahoo Life.
But, she says, it's important to wean children before they're too old. "If you use them past a certain age, they can alter your jaw structure," Posner says. "I have also seen kids have speech delay if they have them in their mouth all the time."
Dr. Danelle Fisher, chair of pediatrics at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif., tells Yahoo Life that she recommends that her patients stop using pacifiers by 12 to 18 months. "Pacifiers can be useful for non-nutritive sucking in infants, but after about 6 months of age, the babies lose that need," she says. After that, pacifiers are "great for a comfort object but prolonged use can cause pressure on the jaw and lead to more orthodontic problems in childhood."
if you want to wean your child off of their pacifier, the AAP recommends praising or rewarding your child when they don't use the pacifier, using star charts, daily rewards and gentle reminders to keep your child from sucking. If your child tends to use the pacifier out of boredom, the AAP suggests keeping their hands busy or distracting them to minimize use.
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