Interview with Dr. D'Alesio of Bye Bye Binky

This blog post taken from to discuss the finer points of the pacifier weaning system and its benefits.

Ok, so let me start by saying how freaking cool the Lily Pacifier Weaning System is! I mean the pacifier is my best friend annnnd worst nightmare all rolled into one rubber nipple.


So what is the deal with sucking and why do babies want to do it the second they pop outta ya?

Non-nutritive sucking habits (the medical term that describes an infant’s need to suck for comfort) can be seen as early as 13 weeks of the pregnancy. You know. You’ve seen it- those adorable ultrasounds with the thumb in the mouth! So, yes, infants have an innate need to suck. This sucking reflex is most prominent during the first few months after birth, but can be present for up to a year. Babies do this as a way to calm and comfort themselves. Some babies master being able to self-soothe easier than others, so if your child really likes the pacifiers or thumb…well, let’s just say that they are already advanced at a young age!

I mean clearly I don’t want my 16-year-old son to have to remove his pacifier right before he gets his first kiss, but overall what do you think of pacifiers for our little ones? Are they a good thing or a bad thing?

As a pediatric dentist and mom, I LOVE PACIFIERS!!! As a mom, the #1 reason why I wanted my kids to use a pacifier is because more and more recent studies have shown that pacifiers help reduce the risk of SIDS. The other reason why I love the pacifier is because it can help calm your child down. As a pediatric dentist, I would much rather have a child sucking a pacifier versus sucking their thumb. You can get rid of the pacifier (especially now with the Lily Method), but you can’t get rid of the thumb!

At what age should parents consider getting rid of the pacifier and why? I don’t want to put you outta business here, but when is THE PERFECT time to pull the plug ( no pun intended)?

Ideal age to get the child off the pacifier is by the age of 1. The sucking reflex is not as strong as it was at birth. Speech pathologists recommend it by this time to help aid in proper speech. Dentists recommend it by the age of 1 to avoid dental arch malformations. ENT doctors recommend it by this age to help decrease the chance of ear infections. Personally, as a mom, I also think the longer you wait the harder it is to wean your child.

Are there certain types or brands of pacifiers that are better than others?

Let’s just say, if I saw your child as a patient, I would be able to not only tell that your child is a pacifier user, but I could tell you what brand of pacifier your child is using. I see the most detrimental dental changes with the Soothie pacifier. All of my kids loved the Soothie in the hospital, but I quickly transitioned them to the Nuk style pacifiers that have the orthodontic bend in the nipple.  

So, my best gal pal was about 22 hours into being a new mama and was purposely withholding giving her babe the pacifier for fear that breastfeeding wouldn’t work if she gave in when all this kid wanted to do was suck! These lactation ladies really put the pressure on! Poor baby and poor Mama! I hear so many mixed opinions on this, what do you think?

Personally, I successfully breastfed all four of my girls and they were all given a pacifier within 24 hours of being born. Also, a new research article from Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) stopped routinely giving binkies to breastfed newborns in hopes to increases their exclusively breastfeed babies from 80% to 90%. After tracking 2,249 babies born between June 2010 and August 2011, they noted that exclusive breast-feeding dropped from 79% of infants between July and November 2010 to 68% between January to August 2011.

 I encourage the pacifier.

Tell me about taking my kiddos to the dentist. What should parents expect? When should you go for the first time? Is there a way to prepare the tiny humans?

The American Academy of Pediatrics and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend seeing a dentist BY THE AGE OF 1. A pediatric dentist will review your oral health routine, evaluate your child’s teeth and gums, discuss your child’s diet and also brushing and fluoride use. You can prepare your child by reading to them about going to the dentist or even take them with you when you go to see your dentist, so they can follow your positive lead.

Hands down best teething remedy you have up your sleeve?

POPSICLES! Anything cold feels great on the gums. Other treatment remedies include oral analgesics or teething toys. Use of over-the-counter teething gels are discouraged due to potential toxicity of these products in infants. 

Biggest teething myth out there?

There are many myths out there associated with teething such as fever, difficulty sleeping, fussiness, drooling, nasal congestion, and diarrhea. Personally, though, with my girls they ALWAYS had diarrhea within 10 days of the teeth poking through the gums. Whenever I had to stock up on Butt Paste, I knew a tooth would be coming in soon!  

If you had to pick one food or drink out there to have your kids avoid what would it be?

JUICE. Parents don’t realize how bad it is for the teeth especially when advertisements are saying “healthy” or “100% fruit juice”.   I only recommend water and plain white milk to drink on a daily basis. Special occasions, such as birthday parties, are when my kids can have juice or other sweet drinks.

I don’t know who this Elmo guy thinks he is and why he has SO MUCH pull with my daughter, but he does, and he happens to be the reason my daughter now allows us to brush her teeth (brushy brush video), but if other kids don’t have a small obsession with this red creature, what would you suggest? Any good tricks when you first start brushing your kid's teeth?

Start early! Before teeth erupt, use a soft cloth to wipe the child’s gums. Once the first tooth erupts, the child should be using a tooth brush.

I always recommend the parent brush their child’s teeth first and then let the child play with the toothbrush AFTER the brushing is complete. Start a routine early and your child will know what to expect.

What is the deal with fluoride? Is it bad for little ones? I mean it IS in our drinking water, but why do we avoid it at a young age and then want it when they get older?

Everything in moderation. Too much of anything is not good for you (even too much water can be bad for you). Recent studies are showing the topical fluorides, such as mouthwashes and toothpastes, are better than the systemic fluoride or fluoride supplements. There is caution with young children because you don’t want them to ingest excessive amounts of fluoride, but once a child can swish and spit, I recommend a mouthwash with fluoride in it. It truly does help in the prevention of cavities.   

So, you’re the expert and I am clearly NOT, but if all my babe’s baby teeth are just going to fall out why does it matter how well we take care of them, besides the obvious (stinky breath)?

The baby teeth serve the purpose of maintaining space for the permanent teeth and also aid with chewing.   It is so important to maintain a healthy smile because unfortunately cavities can become a life-threatening infection if not treated.

One of my daughter’s besties was playing outside and knocked her tooth out. She happened to be with Grandma at the time and good ole Grams popped the tooth in some milk and rushed off to a pediatric dentist. The dentist said this was the BEST thing she could have done to save the tooth! What do you think? Did Grams do the right thing?

I am so impressed with Grams. She absolutely did the right thing! (As long as this was a permanent tooth. Baby teeth can just go right to the tooth fairy). Placing the tooth in milk will increase the chance of survival for the tooth once it is reimplanted in the child’s mouth. One other better recommendation would have been to place the tooth back in the tooth socket and hold it in place until the dentist was able to stabilize the tooth….but you would want to make sure Grams doesn’t pass out!

Thank you so much for chatting with me about this annnnd giving my readers a chance to win the AMAZEBALLS Lily Pacifier Weaning System!


Dr. Alene D’Alesio is a Board Certified Pediatric Dentist and a mom of 4 girls (ages 6 and under)! who all loved the pacifier.  She is the Program Director at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh’s Dental Residency Program.  After struggling to get her first daughter off the pacifier, she knew there had to be an easier way for this transition, and that’s when she invented the Lily Method.