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  • Writer's pictureChronicles of Mom Life

7 Ways to Wean Off the Pacifier

Binky, Dummy, Nummy, Mimi! There are so many different names for the pacifier.

Both of my children used pacifiers from birth, and they were both exclusively breastfed. The pacifier is a great way to soothe a fussy baby.

The great part about pacifier is the way they can calm a child as soon as you put their pacifier in their mouth.

My children both used pacifiers when they were tired and when they were nervous. It was a great way to tell how they were feeling. My son could be running around playing and then grab his pacifier and climb in my lap. It’s his way of telling me, he’s ready to go to sleep.

When do you stop allowing your child to use their pacifier?

What is the best way to approach it?

I’m going to get into when the best time to remove the pacifier is and some great ways to do it.

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Why should I wean my child off the pacifier?

Pacifiers can hold onto germs and unless properly washed, can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Pacifier packages state to dispose of old pacifiers and replace with new ones every 3 months. You should also wash with antibacterial soap throughout the day and boil for at least 5 mins between uses.

As your child gets older, they will begin eating solids and they will have more than just milk/formula in their milk. They will drop pacifiers on the ground and hide them around the house. This will expose pacifiers to so many more germs. One of the many reasons you will want to dispose of old pacifiers and work on weaning your child off the pacifier.

Your child will also start getting teeth. The America Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) states “Thumb, finger and pacifier sucking all can affect the teeth essentially the same way. If a child repeatedly sucks on a finger, pacifier, or other object over long periods of time, the upper front teeth may tip outward or not come in properly. Other changes in tooth position and jaw alignment also may occur.” (1)

Pacifiers have also been linked to ear infections according to American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). Another reason to wean off pacifier. (2)

Please make sure to discuss any concerns with your pediatrician or other health care professional.

When should I take the pacifier away?

There’s no perfect time or a magical age to take the pacifier away. All children have their own needs so pay attention to your child and this should help you find the best time to take it away. Unless of course there is a medical reason to discuss with your pediatrician or health care professional.

The America Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) states that while many children will wean themselves, those that do not should be encouraged to break the habit after three years old. (3)

American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) recommends weaning children from pacifiers sometime between 6 to 12 months old. (4)

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests waiting until after 6 months since pacifiers have shown to reduce the risk of SIDS in infants. (5)

You will know the best time to wean your child from their pacifier.

What are some of the best ways to wean my child from their pacifier?

1. Wean Them Slowly

If you want to give them a slow tradition, you can start by removing the pacifier when you know they don’t need it.

The best time is during daytime hours. Keep the pacifier in your child’s crib and only allow them to use it at bedtime and during naps. This will teach your child to be less reliant on it and can make for a smoother transition.

2. Put Inside a Pacifier Bear

Grab a teddy bear online that has an opening to put a pacifier into. You could have your child put their pacifier inside and close it up. Your child will still have their pacifier close by, but it will be inside a stuffed animal instead.

I would recommend sanitizing the pacifier before putting inside the Bear to prevent mold from growing in the Bear.

3. Give to the Pacifier Fairy

Would your child be willing to give their pacifiers to the Pacifier Fairy?

The last night with their pacifiers, you can have your child put their pacifiers in a bag or some type of container next to their bed. The Pacifier Fairy will come to the house and take the pacifiers to new babies who need pacifiers.

This might be a great option if your child can understand this and would like to give their pacifiers away.

4. Stop Cold Turkey

This is how we took our daughter’s pacifiers away, but it’s not as bad as it sounds, and it was not planned.

Our daughter had basically stopped using her pacifiers by 2. One morning, I scooped up all her pacifiers and threw them in a bag out of sight. That night, she went to bed and never asked for them again.

I held onto the pacifiers for a couple days and then threw them in the garbage. She doesn’t even remember using pacifiers anymore.

5. Switch Out for Another Comfort Item

You could switch out your child’s pacifiers for a new comfort item like a stuffed animal or blanket. If they have an item they already love, you could reintroduce that item instead.

Make sure to introduce the comfort item when you take away the pacifier. You could explain to your child that they no longer need the pacifiers and give them their new comfort item as a gift. Maybe you never allowed them to sleep with stuffed animals before and now they can.

6. Read a Pacifier Book

A fun way to help your child get rid of their pacifier is by reading them a book about saying good bye to it. There are some fun books on the market to help your child wean off their pacifier.

You can purchase:

These books can be purchased off Amazon.

7. Have Them Throw Their Pacifiers Away

Sometimes kids just want to be in control of their life. If your child wants to throw away their pacifier and become a big boy or big girl, then definitely let them take that step forward.

My son insists on throwing his dirty diapers away. He loves to be in control of his body and his belongings. We decided this is a great time to introduce him to the Potty.

If you’re thinking about Potty Training, check out How I Tackled the 3-Day Potty Training Method.

Hopefully one of these ways will work to wean your child off their pacifier. Just remember to stay calm and allow your child the chance to adjust to this new tradition. Just like Potty Training, it will take time, but it will happen.

Did you wean your child from their pacifier?

Share your ideas below!

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