When your child is a newborn, a pacifier can be very helpful. It provides comfort for a child that may help them fall asleep or recover when upset. In fact, some experts recommend the use of pacifiers in the first six months of an infant’s life to reduce the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). But there comes a time when parents may think that pacifier weaning is the way to go. If you’re wondering about how to get rid of pacifiers for your child, then read on.
When it’s recommended for children to stop using a pacifier
Experts recommend that children stop using a pacifier at 18 months to two years old. That’s because pacifiers increase the risk of ear infections for children more than one year old. Dentists recommend giving up the pacifier by two years of age to encourage proper development of teeth.
Consider why you want your child to give up the pacifier
Some parents want to do pacifier weaning because they feel their child is too old for a pacifier, for example, if the child is going to day care and the other children do not use a pacifier. Sometimes pacifiers cause issues with young infants during breastfeeding as well. Other parents may say that their child wakes up frequently because they lose their pacifier during the night.
Come up with a replacement
Think about why your child needs a pacifier, and then come up with a replacement behavior. When you remove the pacifier, it will be necessary to provide something else to fulfill that need. You may discover that if you take the pacifier away, the child will begin sucking on their thumb or sucking on objects. In this case, you may want to provide a special blanket or a stuffed animal or something that can temporarily replace the pacifier.
Tips for pacifier weaning
There isn’t one strategy that works, but the replacement method mentioned above can be a good first step. Other parents may choose to use a calendar and stickers; every time the child goes to sleep without their pacifier, they get a sticker on the calendar. If they exceed a certain number of days, then have a fun activity planned.
Another option is to have a going-away party for all the pacifiers. Talk about this with your child beforehand, and tell them that you’ll be donating the pacifiers to another baby who needs them. (Note that you may not be able to donate them, but it’s worth calling around to women’s shelters and non-profit organizations.)
We hope this guide on how to get rid of a pacifier has been helpful. Since 2007, My Second Home Early Learning Center has been a leading child care and learning center that’s helping kids grow up little by little every day.
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