As a parent, I have a love/hate relationship with them. I love them because they comfort and sooth my child, while giving me a few minutes of sanity and peace, and I hate them because it’s such a ridiculous battle when it’s time to make them disappear from our lives.
If you think it’s time to wean your toddler from a pacifier, or you doctor recommended so, here are some tips to help you make that battle a little bit smoother.
Before you trust my method, please do read a lot and do some research about pacifier weaning, as not all methods work for all kids. Remember, every kid is unique and reacts differently to similar events or situations. In my case, I have tried talking to my son, reading books to him, tricking him by telling him I can’t find the pacifiers etc.. He always had an answer, and knew that even if we loose them, we can always go to the pharmacy and get new ones! So I knew I had to make him hate it before we stop it completely.
Babies are known to have a strong sucking reflex so having a pacifier in their mouth soothes them big time! In addition to that, research suggests that using a pacifier during their first year decreases the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
When is a good time to wean your child off of the pacifier?
Remember, you are the mother and you know your kid best, so follow your instincts, but keep in mind these 2 general rules:
- Most Pediatricians and Dentists suggest eliminating the pacifier starting the age of 2 and no pacifiers after 4 years of age to avoid dental problems
- Some Pediatricians advise stopping the pacifier at an earlier age because it could cause difficulties in speech patterns.
How I weaned my son off of his beloved pacifier(s)
Now, before I tell you about the steps that I took, I feel it’s important for you to know that my son not only loved his pacifiers, but he also has a shirt of mine that he holds and cuddles with every time he uses the pacifier, basically like a blankie or cuddly. And I did read that it would be a good idea to offer your child a cuddly alternative to pacifiers so that it can provide comfort instead of the lost pacifier.
The night before I started my evil execution, I did have a long talk with my son during bedtime, telling him that he’s becoming a big boy now and that “Mr. Elephant” wants him to stop the pacifier because it is not good to keep it. Of course his reaction was “No, I like tetine, Samy is a baby”(I know I should’ve probably chosen another animal, but sometimes you get weirdly creative when you’re a tired mama)
So yeah, this reconfirmed the fact that Samy is not ready to just drop it off unless I make it unattractive to him.
My Personal Experience
Snip a hole in the pacifier with a pair of scissor. And please do it to all the pacifiers you have at home. NO BACKUPS LADIES. It will only make it harder. Remember, consistency is key!
When your child sucks on the pacifier, there won’t be enough suction to provide comfort or satisfaction. My son used to tell me “mama, fix it” or “close it” and I simply explained to him that “Mr Elephant” passed by while he was at the nursery and nibbled on them and told me that Samy was a big boy and he shouldn’t use them. (Yes, again, I know, the elephant is a weird choice)
I won’t lie and say that his first reaction was peaceful. He had tantrums and started crying as soon as he saw it. The most important thing is to reassure your kid and give him as much love and attention as he needs. Remember, Smokers have such a hard time quitting cigarettes! I know it’s not the same but having a pacifier in your mouth all the time is kind of an addiction!
The first night was also the hardest, Samy woke up around 6 times asking for comfort, and I didn’t let him cry for one second, I hopped on his bed and slept with him and we cuddled until he would settle down and then I would go back to my bed. And repeat.
Over the next 3 days, I kept on cutting larger holes in his pacifier, and he would still ask for it (but muuuuch less) and put it in his mouth for few minutes and start chewing on it, but to be honest, he was holding it in his hands more than he was putting it in his mouth. I felt like this was definitely a step in the right direction. I also tried to get him very busy the first few days, taking him out even after nursery so he would get his mind off of it, get tired, and sleep better.
After the 4th day, he never asked for his pacifier again!! And to reward him for being such a good and big boy, I used to get him a small gift that I would give it to him at the end of every day and tell him that “Mr Elephant” got them for him, and that we were very proud of him.
Honestly, I was pleasantly shocked that the method worked so well. I expected more temper tantrums and fits of rage. It was simple, and (almost) painless – and I would certainly use this technique again.
Just keep in mind, that kids are not robots, and that till now, Samy’s still not sleeping great at night, but I chose to follow my son’s rhythm, I didn’t let him cry it out, and I did it slowly.