My parents love to tell the story about how I gave up my “nuk.” One day in church, I put it in the offering plate for baby Jesus. When I asked for it later, they told me I gave it to Jesus and I couldn’t have it back. And that was the end of that.
A family friend told her daughter that it was time to give her binkies to other babies who needed them – and sent them off into the sky tied to balloons.
According to WebMD, most pediatricians believe that, between 9 and 18 months, when you start weaning your baby off of the bottle, you should also be weaning him off of his “goo-goo.” Unfortunately, getting your child to give up his or her pacifier may not be that easy, but we have gathered some tips from the professionals on how to make this transitional time less dramatic.
Limit Your Child’s Time With It
Teach your child that there are only certain times when he gets his pacifier. For example, he only gets it when he’s going to sleep. After he’s sound asleep, remove it from his mouth, so when he gets used to waking up without it there. While he’s getting used to this, there might be a lot of screaming. Don’t give in! The only thing that teaches him is that screaming gets him his way, which isn’t something you want to teach him.
Introduce Other Activities
For the most part, the pacifier is your baby’s remedy for boredom. Offer up new activities instead, like reading to him or exploring the neighborhood from the comfort of his stroller. Spark his curiosity by starting to ask, “What’s that?” Yes, you’re teaching him questions, and yes, answering all his questions might drive you nuts later, but on the plus side, you’ve got a smart kid who is interested in the world… not his pacifier.
Trade It In
Instead of the pacifier, give your child a stuffed animal to care for. Teach him to cuddle it when he is upset instead of sucking on the toy. When he’s bored, bring out the toy so he learns to occupy his mind with imagination instead of sucking. By integrating new self-soothing techniques, your child will develop the skills to deal with stress. Whatever you do though, do not encourage thumb-sucking. That is not a viable substitute for the pacifier.
Make It Undesirable
Some parents recommend dipping the pacifier in something that tastes gross, like strong, black, decaf coffee. As soon as that taste hits your baby’s tongue, he’ll spit it out and find it too “yucky” to put back in his mouth. After that, he might be repulsed by his nuk and move on to other activities. The blogger pointed out that this doesn’t work for all children, so be prepared for another method.
If you’re sure it’s the right time to wean your baby from his pacifier, you can either stop giving your baby his pacifier “cold turkey” or you can try another method. It’s not going to be easy, but it will make your child more independent as he discovers other ways to cure his boredom.
If you have a story about weaning your child from his “binky,” please share it in the comments below!