While pacifiers serve a useful calming function in infancy, the use of baby care tools all too often leads to toddlerhood dependency. If your child has developed an attachment to his binky, it is your responsibility to break this bond. While getting your child to give up this soother may present a challenge, it is something that you can accomplish with dedication and continued effort. By tackling the task of breaking your child of the pacifier head-on, you can increase the likelihood of your attempt effectiveness and break your child of this habit once and for all.
Limit pacifier use to bedtime. FamilyEducation recommends that you begin your efforts around the age of 1 by allowing your toddler to use his pacifier only during these hours. By doing this instead of asking your child to give up the pacifier cold-turkey, you can reduce his dependency on this tool gradually, making the transition easier for him to handle.
Take away the pacifier all together. Eventually you will have to take the pacifier away once and for all. Wait until your child has become accustomed to nighttime pacifier use only, and then take away the tool completely. When selecting the appropriate time to complete this task, pick a time when you have a reduced workload and time to dedicate to the weaning process. If you are a working mom, for example, it may be wise to wait until you have a short vacation to ensure that you don’t give in to your child’s pacifier want because you need to get sleep to face a long day of work.
Hold a pacifier give-away. By holding a give-away, you can make the task of stopping pacifier usage a bit less distasteful. Gather up your child’s pacifiers, and allow him to give them to a neighbor or friend who has a baby. Even if the neighbor’s baby isn’t going to use these soothers, the task of giving them away to an infant will make your child feel like a big boy who is doing a nice thing.
Soothe the child during nighttime upset, but do not give back the pacifier. It is vital that once you take the pacifier away that you do not give it back. If you give in to your child’s nighttime cries for his pacifier, you will have to start the process all over again. Instead of doing this, offer your child a back rub or other soothing touch in place of his pacifier.
Praise the child for being a big, pacifier-free, boy. The more you praise, the prouder your child will feel and the more committed he will likely become to remaining pacifier-free.