How Can I Wean My Toddler From The Pacifier?
Binky. Plug. Pacie. Nub. Whatever you call it, your child’s pacifier is often one of his earliest and most prized possessions. Pacifiers give comfort to your baby, and sometimes even to you. However, there will come a time when you will need to wean your toddler from the pacifier.
Many pediatric dentists suggest that the use of the pacifier may cause deformation sin the upper jaw, and therefore misalignment of the upper teeth. Other pediatric dentists do not make the same connection. There is no definitive research that fully supports either position. Still, there may be other problems, such as social problems, that can be caused by prolonged pacifier use.
When you decide to wean your toddler from the pacifier, she may struggle with you. She might throw fits, or she might not be able to sleep at all without it. If this is the case, there are some techniques that you can use to wean your toddler from the pacifier. They include:
– Offer rewards. Make a sticker chart that tracks each nap, day, or night where your toddler doesn’t have to use his pacifier. When your child decides on his own not to use a binky at nap time, reward him with extra hugs and praise.
– Substitute. Have your child trade his pacifier to you in exchange for a special toy. Offer a new stuffed animal for naptime or bedtime, and explain that the animal is a special “big kid” animal.
– Go slowly. Your child will eventually get there, but it may take some time. Start by encouraging her not to use her pacifier during a nap. Work up to more time, such as a full day, giving the pacifier only at night. While nighttime will be the most difficult transition, by going slowly you can ease the process of weaning your toddler from the pacifier.
– Pick the time to wean with care. If you have just moved, or if your child is in daycare or preschool for the first time, or if you have just had another baby, it may not be the best time to wean your toddler from the pacifier. Give these major life changes some time, and your toddler some time to adjust.
– Be consistent. Don’t give the pacifier back if you’ve already taken it away. This will confuse your child, and can also promote more and more fits.
– Be safe. Don’t cut holes in the pacifier, as this is a choking hazard. Don’t coat the pacifier in mineral oil, as this can cause the pacifier to break down.
While the process will probably not be easy, you can wean your toddler from the pacifier with a little bit of effort and a lot of extra patience.