I’m sure there will be quite a few parents reading this post who will react with “What?! We don’t want our child off the pacifier! How will we survive?”
The truth is the longer you wait to take away the pacifier the harder it becomes. Its quite a tricky process taking away a pacifier. Either the baby will be too young and not understand and in that case taking the pacifier away is a bad idea or maybe the child would be too old and will have already become too attached to his pacy that taking it away would be impossible.
Some recommend taking the pacifier away when your baby is around six months old. At that age your baby no longer needs to suck and has yet to become attached to it.
My wife wanted me to take the pacifier away from our son before he was six months old but I wanted to wait until he was older. With our daughter, we took the pacifier away from her when she was around two years old.
Well I am happy to say that our two year old is officially off his pacifier. The process this time around was a bit easier than it was with our daughter.
Taking it away
My sister in-law is a pediatric dentist and she told us that the toddler will overcome the need for the pacifier in just three days. While the process is done cold turkey, it does help to restrict pacifier use to nap and bed time only. Except for when they were newborns, our kids were never allowed to have the pacifier any other time during the day.
Taking a pacifier away from a baby really doesn’t require more than just taking it away. It shouldn’t take more than three days for the baby to get used to sleeping without one. However, there are some key points to be aware of:
- Do not take the pacifier away from the baby the same week you are trying to wean your baby off nighttime feedings or doing something else. Stick to one thing at a time.
- Make sure that there is nothing major in your life going on that week. If you are going on a trip then wait until you come back and have everyone back on schedule. Also, if it’s a week that you are planning on having family visit then do it another week.
- You, as a parent, must be absolutely committed to taking it away. If you arent ready to do it then the baby wont be ready either. You’ll end up giving in at the first sign of your baby’s distress.
- Mom and Dad should do it together as a team for the above reason.
- Weekends are a great time to do it. You could start on a Friday evening and have him off by Monday.
While this process is also done cold turkey, it helps to involve the toddler. The best time to take a pacifier away from a toddler is when it needs to be thrown out because it’s all chewed up. It can’t be used anymore for safety reasons and this is a great opportunity to get your toddler involved. You could show your toddler that the pacifier is broken and explain to her that it needs to go to the garbage. You should try to get your toddler to be the one to throw it out.
With our son, we were going to wait until he was about two and a half before taking it away but one night a month before he turned two I noticed that the pacifier was just to damaged to be safe for him to use. I showed him that his “pacy” was broken and it needed to be thrown out. Then I gave it to him and told him to throw it out. He was very reluctant at first but after I kept telling him that it was broken and it wasn’t safe anymore he put it in the garbage. That night when he went to sleep he looked at us and said “pacy broken” and then put his head down and went to sleep. The next morning he woke up and again said “pacy broken.” I responded “Yeah, pacy broken. No more pacy” and that was it.
Our daughter, on the other hand, was crying and crying for her pacifier after we took it away. She even went to take it out of the garbage the next morning but thankfully, we had already moved it somewhere else. Finally, after three days she quieted down and went to bed without any issues.
Some things to be aware of when taking your toddlers pacifier away:
- As with a baby, you will need to be fully committed. If you aren’t your toddler will know it and the process will take much longer than three days.
- When you do take it away make sure that your toddler can’t take it back. You want it to disappear.
- Be strong. Taking a pacifier away can be an emotional process. Although you’ll feel terrible, keep in mind that your helping your toddler not hurting him.
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