Weaning from the Pacifier: Should You Do It Abruptly or Gradually?

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  • Post category:Pacifiers

pacifier on playground

When to Retire Baby’s Pacifier

By: Jared D. Ingram

As your child gets more attached to the pacifier, it gets harder and harder to get rid of it. It’s like taking away cigarettes from an avid smoker (okay, bad analogy…) Anyway, you can do it abruptly or gradually, depending on the following factors:

  • Your child’s personality,
  • Your child’s dependence on it,
  • Your environmental situation, and
  • Your perseverance and patience.

Some parents opt to go cold turkey, but any expert will advice you against it. If your child is still having a hard time letting go, here are some really useful tips to get rid of it for good:

  • Only give the pacifier to your child for use at bedtime. Your child should be pacifier-free during the day.
  • Try cutting out the tips of the pacifiers at home. That way, it lessens the sucking notion and they will be disinterested to using them. It is a fast and good way to retire pacifiers.
  • Use peer pressure towards your toddler. Have them play with other children that don’t suck pacifiers and your child will follow.
  • If nothing works, try bargaining. Tell them that they’re now big kids that don’t need pacifiers—in fact, if they give in their pacifiers, you can buy them a toy of their choice. Compliment and congratulate your child a lot. Give them lots of hugs, kisses and ‘I’m proud of you’s’. Appreciation can really go a long way.
  • Always be consistent. Never, ever give in to your toddler’s cries, whines and tantrums. If you give in and hand them their pacifiers, your child will be confused. Worse, they may turn the tables on you and use their crying tactic so they can get what they want.

When to Retire the Pacifier

It is recommended that you should retire the pacifier on baby’s fourth month. At this stage, your baby is now learning to speak. Getting read of the pacifier is important to prevent speech problem and lisps. Do not get rid of it immediately, rather it is important to be patient or you will be inviting your child to throw a fit. Make the process slow and gradual—when they speak, ask to take out the pacifier. This will teach your child that they don’t need pacifiers all the time.

Benefits of Pacifiers’ Early Retirement

The sooner you get rid of those things, the better it is for your child’s teeth. Prolonged use can cause the following bad effects:

  • Misalignment of the teeth – The upper teeth in particular is prone to tooth misalignment, and causes a small deformity in your child’s upper jaw. This will cause more expensive problems in the future (read: BRACES).
  • Possible ear infections – Pacifier use has been found to cause a fifty percent increase in ear infections.
  • Slowed language development – your child is less likely to talk with that thing stuck in their mouth all the time. Your child has lesser opportunities to practice and develop speech, leading to a slowed development in language and communication.


About the Author

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