Pacifiers are the perfect lifesavers for moms with fussy babies. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. Risks of pacifier use outweigh the benefits the older a child gets. When it's time to banish the binky, try these hacks to get your baby to say bye-bye to their pacifier without falling apart.
Timing is everything
Typically pacifier habits are broken between 12 months and 3 years old. The Mayo Clinic staff encourages pacifier use for newborns to six or 12 months old at nap time and bedtime to help decrease the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). After 12 months, children begin to develop attachment to things making it harder to kick the pacifier to the curb.
Avoid "paci" weaning during life changing events such as moving, going to a new daycare, potty training or having a new baby. Waiting too long to break the habit could cause impaired speech and language development as well as future dental problems. Talk with your pediatrician and also your spouse about when you feel is the right time to take away the pacifiers.
Prepare your child by telling them things they will get to do as they get older. Explain that pacifiers are for babies, and they are growing up to be a big kid. In a week's time, it is going to be time to say goodbye to their binky. Remind them twice a day during the week. When the week is over, make it a special event like burying it and planting a seed with it. This way, they will get to watch a plant grow just like they are growing.
Going cold turkey is effective, but it takes great deal of consistency and patience on your part. Take all the pacifiers away, and don't give them back. If you stay strong and don't give in, your child will be pacifier free within a week or two.
This method might take more time than others, but might be easier on you and your child. Gradually take the binky away a little at a time until it disappears all together. Slowly restrict when your child can have them (only at home, only in the bedroom, only during naps, etc).
Make them taste bad
Dip the pacifier in lemon juice or vinegar to make it taste unappealing. Your child will spit it out and beg you to take it away before too long.
Out of sight, out of mind
Simply remove all pacifiers from sight and reach from your toddler. They will start to forget about it if it's not readily available to them.
Many mothers cut the tip off of the binky to make it unpleasant to suck on, however once a part of the pacifier is demolished, it could fall apart and be a chocking hazard. If you choose to use this method, simply show the child it is broken and now must be thrown away.
Go shopping and replace it
Find a new toy or blanket to take the pacifier's place. Take the child shopping, allow them to pick something out and let them "pay" for the new toy at the register with their pacifier in exchange for their new toy.
Read a book
Find a "bye bye binky book", and read it to them. There are several children's books that may help them relate to their own situation and prepare for pacifier parting.
If it is time for your child to part with their pacifier, explain to your child that there are babies that need pacifiers and don't have any. Help your child give them to a baby that doesn't have one. Mail it or give it to them personally.
Have a visit from the Paci Pixie
Help your child box up their pacifiers and leave them for the Paci Pixie to pick up. After the child goes to sleep, throw away or donate the box of pacifiers and leave a toy in their place. It is the same idea as the tooth fairy but with pacifiers.
Wean yourself off the pacifier
Pacifiers are a saving grace for some mothers. You have to mentally prepare yourself to wean your child. It takes patience and determination. When they cry, you can't just give them their paci. You can do it!
Know the importance of a binky
Sucking provides babies a way to calm themselves. If they don't suck on a pacifier, they will suck on a thumb, finger, a bottle or a breast.
Pediatrician Karen Breach from North Carolina says a pacifier can help satisfy a baby's need for soothe-sucking to give mom a needed break. "If a baby needs to nurse more than every two hours, he's using mom as a pacifier," said Breach.
There is a time and a place for pacifiers. Pacifier habits will eventually fade. Whatever method you chose to use, be resilient. It may be a miserable five nights for some parents, but it will pass. You've come this far. Don't give in now!