When your child was a newborn, no method of soothing him was off-limits. You drove around the neighborhood to get him to fall asleep, you rocked him until your arms ached, and you had a pacifier with you at all times. Now your newborn is perhaps an older infant, toddler, or preschooler, and you’d like to kick the pacifier habit for good.
Cut it Out Early
Is your child starting to sleep through the night and settle into a schedule? Older babies are often easier to soothe and calm than newborns, and this is a great time to get rid of the pacifier before your child becomes emotionally attached. As a bonus, you and your child will find new ways of soothing which may be easier to maintain throughout childhood.
Taking Your Time
This method involves taking the pacifier away gradually. First, tell your child that the pacifier is only for naptime and bedtime. Then, once she’s grown accustomed to not using it throughout the day, tell her that it’s only for use at bedtime. Eventually, you’ll be able to take it away altogether.
This one is sure to be challenging in the short-term, but is very effective. Get rid of every pacifier in the house, in the car, and in your bag, and don’t look back. Your child is sure to ask for it, and may even melt down when he doesn’t receive it, but within a day or two, he’ll forget about it completely.
The Toothpaste Cure
Apply a thin layer of minty toothpaste to every single one of your child’s pacifiers. At first, he’ll complain that one tastes funny. Then he’ll try another and notice the same strange taste. Eventually, he’ll associate his pacifiers with a taste that puts him off, and won’t ask for them any longer.
Make a Big Deal
Is your child’s birthday coming up? Or is she moving on to a new classroom at daycare or preschool? This might be a good time to reinforce the idea that she is becoming a big girl by saying a formal goodbye to the binkies. Allow her to participate. You can have a little party during which you toss them in the garbage, or even pretend to mail them off to new babies who need them. Make it a fun affair with a treat or two, and make sure your child understands that this is a positive step.
Did you help your child kick the pacifier habit? How did you do it? Let us know in the comment section!