To use a pacifier or to not, that is the question when your child is born. As they get older, your child will create a sense of attachment to it and rely on it for comfort. However, after six months and up, there are many other ways for children to be comforted. Even though pacifiers are extremely helpful for young babies, as your child gets older and develop, it can become a habit.
In this post, I will answer all of the most popular questions on this subject and provide you with helpful tips and tricks to wean your child off of their pacifier once and for all. We weaned our daughters off their soothers officially when they were 8-9 months old, but we started this process at six and a half months old.
This is a weaning process that will ensure you have confidence in your decision as their parent. I want to set you up with self-confidence to see this process through to the end. I have written this post to make sure you are 100% successful, so please take your time and support your child no matter if they are seven months old or three years old.
Pacifiers can be an excellent tool for young children for many reasons. They can help soothe your child, ease minor or major discomforts (i.e. taking off on a plane), and studies show that pacifiers can help reduce the rick of SIDS. Commonly known as sudden infant death syndrome and so much more.
It is recommended to introduce pacifiers as early as three weeks old, but this depends on a few factors, such as if your breastfeeding vs if you’re bottle-feeding. For mothers who are breastfeeding, you would want to prevent nipple confusion, so waiting 3-4 weeks is best. However, for exclusively bottle-feeding mothers, you can introduce a pacifier earlier. Always consult your child’s doctor because every child develops differently. Lastly, if your child is in the NICU, the nurses usually introduce pacifiers within 24 hours to your child. This is to provide comforts for your baby since the mothers sometimes aren’t able to visit within that first 24 hours because they are recovering from birth.
Every human nipple is different, so every pacifier nipple is also different. When looking for a pacifier style for your child, you can try a few styles at the start to see which one your child likes best. Luckily most pacifiers have the age range the pacifier is recommended for. When the girls were still using pacifiers, we stayed with a specific style, and once they got into a different age range, we would switch them (we only did this twice).
This question is more about personal preference and has everything to do with when you and your child are ready. With that being said, it is recommended that children stop using a pacifier as early as six months. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that children should stop using the pacifier by age 2. I will include a short article here from the ADA for more information. This article also talks about the effects of thumb sucking because of the similar issues that both of these methods can cause to your child’s oral health.
What I find always works best is not having a pacifier available during playtime first. We want to encourage your child to talk and explore during playtime, and one way for young children to explore is by their senses, such as putting toys into their mouth. If there is a pacifier in their mouth, they may not explore this way.
After a few weeks or a month of this, I would not bring a pacifier on walks or when you leave the house; instead, bring their favourite toys or other objects to chew on that are commonly used for teething can still get comfort orally. I waited an entire month during this transition before moving on to their daytime naps.
At this point, the girls still had two naps a day, so I bought something that could replace them and choose to purchase the girls their own Baby Octopi.
Before taking their pacifiers away for their naps, we went on a camping trip where we introduced them to their octopus. We also said that we would start taking the pacifiers away at nap and nighttime sleeps after the trip.
After getting back, we waited a few days and then took their pacifiers away from their first nap. We noticed that instead of reaching for their pacifiers, they would grab onto their octopuses. They didn’t have to be transitioned for long, so we removed pacifiers during all naps after a few weeks.
At this point, the only time they would have their pacifiers were during their night sleeps. By the time we took this pacifier away, they were comfortable with their octopus and had become used to grabbing for that instead of their pacifier.
We started this process at six months old, and they were completely weaned of them at around nine months old.
For children who are under the age of two, the best way would be slow and gradual. Following a similar process to what I explained above would be best. Following your child’s lead will help make you and your child get rid of their pacifiers with minimal issues. Ensure that you support your child’s emotions by giving them hugs and spending time with them because they may get overwhelmed during this transition.
If your child is over the age of 2, you can still use this approach, and as long as you are supporting them emotionally, you shouldn’t have any significant issues. But, once your child turns two and a half and up, things can get tricky. There are many different ways that I will share with you and let you make the best decision for your child and family.
You know your child best, so even if you incorporate a few examples, the goal is to eliminate them. You can also get creative and find a different approach that works for you.
The Paci Fairy is one method that I have seen work many times for this age group. Different parents have approached, and I will share a few examples for reference. The Paci Fairy is similar to the Tooth Fairy because she/he comes during the night when your child is sleeping. Before bed, ask your child to collect all of their pacifiers. Then ask them to place them in any room but their bedroom. Explain that the Paci Fairy takes their pacifiers and replaces them with a toy of your choosing. Children in this age group like helping kids younger than them, so you can add that she/he will share them with other young children who need them.
I hope all of this information will help you decide which way you want to approach getting rid of your child’s pacifier and find what works for your child and family. I remember how nervous I was, especially during the nighttime weaning, but YOU CAN DO THIS! If any information in the post helped you leave a comment down below!
My answer: Mackenzie was always obsessed with hers and Victoria enjoyed her mostly in the NICU and while we were on walks.
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