by Lisa Henley
As a parent of a toddler, you already know how important weaning from a pacifier is going to be down the road—if not now itself. And if this is your first child, you are now warned: it often ain’t easy!
Both babies and toddlers find comfort in pacifiers; they are smoothing to suckle, just like Mommy’s breast was for babies who were breastfed. Pacifiers also give them something to focus on to keep calm, and can even help with teething.
That’s why many parents ready to give up after a few attempts at weaning their child from a pacifier. After all, it’s not likely that their child will pose for her high school grad photo with a pacifier still perched between her lips. Not doing a darn thing sure sounds like a good plan in theory, but in reality it’ll only make weaning from the pacifier that much harder. Some studies have even shown that pacifiers can negatively influence the alignment of teeth and speech development, if used too long. Too much of a good thing can be bad!
Whatever your reasons for wanting to take away your child’s “boo boo,” continue reading on for a few tips that have helped other parents just like you.
1.) Trade your child’s pacifier for another soothing object, like a special blanket or teddy bear. This may work because, as previously stated, babies and toddlers use their pacifiers as soothing mechanisms. They may even like your soft and cuddly trade far better!
2.) Cut a very small hole in the tip of your child’s pacifier. This will make it harder for them to suck on it, since the air flowing through the hole makes true suction impossible. That, in turn, will likely make sucking on the pacifier far less enjoyable.
3.) Put a ceiling on pacifier time. Some children have pacifiers in their mouths most of the time, while others only need one before bedtime or naptime. Regardless of current usage, offer the pacifier to your child less. This tip gets your child started on a new habit. And while the first few days may be hard, soon they’ll realize they don’t actually need as much, especially if they’ve now got a fuzzy bear to snuggle with instead (see the first tip above).
4.) Leave the pacifier at home. Never bring the pacifier with you when you leave home. This way, your child doesn’t even have a choice to suck on it. Just make sure to have a backup strategy in case your kid decides to throw a tantrum!
5.) Offer rewards. Positive incentives are powerful parenting tools, so offer your child something when she’s able to fall asleep at night make it through a nap without it.
What to offer? Rewards can be something as simple as a favorite food, a new coloring book or a gold star on a wall chart. Be creative, but be sure to save the “biggest” reward for when your child is 100% pacifier free. That will be your child’s crowning achievement.
Of course, these are only a few of many tips you could test out to finally wean your child from her pacifier, but they are proven to work. It’d be a mistake to think any are too simplistic to work. Weaning from a pacifier doesn’t have to be hard!