Helping your child move beyond the pacifier can be something easier said than done. It can come as one of the biggest challenges when parenting a young child. The pacifier not only supports the natural sucking reflex that helps in the transition between nursing and bottle feeding but, it also offers comfort and security for your child.
Here are a few tricks that have worked for some parents at the time of saying goodbye to the “paci”:
- Reduce the amount of pacifier time: Gradually, you can stop giving the pacifier so often to your child and start limiting the amount of time it is used. You can start by stopping the use of it during non-stressful times. Then maybe it will only be for when your child is in the crib (pacifier is not allowed to be used outside of the crib). Finally, you can take it away permanently.
- Find a creative way to say goodbye: A good example of finding a creative way is, for example if your child loves his/her pacifier and maybe he/she is ready to buy or get a new toy or something that he/she really wants, you can use the pacifier to “buy” his/her new thing. The child symbolically can use his/her loved items to buy something he/she loves (of course this means you would need to find a way to pay secretly afterwards).
- Read together: Find a good book to read together. A great example could be the book: “Pacifiers Aren’t Forever” by Elizabeth Verdick. This book will help reinforce the idea of your child being a “big kid” and no longer needs the paci…
- “Losing” the pacifier: For some parents “losing the paci” and trying to look for it together has worked…
- Give the pacifier away: This transition could always be turned into an act of kindness. Your child could give his/her pacifier away to another baby who “needs it”. Reinforce the importance of his/her kind gesture with helping another child.
- Give a little change to the pacifier: By cutting a little piece of the pacifier or adding a few drops of vinegar or lemon will, without a doubt, change the taste of the pacifier and the child will want to reject it.
Avoid weaning the pacifier off during “major life changes” in your child’s life, like starting a new school, moving, etc. Just like everything we do when parenting, consistency is key. Make sure that everyone is on board and working together as a team in order to be successful.