5 Tips to Wean Your Child off the Pacifier

If you have a toddler who can’t seem to give up his pacifier, you’re one of the many parents who experience this challenge. Children use pacifiers as a method of self-soothing. Having it helps him adjust to other changes in his life.

Just because your child is using a pacifier longer than other kids doesn’t make him immature or behind the curve developmentally. The right time is different for everyone. As you begin the weaning process, be sure not to punish his failures. Upsetting him is more likely to make him stick with it. Instead, reward his successes, even the little ones, and treat him with patience and consistency.

Use these five tips to help wean your child off his pacifier.

1. Snip off the tip.

This is one of the most popular pacifier weaning tricks. Cut the tip off the top of the pacifier. Once your baby can’t suck on it, he’ll lose interest. Be careful that you make a clean cut so he doesn’t chew on pieces. This is a choking hazard. If he complains, tell him that it’s broken and have him throw it away himself.

2. Switch to a different soothing item.

Encourage your child to bond with a different item like a blanket or stuffed animal. Changing his attachment is akin to “stepping down,” because the attachment to the new item will not be compounded by the sucking instinct. As he gets older, weaning him off the new item will be less difficult, if you have to at all.

3. Reduce his use gradually.

A cold-turkey approach could be a bit traumatic, depending on your child’s personality, and it might not be necessary. Limit his use of the pacifier slowly over time. Pick some rules that work for your family. You could only allow pacifiers inside the house, or only overnight. Eventually your child will have learned to cope without it and won’t say a word when you throw them away.

4. Make your child ask for it.

It’s a tendency for parents to overuse the pacifier to calm a slightly irritated child. Truthfully, this is understandable and if you do this you aren’t a bad parent. Try to avoid giving your child a pacifier unless he specifically asks for it. Put it out of his reach in a cabinet so he doesn’t notice it. You might be surprised how little he needs it.

5. Avoid situations where he would need it.

Take stock of the instances when your child wants his pacifier. Is there a pattern? Maybe he only wants it when he’s stressed, or in social situations. If you can recognize when he will probably want it, you can teach him coping methods for those instances that don’t involve a pacifier, or occupy him so he doesn’t think about it.

Written by Stephanie Parker from Sleepingbaby.com, inventors of the Zipadee-Zip

The motto for Sleeping Baby, makers of the Zipadee-Zip, is: "Inspiring Dreams One Night at A time," and that, in a nutshell, is how it all started…with one little dream that has since become the Parker family's reality. When Brett and Stephanie Parker's daughter, Charlotte, was born, the feeling that welled up inside of them was indescribable; they never realized until first looking into those baby blues of hers that they were even capable of that kind of love.

When it was time to transition baby from swaddling, the Parkers tried every sleep sack on the market and every swaddle weaning trick they could find for nearly two weeks and nothing worked to get baby Charlotte to fall and stay asleep.

Stephanie became determined to restore sleep and sanity to their household and set out to find a solution that would soothe Charlotte's startle reflex and provide her the cozy womb-like environment she loved so much but still give her the freedom to roll over and wiggle around in her crib safely. Out of sheer desperation and exhaustion, the Zipadee-Zip was born. The first Zipadee-Zip(R) Stephanie put together on her little sewing machine worked like magic!

To date tens of thousands of Zipadee-Zips have been sold and all from word-of-mouth marketing. It is so rewarding for the Parkers to see other parents and babies getting the sleep they both need and deserve!

For more information, visit sleepingbaby.com.

Interested in writing a guest blog for Sleeping Baby? Send your topic idea to pr@sleepingbaby.com.

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