Pacifier weaning is a parenting challenge that I’m often asked about. Pacifiers, also known as soothers, Nuks, paci’s and dummies (depending on your location in the world) can be a real blessing when your infant is young. Eventually though, for many parents, the day comes when they want their child to give up this much-loved comfort item. Often though, the thought of it is stressful enough to keep parents from even trying to wean their child off the pacifier. I know; I’ve seen it time and time again with the families I’ve worked with over the years.
Well, don’t stress, Mama. If you’re thinking it’s time for your little one to give up the soother, I have suggestions that will help to make it as stress-free as possible. I recently asked my Facebook followers for their advice on the topic, and I’ve gathered up their best tips and tricks!
Child with soother via Shutterstock
First of all, let me say that there was an outpouring of support for continuing to use the pacifier, and letting the child decide when to give it up.
- One reader said “Our doctor told us that babies like their pacifiers just like we like to use our own pillows.” It is comforting, so wait until they are over one year of age to remove it.
- They are used to protect again sids.
- Most babies like pacifiers, because they do actually pacify and calm the child. However, if your baby is waking numerous times a night, rather than just popping the soother back in, you should see if your child is actually hungry.
- If your baby loses his his pacifier in the night, try leaving several in the crib. That way, they can just reach and grab another one.
But if you’ve decided that it’s well and truly time to say “bye-bye binky”, read on…
HOW TO MAKE PACIFIER WEANING AS STRESS-FREE AS POSSIBLE:
(each of the following points come from our awesome readers that have been there…)
- Use the soother only at night time: Have a small bowl in the corner of their crib. Teach your child to put the pacifiers in it when they get out of bed. This helps with the transition of only using them for sleep. It also helps them to know where to find the pacifiers if they wake up at night. Make sure there are several in the bowl before going to sleep.
- Snip a small hole in the tip of the soother. When your child sucks on it, it won’t work, and you can say it’s broken.
- You could try by allowing the pacifier only rest time and bed time
- Send it to the “pacifier fairy”, and replace it with a special gift
- As soon as your child is asleep, remove the pacifier from it his/her mouth.
- Put them up on the highest shelf, so YOU can’t get them easily while weaning.
- Expect that the first few days might be difficult (don’t give in in the first 3 days, and you’ll likely break the habit)
- Rub his back or his tummy when he/she starts to fuss while sleeping, often he will stop crying without ever having actually woken up.
- Once they are old enough to have blankets in their bed, provide snuggly blankets with holes in them (knitted blankets) so he/she can breathe well, but still comfort herself/himself. Go into her room when she cries, but don’t turn on the lights. Pat her back, hand her the blankie and go out. This will take about three nights.
- Use a noise machine to help keep them asleep (the noise soothes them)
- Tell them that the cat/dog took it.
- A very popular trend is to have the pacifier sewn into a stuffed animal.
- Consider waiting to get rid of the pacifier until they are old enough to give up nap time, as nap time is usually associated with “soother time”.
- Try Essential oils. Use a drop or two Young Living Valor on their socks or on a stuffed animal or blanket that they sleep with.
- Buy a very special toy they can have during nap time with them – a new princess toy or superhero toy that is great for snuggling.
- Give them a cup of warm milk before bedtime.
- Put a nightlight in their room, and allow them to have a special pillow instead, if they are old enough for this.
- Try a sticker chart. Give them a sticker each time that wake up in the morning without crying at bedtime.
- Read books, such as (affiliate links) Bye Bye Binky by Brigette Weninger or Be a Gives Up Her Pacifier by Jenny Album.
- Cut off the tops completely, and let them hold the plastic part of the pacifier.
- Let them listen to a book on tape, before bed, to help them focus on the book and not the pacifier.
Lastly, here are some board books that your child may enjoy, and that might help prepare your child for giving up the pacifier for good:
Hopefully one of these suggestions will help to make pacifier weaning a brief and stress-free transition for your child.
Kristina from Toddler Approved has also has a post full of tips for why, when and how to help your child give up the soother. Pop over, and check it out!
In the end, just remember to be patient. Remember that whatever you decide to do is YOUR decision and you need to do what works best for your family.