Saying farewell to pacifiers won’t be as challenging with these simple steps for weaning your baby off of his/her binky!
RELATED: Baby Weaning Techniques
How to Wean Your Baby off of Pacifiers and Use Other Methods to Soothe Their Crying
Step 1: Time it Right
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When to get rid of a pacifier? It’s best not to start taking their binky away when big changes happen, as this can be stressful for your baby. A family vacation, the arrival of a new sibling, a long car ride, moving into a new house, or starting them at daycare can make them fussy or moody.
Your child needs to be able to soothe themselves when challenging situations happen. Wait until they have another way of calming themselves. Don’t start weaning them off of toddler pacifiers when these events happen.
Step 2: Get Everyone on Board
Make sure everyone’s fully prepped and aware of ‘Operation: Bye Bye Binky!’ Let all caregivers, nannies, and relatives who’ll be taking care of your child know of your plans to wean your baby off of pacifiers.
Step 3: Take Away the Pacifiers Early
Doctors say the most effective strategy for weaning off of baby pacifiers is to take them away at an early age. Babies will strongly protest the end of one of their beloved habits, but the transition can be easier and simpler if you take away pacifiers when your child is too young to express displeasure using words.
Step 4: Quit the Pacifier by 2 Years of Age
Using baby pacifiers beyond age two might result in long-term damage to their teeth. Dental problems can begin to occur at this age.
The frequent use of pacifiers past this age can also interfere with your baby’s language development skills. A child may be less likely to practice using words and making sounds when they have a binky in their mouths.
Be careful with the prolonged use of pacifiers. This affects the development of language skills and dental issues of your baby.
Step 5: Avoid Being Too Reliant on the Binky to Soothe Your Baby
When your child starts to cry or have a meltdown, step away from the binky! Don’t use baby pacifiers as the first line of defense when you want to calm your child. There can be many reasons why your baby is crying, and it’s best not to cave in.
Check for signs of hunger, a soiled diaper, temperature, and other factors which can make your child uncomfortable. The less you depend on pacifiers, the less your baby will rely on them too.
Step 6: Limit Baby’s Binky Use
Try to have a set schedule or time when you’ll use the pacifier. Restrict its use by letting your child have it only when you’re at home. Phase it out during the day and offer it only during naptime or bedtime in the evening. Make this process gradual, slow, and easy so it won’t be as challenging for you and your child.
Weaning baby off of pacifiers or limiting its use during nighttime is normally the most difficult. Try to start a new routine before bedtime, or switch up your current routine.
Give baby a relaxing bath, read to them, or rock them to sleep. Phase out the pacifiers by trying out different things to prepare them for bedtime.
Step 7: Offer Your Baby Another Transitional Object
Instead of pacifiers, try to offer your baby another transitional object. Let them use this to relieve their stress or help them self-soothe.
A new stuffed animal or a snug blanket instead pacifiers can help them adjust to new situations. These are security items which your baby can use to feel more comfortable.
Couple these security items with soft singing, light swinging motions, or a massage. These methods can help you ease your baby’s discomfort without the use of pacifiers.
Step 8: Read Books About It
Reading to your child is a wonderful time to cuddle with them and encourage their love for books. Use this bonding time to inspire the behavior you’d like to see as well. Try reading stories which can help introduce your child to new habits and behavior changes, like giving up pacifiers.
Here are some reading options for helping your child say goodbye to their binky:
- “Bye-Bye Binky” by Brigitte Weninger
- “No More Pacifiers!” by Melanie O’Brien
- “Bea Gives Up Her Pacifier” by Jenny Album
- “Pacifiers Are Not Forever” by Elizabeth Verdick
- “No More Pacifier for Piggy!” by Bernette Ford
- “Binky” by Leslie Patricelli
- “Baby’s Binky Box” by Jennifer Ormond
Step 9: Cheer for Your Child When They Choose Not to Use His/Her Binky
Praises for your baby should not be in short supply when they choose not to use pacifiers. Make it known how awesome they are when they go binky-free. Compliment them or offer them fun little rewards. You can give them stickers, Play-doh, or their favorite snack to munch on.
Step 10: Stay Positive and Patient
The process of weaning your baby off of pacifiers can take time. Be sure not to punish, scold, or use negative reinforcement if they resort to using it again.
It’s one of the ways your child uses to soothe themselves. Angry or disappointed reactions might make them rely on it even more.
Negative reinforcement will only create stress, fear, and distrust. Stay positive and patient throughout this journey and let nature run its course.
Step 11: Make the Pacifier Taste Bad or Unappealing
A pacifier which tastes unpleasant might make the separation easier. You can try dipping their pacifier in lemon juice or white vinegar to put them off at the taste. They’ll come running to mama and go bye bye binky must faster!
Step 12: Have a Farewell Ceremony for Their Binky
So, your child is ready to give up toddler pacifiers. Hooray! Celebrate this farewell with a special ceremony. This trick works quite well with older children.
Make it a rewarding experience for them by taking them shopping for a new toy. Allow them to “pay” for the new toy with their old pacifier.
Step 13: Quit the Binky Cold Turkey
You want your baby to grow from a binky-sucking toddler into an independent child. Try quitting the pacifier use cold turkey as this method can be effective. It’s going to take a great deal of determination and patience on your part.
Give the pacifier away, lose it on purpose, or just say no. Stand your ground when they start to throw a fit and give it a week or two. This way, you and your baby can both quit pacifier use completely.
Check out this video from Howcast for 7 frequently asked questions about pacifiers:
Pacifiers are one of the tools both parents and babies like to use to soothe stress. Binkies help stop babies from crying and parents can relish in the silence without their child wailing.
It’s tempting to rely on pacifiers for a long time, but weaning your child off of them is a necessary step in their growth and development. Stick to these methods, and you’ll both be saying ‘bye bye binky’ in no time.
What other comforting methods do you like to use to help wean baby off of pacifiers? Share your favorites with us in the comments section below!