Day-to-day parenting is hard enough, but every now and then you encounter even more challenging hurdles. Getting rid of the pacifier is one such trying experience. If that’s something you’re struggling with, don’t lose heart. You’re definitely not alone. Millions of parents have won that battle, and you will too. It’s just a question of choosing the right weaning plan for your family.
When you feel it’s time to say goodbye to the pacifier and gentle goading isn’t working with your baby or toddler, there are many ways to facilitate the separation. Here’s a list of the most popular weaning strategies:
1. Take it slow and steady
If your toddler generally responds well to reasoning, she is an ideal candidate for this approach. Tell her ‘binkies’ are for babies and now that she’s growing up it is perhaps time she used it less. You can negotiate a gradual weaning. As a first step, say the pacifier can’t leave the house. Then it shouldn’t be used outside her room. Next, limit it only to bedtime and gradually stop pacifier use altogether.
2. Sprinkle some fairy dust
Make the difficult transition magical by talking about the binky fairy and how she needs pacifiers for new babies. The binky fairy generally leaves a present in exchange for pacifier offerings. Many children have responded well to this method, some even offering to round up and bag all the pacifiers themselves in anticipation of a reward.
3. Enlist the power of fiction
There are many children’s books about quitting the pacifier habit. Reading them together regularly can help your little one mentally prepare for the inevitable, making the difficult journey easier.
4. ‘Lose’ it
Most homes with babies or toddlers who use pacifiers have lots of binkies lying around, and many go missing fairly regularly. When you feel it’s time to wean, stop replacing lost pacifiers. And if things aren’t going fast enough you could always hasten the process by hiding the stash and telling your tot that they’re lost. You could even look for them together, convincing him that they are indeed gone.
5. Damage the binky
This is a slightly drastic approach, but has worked for many. If you snip the tip off the pacifier, children aren’t able to suck on them. After a few attempts they get frustrated and toss it away. But this method should be used with care. If the snipping isn’t correctly done, tiny bits could come off the pacifier and pose a choking hazard. So make sure you’re around when your child is using the damaged soother.
No matter what strategy you choose, there are likely to be at least a couple of difficult days and nights of fretting. Don’t give in. Ride out this short storm and you’ll be rid of the pacifier for good.