In those early days of little sleep and the never-ending struggle to try to keep your little one content, it’s no secret that a “pacy” is a godsend. Many parents use the pacifier to soothe their new baby and swear by its comforting effect, but once the child becomes accustomed to using the pacifier, it can often be difficult to take it away. Having your child wean off a pacifier is a developmental milestone for children, and it’s important to be patient during the process.
It is important for your child’s oral health to wean him/her off of their pacifier. Pacifiers can cause the teeth to slant unnaturally, and in prolonged use, they have even been shown to cause a misalignment of the jaw.
Tips to Say Bye-Bye Binky
Some babies have no issues dropping the pacifier, but if you have trouble getting your baby to give it up, we have some tips to help make the process as smooth as possible.
- The Earlier, The Better – The sooner you take the pacifier away, the easier the process will be. It is easier to take it away from a baby than it is from a toddler.
- Limit Use To Bedtime – You can start cutting down on the amount of time your little one uses the pacifier, so they get more used to not having one constantly before losing it altogether. A couple of weeks of bedtime use only will help them begin to break the habit.
- Don’t Go Back – Once you’ve taken it away, don’t give in when they begin to ask for it or get fussy. This is hard for a parent; however, you must be firm with the limits you’ve set.
- Let Them Be Involved – If you’re trying to get a toddler to wean off the pacifier, it may help to let them choose with you. Many parents swear by telling their child that they need to give their pacifier away. For example, you could tell them there are babies that need one, or the “binky fairy” needs to come get it. If the child consciously gives up their pacifier, it can help them keep calmer through the process.
- Flavor It – Many parents also recommend dipping the pacifier in something that doesn’t taste good. The aversion to a bad taste can definitely encourage your child to be done with it for good without any coaxing needed.
- Read Together – There are even books specifically geared toward helping little ones give up their pacifiers (sometimes, seeing something in a book can leave a lasting impression). A visit to the library can be both fun and helpful to your cause. Some great books to consider are: “Good-by Pacifier!” by Patricia Geis, “No More Pacifier for Piggy!” by Bernette Ford, “Caillou: Rosie’s Pacifier” by Christine L’Heureux and ” Pacifiers are Not Forever” by Elizabet Verdick.
New Beginnings Pediatrics in Blacksburg, Virginia, understands that weaning your child from their pacifier can be a difficult task. We are dedicated to supporting families through every stage of a child’s development. If you need advice, tips and tricks for weaning your child from their pacifier, contact us for an appointment! We are always here to help!