lil'bee

Weaning your toddler off the pacifier

Body Inside & Out   |   Age: 1 year 2 months


Weaning your toddler off the pacifier
You know that feeling of desperation that sweeps over you when you misplace your phone? That's probably kind of how your baby feels about her pacifier. Unfortunately, the use of pacifiers by children older than 2 years old can start to have negative effects, including dental problems and an increased difficulty in self-soothing.

Even keeping in mind how traumatizing it can be to give up a beloved object, you may have started to feel that it's time to come up with a game plan to help your baby begin a pacifier-free life. Many families are sucessful just going cold turkey (that is, getting rid of the pacifier without any preparation or warning). If that seems too hard, though, or like a strategy that won't mesh well with your toddler's temprament, here are some tips for other strategies for weaning away from pacifier use.

Drop some not-so-subtle hints

A little preparation can go a long way. The idea here is to frame the loss of a pacifier as a part of growing up, and to give your baby advanced notice so that she isn't so surprised by the loss of her comfort object.

Start limiting pacifiers around the house

The key to successful negotiation is knowing what the other side wants. In this case, that's the pacifier. Let your baby have the pacifier but limit it to specific times and situations.

Set a deadline for the pacifier's last day

If you've decided it's time for your baby to let the pacifier go start by telling her that, in one week, her pacifier will go away, and in place of the pacifier, your baby gets to pick out a special big-kid toy.

Make the jump

If your baby is game, go around the house together and gather up all the leftover pacifiers. Once they're collected, tell your baby that the pacifiers are going to a new baby. It's time to send them off and your baby will get to pick out her new toy.

Prepare for a little fallout

This varies by toddler, but be prepared for at least a few nights of your baby crying and asking for a pacifier. Just remember that even if your baby is upset, that doesn't mean that she won't get used to life without the pacifier. A few rough nights is worth breaking the habit when you know your toddler is ready for life without her favorite comfort object.

Weaning is worth it in the long run

A lot of parents dread the pacifier-weaning stage of toddlerhood. If your baby and her toddler are closer than PB&J, you might be dreading this stage, too. But if you follow the steps above, you might be pleasantly surprised by how quickly your baby adjusts to this new pacifier-free lifestyle. If things are a little rocky at first, you can be sure that your baby will only need a few days to get used to things, and once these days have passed, she will start to develop new and better ways to de-stress. All toddlers have to give up the pacifier eventually, but you can make the process a little more positive for your baby.

Sources

More articles at this age

Fun and games: toys for bath time


Once upon a time, the best bathtub toy was a rubber ducky. But nowadays there are lots more options for entertaining your baby while she is in the tub.

Well-child visit: 15 months


At this well-child visit, your healthcare provider might be checking on milestones like scribbling, saying one or two words, and listening to stories! your baby is basically a communication genius.

What is separation anxiety in toddlers? When does it end?


Your toddler may be bold as a lion when the adventure is exploring somewhere she shouldn't be, but if she transforms into a lamb - an upset lamb - when you try to leave the house without her, she might have a little bit of separation anxiety.

Hiring a babysitter for the first time


No one can take care of your baby like you can, but on days when you need a helping hand, picking the right babysitter is an important skill to have.

The effects of play on development


Your toddler may look like she's just kicking back and enjoying herself during playtime, but for toddlers, play is a serious business.

Birthday party etiquette


Whether you've always been a party animal or more of a wall-flower, there's a good chance you haven't spent much time at toddlers' birthday parties since you were, well, a toddler. Toddler parties are different from pretty much every kind, so there's no shame in needing a refresher on your party-manners before you head out!

Welcome to lil'bee!

It looks like you're using an ad blocker. That's okay. Who doesn't? But without advertising-income, we can't keep making this site awesome. Please disable your ad blocker and refresh this page.

Thanks for understanding 🙏