Pacifier Weaning: The Do's, the Don'ts, and the Gentle Solution for your Toddler

Ask your Mother or Grandmother about how to ditch the pacifier, and I'm sure you'll hear one of two things: A) "Just take it away!" or B) "You just gave yours up one day, it was so easy!"  I usually get the latter answer from my Mom, about how everything was sOooOOoo easy for her raising a baby, yet she can't seem to remember to burp my  baby after a bottle (mmm-hmm, easy huh?).  Granted the 1980's was a different time, but what hasn't changed is the fact that Toddlers LOVE a security item, something to help calm them down when they are upset or sad, something that helps them fall asleep at night (or keep them quiet in the car!!).  Taking away a security item cold turkey from a toddler can be a traumatic event for our littles. 4-6 months is the ideal age to wean away a pacifier cold turkey and replace with another object or soothing method for your tiny human.  Unfortunately, many of us keep pacifiers past this window of time, so what are the best methods to gently wean a TODDLER? Let's dive into the world of pacifier weaning.....



ENCOURAGE AN ALTERNATIVE: A lovey, a small silky blanket (like this one), or a small stuffed animal to squeeze at night can be encouraged during the DAY in place of the binky to transfer their attachment to.  To encourage the bond, bring the new lovey on car rides, place in child's hands during cartoons/storytime, and incorporate the new "friend" in silly games like peek-a-boo games in the child's room or wearing it on your head and ask your child to "help you find it". Make sure the lovey has no small parts like button eyes or any potential choking hazards. 

LIMIT TO NAPS & NIGHT: No more car rides, no longer during the day if toddler throws a fit or needs calming.  Encourage your little to take a breather in another room, or find his new lovey (from above) to calm down.

PACI-FREE TIME: If limiting to naps/night is too much of a step for your paci-loving toddler, try instead to limit it's usage throughout the day to 30 minutes for 2-3 days, then 45 minutes and so on.  This can also work the other way, allowing the child to have binky back after 30 minutes, then 45 minutes and so on.  Make it fun and encourage good behavior!

GOSSIP:  Let your child overhear you "raving" on the phone/to his animals/older sibling/parent about how your toddler went all morning without the pacifier. (Taken from Dr. Harvey Karp, Happiest Baby)

DISCUSS: Sit down with your child and discuss together when to give up the binky.  This could be a special day, like the weekend or an upcoming birthday, and reward them with a special trip somewhere they enjoy, or that toy they've seen (over and over and OVER- or is it just me that sees it this many times?!) on the Disney Channel commercials.

READ ABOUT IT: Invest in some tried n' true pacifier weaning books to enjoy with your child at night for about a week before you attempt to remove it completely.  This book has rave reviews on Amazon by parents whom have sworn by it!

Be positive, but don't get too excited too quickly- some toddlers may regress and wish to try again next week.  And also make sure Grandma is in the loop, because although the 80's were a wonderful time, I'm still not sure HOW our parents had it "so easy" ; )  Contact us here if you'd like some further assistance on this topic, we are always here to help, make your life easier, and toast our wine glasses to your successes! xo