I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with the pacifier. It definitely came in handy during bedtime, naptime, and anytime my babies needed soothing. But God forbid it was dropped, lost, misplaced and I didn’t have an extra… INSTANT BABYZILLA.
Needless to say, I am SO happy to announce that my little one has officially been off the pacifier for 2 full months. #ProudMomMoment
If you’ve had a child who was addicted to their pacifier, then you know what an accomplishment it is to finally be able to ditch that thing for good! And if you are desperately trying to wean your baby from it – I’m here to tell you there is hope!
3 Things to Consider Before You Get Rid of the Pacifier
Both of my children were pacifier babies. My daughter (the oldest) until she was one year old and my son (the youngest) until he was a little over two. As soon as my daughter had her first birthday we got rid of the pacifier cold turkey. Surprisingly, after a few rough nights – she didn’t miss it. The situation with my youngest was very different. A couple things I’ve learned after weaning two children:
- Every child is different. What works for one, might not work for the other. Just because one child is ready for something at a certain age, doesn’t mean the other will. This stands true in almost every childhood development stage – whether that be breastfeeding, walking, potty training, talking, etc. As moms, it’s hard for us not to have expectations & make comparisons based off our firstborn. Even more so because we are naturally concerned with our children’s development. Just remember – no two children are alike.
- Make sure the timing is good for EVERYONE. The first time I attempted to wean my son was a complete nightmare. I made the mistake of not considering the fact that it was a school night for my daughter. I threw all the pacifiers away and he screamed & cried all night. My daughter lost a couple of hours of sleep because of it. I ended up having to buy a replacement in the middle of the night so that we could all get some rest. So, before you start the process, consider the others in the house that might be affected by it.
- Get EVERYONE on board. Tell everyone that you are getting rid of the pacifier. Friends, family, babysitters, nannies, teachers, & anyone who will be around/care for your child. It’s so important for everyone to be on the same page. This way you’ll have others reinforcing what you’re doing at home. Trust me on this one (I learned the hard way).
How To Prepare
There are two ways to end the pacifier habit. You can get rid of it cold turkey or you can gradually prepare your child before you get rid of it. With my daughter, I used the first method but with my son (after the school night incident) I decided the second method may be best. Some things we did to help prepare for the big day were:
- Take it out when he was sleeping. Once he would get in a deep sleep, I started taking the pacifier out of his mouth BUT still leaving it in his crib so that he could reach for it if he needed it. Eventually, he got to the point where he didn’t need the pacifier to stay asleep.
- Encourage him not to use it. The more talkative my son became the more the pacifier got in the way of him being able to communicate clearly. I would make it a point to tell him that I couldn’t understand what he was saying with the pacifier in his mouth. Because he wanted to be understood, he would take it out. Eventually, he associated his pacifier with confusion & began using it less.
- Tire him out during the day. I did my best to keep my son busy ALL day. I noticed that if I kept him active two things would happen. #1 – he would have so much fun that he wouldn’t think about his pacifier. #2 – when bedtime rolled around he would pass out because he was so exhausted… WITHOUT THE PACIFIER.
- Stopped giving him replacements. I only did this in certain situations & in most cases, I would just allow my son to “think” I didn’t have an extra. This worked best at home & not in public places where he could potentially have a meltdown. If he happened to misplace it & wanted another, I would do my best to redirect him with something else.
- Stopped bringing them to daycare. This is HUGE especially if your kid spends the majority of their day at daycare. I talked to my son on the way to daycare and would tell him that he had to leave his pacifier in the car instead of bringing it with him. I explained that he had to be a big boy and big boys don’t use pacifiers at school. The first few days he was upset, but eventually, he got to the point where he would hand me the pacifier before we went inside! If you want, you could always pack an extra in their diaper bag just in case, but I decided it was better to not bring it at all.
- Help him find another source of comfort. Babies need pacifiers to help soothe & comfort them which if you think about it is completely normal. Even adults having something that they use to help them feel better. For me, it’s wine (&I’m not weaning myself from that), writing, reading, shopping or pampering myself. Sometimes the best thing to do is help them find another source of comfort. You know your baby best! Think about what they like. In my son’s case, he has a crazy obsession with dogs. I decided to buy him a puppy stuffed animal & whenever he would get upset, instead of giving him the pacifier, I would tell him to hug his puppy.
- Stopped buying extras. In the beginning, I swore we had over 10 pacifiers in the house. Over time, of course, they get lost, misplaced & dirty. I made a commitment to myself to stop buying more & believe it or not, we got down to one pacifier. I told my son that once this pacifier was gone, that mommy wasn’t going to buy another one.
The Day We Ditched The Paci
I tried each of these things for about 3-4 months consistently & made sure to get all my family & friends on board. Mission Ditch the Pacifier was in full effect.
The day we actually said goodbye to the pacifier was when his very last one was left in a shopping cart. I noticed as soon as we got in the car, but he didn’t remember until a few hours later. I explained that he must have left it at the store. He looked a little sad and confused, but I immediately redirected his attention and it didn’t come up again until bedtime.
Surprisingly bedtime was not as rough as I thought because we had slowly been weaning him for a few months. It took about 10-15 extra minutes for him to fall asleep without it and this lasted for only 2 days! Thankfully, it was summertime, so sissy didn’t have to be up early for school.
He will still ask for his pacifier occasionally; usually whenever he sees another child with one. Other than that – he doesn’t bring it up at all! The key to weaning is being consistent and firm. There were SO many days where I wanted to give in & but I didn’t & it definitely paid off. I’ll admit it’s rough at first, but nowhere near as hard as you think it will be. Once you get through it, it’s like they don’t even remember the pacifier ever existed.