A pacifier can be a wonderful thing – it calms naughty babies, helping them to fall asleep or temporarily distract themselves. However, at some point, the baby will still have to give up the pacifier. How to wean a baby off pacifiers? This can be done in many ways: quickly, gradually, or even with the involvement of magical creatures.
The best time to wean most babies off a pacifier is between six and seven months of age. The fact is that later, closer to nine months, the baby begins to develop an emotional attachment to the pacifier. Hence, it becomes more difficult to wean off the pacifier at the age of a year, for example.
However, even if you decide to let babies suck the pacifier for as long as they want, be aware that many children stop doing this on their own. However, if a baby is still attracted to a pacifier at 3 years of age, this can lead to bite problems, so it may be worth considering how to wean the baby off a pacifier at 2 years or earlier. Here are a few methods that can help.
1. The three-day method
This method of weaning is the fastest, but it will require you to be firm in character. If you have already decided to go this way, do not give up and stick to your decision.
On the first morning and before going to bed at night, tell your child: “I see that you want to grow up quickly. This is a very good idea. If you say goodbye to the pacifier, you will immediately become older. You can do it the day after tomorrow. I know you can handle it and I will help you.”
Your motivational speech should not last more than 30 seconds and should not sound like you are asking your child for permission. If the child starts to whine, just explain his emotion – “Yes, I know you don’t want to” – and move on. Do not worry that, having learned in advance what is ahead of him, the child will begin to worry.
This is a myth because, just like adults, children love to prepare in advance for upcoming changes – physically, mentally, and emotionally.
On the second day, you repeat two conversations with the child in the same way and speak about what awaits him/her tomorrow. On the third day, according to the promise, you ask the child to help collect all his pacifiers, put them in a plastic bag and take them away, informing the kid that they will be sent for recycling and changed into children’s toys. Don’t just throw the pacifiers in the trash – it will be easier for the child to think that the favorite pacifier will be used for good causes.
Get ready for the fact that a hysterical reaction is highly probable.
The parents, of course, should express great sympathy for the child in connection with this loss, but at the same time remain solid as a rock.
It takes about two days for most kids to reconcile with the loss of a pacifier.
2. Gradual weaning
Start with restrictions on the use of the pacifier and allow using it only under certain conditions. For example, announce that the pacifier is not allowed in the car or while playing in the living room – that is, when the baby does not really need it. Gradually you will say that the pacifier is allowed only during daytime sleep and nighttime sleep. Eventually, you will say that the child will not need it even at this time.
You don’t have to buy new pacifiers to replace the lost or damaged ones. Instead of a pacifier in each room, you will only have two. At this stage, you can tell the child that when the last one is lost or spoiled, he/she will not have a pacifier again.
3. The magic fairy method
Since there are fairies who take away the milk teeth left under the pillow, why can’t there be fairies who take pacifiers? A magical “pacifier” fairy can save you from the long and painful process of weaning off a pacifier, and here’s why.
First, the fairy will come on a prearranged special day, such as a birthday. Secondly, the fairy takes pacifiers for a reason – in order to give them to little babies who need them more strongly (but you can only say this if you are sure that the child will not get jealous). Thirdly, instead of a pacifier, the fairy leaves a new toy for the child.
The details of how this magical creature works may vary. You can also give the child an opportunity to choose the day when they will be ready for the fairy to come.
Whichever method you prefer, you need to choose the right time to use it. It’s a bad idea to wean a baby off a pacifier when going through a stressful situation: going to the kindergarten for the first time, moving to a new house, or having a little brother or sister just born. Choose a period when the baby doesn’t need the pacifier so much to calm down.