Pacifier weaning is often dreaded by parents; however, there are some gentle tips to slowly but surely wean your child from their pacifier. Unless there is a specific reason you must take away your child’s pacifier quickly, then it is best to take a gradual approach. When you are ready to start weaning, follow these tips.
No major changes
Pacifier weaning can go much more smoothly if you choose the right time to wean. Try to choose a time where there are no major changes occurring such as potty training, starting day care, moving to a new house or the birth of a sibling.
Out of sight
This one is such a simple tip, but it is very effective! Keep the pacifier out of sight and away from the normal places. Move it from the usual spot in the diaper bag, out of your child’s bed or in the car. Have the pacifier available only during critical times like when your child is hurt or falling asleep.
One of the keys to raising a toddler is getting good at the art of distraction. It is great for avoiding meltdowns and for giving them the chance to forget they don’t have a pacifier in their mouth. When your toddler asks for her pacifier, try distracting her with a song, giving her a toy instead or even going for a quick walk outside.
Create gentle limits
Gradually you can begin limiting the times where the pacifier is an option. Some families establish rules like ‘no pacifiers downstairs’; ‘pacifiers are only for night’; or ‘pacifiers stay in the car.’
Children are used to reaching for their pacifiers when they are feeling upset or tired. You can gradually introduce alternative soothers for your little one such as a cuddle, a blanket, a stuffed animal or a favorite toy. Sometimes children respond very well to having a sippy cup of water or a teething toy instead of a pacifier because it provides a similar sensation.
Nothing drastic, but sometimes bedtime routines are too difficult of a reminder for children that their pacifier isn’t there. You could move storytime to the couch instead of their room, mix up the order of the bedtime routine or give them a sippy cup of water to suck on instead of a pacifier.
Some older children fall in love with the idea of a Pacifier Fairy who collects pacifiers from children who no longer need them and gives them to new babies instead. This Pacifier Fairy could also leave wonderful toys in place of pacifiers.
Elizabeth is a mother of four, and author of the bestselling No-Cry Solution series on topics such as sleep, discipline, picky eating and potty training. She is known worldwide as the voice of practical, respectful parenting. For more information, visit her website, nocrysolution.com. These tips are from The No-Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley.
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