Ahhh, the pacifier! What would us parents do with out it! It’s so easy to just put that pacifier in your baby’s mouth and hear harmony’s of peace and silence. BUT! It’s a nightmare when taking that pacifier back! Here are 6 tips for weaning your child off the pacifier smoothly!
Yes! We like smooth here…
The pacifier provides hours of soothing and sucking comfort for your baby. But there comes a point in your baby’s life when it must go. When should your little one lose the pacifier? And what’s the best way to do so?
It’s best to wean your child off the pacifier by the age of two. That way your child won’t suffer any long-term damage to their teeth. After the age of two, problems including slanting teeth can begin to occur. Further studies suggest a child might be less likely to practice making sounds and words when they have a pacifier in their mouth, plus the act of sucking on the soother might cause the tongue and lip muscles to develop abnormally.
What are the methods used for weaning your child off the pacifier?
#1 is the method I used to wean my baby off the pacifier. If this method doesn’t work for you, don’t worry. I’ve compiled a list of 5 more amazing tips on top of mine – that surely will help your little one wean off the pacifier.
1. Cut the pacifier
Cut the tip. Just cut it!. Your baby’s reaction is going to be so cute. He will look so confused as to what happened. I pretended the tip was lost. We went on a hunt to look for it around the house. My little one was just shocked!
The basic principle of this method is that you cut the tip of the pacifier off and gradually your child will get used to the cut pacifier and then eventually let go.
Cutting the tip disables the sucking power of the pacifier. Please be aware that altering a pacifier could make it a choking hazard if the pieces come apart.
This method doesn’t work straight away.
HAVE BACKUP DUMMIES!
When I cut the tip of the pacifier, at first he didn’t cry. It was only when he couldn’t find the missing tip, his tantrum came on. I gave him a new pacifier (look alike with same design) just to ease him into falling asleep.
We repeated this method on day 2 WITHOUT giving him the new pacifier in replacement. He cried a little but eventually stopped. He would suck on the broken one instead, until he got tired.
Cut pacifiers are NOT easy to suck. I’ll say this again, please ensure there are no uncut pieces that can hurt your child’s mouth or cause choking.
Day 3 – he cradled his cut pacifier and kept it in his hand thinking it would reform or something. Knowing that his pacifier friend could no longer sooth his needs, on day 4 Mr.pacifier made his way to the bin.
Proud mummy moment if I say so myself!
Now it always wont be that easy. Your little one will throw tantrums when they can’t have the pacifier. But you have to stay strong and adamant in your ways. It’s only a few days of nagging before they realise they can do things without it.
Related: What to pack in your hospital bag. The must haves ONLY!
More tips to wean your child off the pacifier….
2. Make It Unappealing To Taste
If your little one is very attached to his pacifier, you could make the soother extremely unappealing. One way to do this, dip the pacifiers in lemon juice or vinegar; the terrible taste could turn them off the pacifier for good.
My sister used the chilli method. She would dip his pacifier in chilli herbs before giving it him. Only small amounts so they don’t cause choking or other reactions. This method worked for her.
3. Go Cold Turkey
Letting them cry it out might be the best option for some. It might take a rough couple of days, but then the attachment to the pacifier is over.
I wouldn’t recommend this method to begin with, considering there are more kind and gentle ways to ditch the pacifier once and for all.
Your little one treasures their pacifier, so be sure to treat it like a good friend to whom you must bid a fond farewell too. Your child’s pacifier is like it’s first best friend. To whom they turn to when sad. Children automatically feel soothed at the sight of it. So we must ensure it gets a nice sending off!
4. Get Everyone Involved
Let all the house members know the plan. This includes all caregivers. Make sure they are aware of your plans for the pacifier. You want the message and experience regarding the pacifier to be consistent at home, at daycare, and at grandma’s, or you’ll risk confusing your child.
It would be painful to be weaning your child effectively and then have dad put the pacifier back in child’s mouth because they didn’t know the plan.
5. Offer Alternative Comforts
When you first take away the pacifier from your child, you’ll probably need to think of other soothing ways. Rocking them, soft singing, snuggly stuffed animal and plenty of cuddles are some ways you can help ease your baby’s discomfort.
I didn’t give my second baby the pacifier. So instead she used a soft snuggly stuffed animal for soothing. It’s so cute watching her cuddle up to elli (the elephant toy) when shes tired.
You can try slowly weaning your little one off of her pacifier. This method is longer that the others – can take 1-4 weeks.
Start by giving it only at nap-time and bedtime. After a couple of weeks, stop offering it at nap-time. If your little one fusses, try giving them a cuddly toy instead, or comfort them through rocking and other soothing gestures as mentioned above.
At nights you can just remove it from the crib after your child is asleep and has spit it out.
6. Give Them Away – This method works more for older children
Use imagination – children love imagining and this is a great age to do so. When your child is old enough to understand you (mostly by the age of 2) you can use this method with them.
Use reasoning with your little ones. You could explain to your child that she is now a big girl and doesn’t need it anymore. She could help another baby out there who needs it more than her, to stop crying.
Do a little activity with your little one where they can prepare to give the pacifier away. Engage with your little one in decorating a box and then gathering up all of the pacifiers and placing them inside. Be sure to offer a lot of praise and a small gift to your child for being such a kind and generous “big kid.”
Another fun way to say goodbye to the pacifier for older children is, you can stage a visit from the Pacifier Fairy. Just like the Tooth fairy comes and takes a tooth in return for a coin, you could do something similar where in return of the pacifier your child gets a toy. How exciting!
At what age did your child let go of the pacifier? Leave me a comment below.