How to Wean Baby off Pacifier

New parents often struggle to make a decision whether or not to let their babies use a pacifier. However, the time will come when they have to give up the pacifier to avoid dental problems. This may not be an easy thing to do for all babies and parents may have to learn various ways on how to wean baby off pacifier depending on their parenting style.

How to Wean Baby off Pacifier

1. Take Away the Pacifier Early

Many doctors believe that taking away the binky early is the most effective way to wean off a baby from the habit. Older babies may have powerful ways to protest their unwillingness to give up their beloved pacifier, but if it is taken away while they are still very young and less able to express displeasure, transition may be easier.

One mother relates that she took both of her daughters' pacifiers away at the age of three months. She said that they did not seem to need sucking on it anymore to soothe themselves and that they were too young to remember having it. This mother also observed that it is much easier to take away something from infants than from toddlers. She therefore advises taking the binky away as soon as possible and avoid greater problems later on.

2. Make the Pacifier Taste Bad

Some moms help their young children give up nail-biting by placing something unpleasant on the nails. Similarly, sucking on pacifiers may be avoided if these are made to taste bad.

The parents of a 2 ½ year old child tried many ways to wean their child off a pacifier to no avail. Finally, a pediatrician suggested painting the binky with a bad-tasting but safe substance that would not come off even with washing or scrubbing. This made the child decide to it give up to the 'soother fairy' within a few hours. One thing you could try it to paint the pacifier with lemon juice.

3. Try the 'Cold Turkey' Way

You are the parent so you have the power to say no and take away the pacifier away. This is one parenting style that works for some families.

Anthony's mom explained to his son, who was turning three, that he had to give up his pacifier after his birthday party because he was a big boy now. The boy remembered how much fun he had on his party and was able to understand that he did not need the pacifier anymore.

4. Read Books about It

Reading and story telling is a great way not only to bond with your child but also to inspire changes in behavior such as giving up their pacifiers.

There are many books that can help children deal with these changes, such as H. Knickerbocker-Silva's “The Binky Ba-ba Fairy.” Another parent recommends “Little Bunny's Pacifier Plan” which introduces a gradual way of letting go of the pacifier. Other books include J. Ormond's “Baby's Binky Box,” B. Weninger's “Bye-Bye Binky,” and R. Booker's “No More Pacifier.”

5. Wean it Slowly

A baby forms an attachment to the pacifier just like he has for the milk bottle or your breast. You may slowly wean off the child from the pacifier just like weaning him off the bottle or breast.

6. Lose the Tip

A popular way of discouraging babies from sucking on a pacifier is to cut the tip off. Tell the child that it is broken and encourage them to throw it away. Kids usually lose interest on the binky when they are unable to suck.

One mother tried gradually cutting the tip off until her son did not want to use it anymore. However, you should be careful because children can choke on the pieces of pacifier, which they might chew on.

7. Swap with Other Soothing Items

Some mothers replace pacifiers with other soothing objects, which give their babies comfort and security.

A mother confides that her daughter cried for a few minutes without the pacifier but slept easily after giving her a sleep blanket, which kept her warm and comfortable.

8. Trade It for Toys

Some mothers have successfully encouraged their children to trade their pacifiers for toys which they can pick out from a store.

One mom asked her child to “pay” the store cashier for a toy they bought with the pacifier. Of course, you will have to talk to the cashier to play the game with you.

9. Use Peer Pressure

Children may be persuaded to give up their pacifiers if they are surrounded by other playmates who do not use them.

10. Try the 3-day plan.

Author Mark L. Brenner writes that you can teach your baby to give up the pacifier in three days by following his three-day plan:

Day 1: Prepare your child for giving up the pacifier by telling him that he is growing older and that you are going to help him do a lot of things, like saying goodbye to the binky in three days. Brenner says that although some parents might think that their child will be anxious about such warning, children really need to prepare themselves emotionally and psychologically for changes. Do the talk for about 30 seconds in the morning and at bedtime.

Day 2: Give the child the same message twice but say that it will happen tomorrow. Avoid sounding like you are asking his permission or selling him the idea, but tell it to him in a matter-of-fact manner.

Day 3: This time remind the child that it is Day 3, and time to gather the pacifiers, which will be recycled into toys. The child may be upset, but remember to be firm but empathetic. Most children get over the loss of their binkies within two days.

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