Without a doubt, pacifier use is something that is highly debated by experts all around the planet. Although most agree that the use of a pacifier can be extremely helpful for a short period of time, in the long term, it can cause multiple issues; particularly when it comes to speech problems as well as encouraging smoking in adolescence. Not to mention dependency and attachment issues that can last the majority of their life.
However, for young babies, pacifiers can help to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Therefore, it's important to get a baby to use them for a period of time. Some experts argue about what a proper time is to give a baby a pacifier as well as to take them off of them. All agree that by the age of two, a baby should be completely off of pacifier/dummy/binky use. If a baby is taken off of using a pacifier by that age, they won't suffer any long-term damage to her teeth, according to WebMD.
Regardless of all of this, many mothers struggle with getting their baby to take a pacifier in the first place, getting them to continue to use it, and taking them off of it altogether. This list will tackle all three of these issues in two sections. One will discuss how a mother and father can help wean a child off of pacifier use, and the other will focus on how to make it last.
Without further ado, here are 10 ways to end the pacifier habit, and 10 ways to actually make it last longer.
20 End It: Just Stop
To make things easy, the first entry of this list is perhaps the most obvious, and at times, the most effective. In life, certain things are taken away from us in the blink of an eye. We don't have time to react or deal with it in any way. We simply have to adapt.
Of course, this is a concept that babies will not get on a psychological or emotional level, but if their binkies are suddenly taken away from them, their bodies will eventually get used to it; even if they put up one heck of a fuss beforehand.
As the experts say, on sources cited at the bottom of this article, pacifier use needs to be completely stopped by two years if not before. Some claim that 6 months of use is more than enough. Otherwise, a child is sure to have long-lasting psychical and psychological damage.
So, however you decide to get rid of a pacifier, it will be beneficial in the long run. And sometimes the simplest measure is the most effective. In short, just take it away from them for good and don't look back.
19 Make It Last: The Tasty Binky
Babies are fussy. There are no "ifs", "ands", or "buts" about it. Babies can be especially fussy if they are used to being breastfed. Weaning them off of it and onto a binky or pacifier may be difficult for some.
In short, the taste, smell, as well as the feel, of a binky or pacifier is not even comparable to what they've been spending their time with since they were born. Rubber, latex, and silicone are no comparison to a woman's breast.
However, there are tricks to get your baby to take a binky, or get them to keep taking it. One such trick is dropping some breast milk onto it for them to suck on. They will like the taste, as it will also more natural to them.
18 End It: Comforting The Baby
Another simple way of getting your baby to give up pacifier use is to comfort them everytime you take it away. They may sound like a no-brainer, but it's actually a difficult process. You will need to do this in steps.
Essentially, you will need to get your baby used to having time without their beloved and precious binky. And each time you do, they must feel like they're safe and comforted. This is a necessity. You can ensure this feeling by rocking them, singing to them, massaging them, or just generally making them feel loved. Eventually, you will give them the binky back.
17 Make It Last: Separate From Baby
Although sometimes it may not seem like it, babies aren't dumb. At least, they are smart enough to detect your smell. And if they have been breastfed, it can be really hard for you to get them to accept that the bit of plastic they're supposed to suck on is better than their mother. Essentially, the babies expectations can get really high after they've been breastfed, which, of course, is incredibly important for a baby as well as a mother's connection to that baby.
One way to ease them into lowering their expectations, and therefore accepting a binky, is by separating yourself from them. This is where a partner or friend can come into play. Once you are out of the picture, and they can't smell you, they may have no other choice than to take what someone else is giving them.
16 End It: Remove From Sight
In many aspects of life, the simple adage of "out of sight, out of mind", can be really effective. Initially, our minds and bodies will fight back against it, but in time we will get used to whatever we have separated from, or what has been separated from us.
The same is true for babies and binkies. If there isn't one around for them to use, they will be less likely to want to use it.
This doesn't mean that you just take it away altogether. What you could do is simply remove it for a while when they are busy playing. When they look for it (if they do at all), they will be more used to the fact that it's no longer there. Then you can give it back to them and do it all over again until they no longer look for it.
15 Make It Last: Warm The Pacifier
One of the simple scientific reasons why a baby is so attracted to a human breast, versus a pacifier, is that the human nipple is warmer. Normal body temperature is 37 degrees Celsius and 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. A pacifier, however, is usually room temperature. That tends to be somewhere around 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit).
By simply warming up a pacifier, a baby is more likely to take it or using it for longer. You can do this by placing it under some running tap water for a while or soaking it in a tub of warm water. Just make sure that it's not too hot and that you squeeze out all the entrapped water before giving it to your child.
14 End It: Make Them Gross
For people who are seeking to drop a few pounds, there are a few beneficial tricks. One gross one, used by experts, is spitting up chewed food and eating it. This is to psychologically trick them into thinking that what they loved to eat is actually just plain disgusting. And even the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake is pretty yucky when covered in saliva and maintaining none of its shape.
A similar technique can be done on babies who won't give their binky/pacifier up. You simply make their pacifier unappealing to them. You trick them into taking it as they normally would, but you give it a sour lemon taste that will make them not want it anymore. Just make sure that there aren't any choking hazards on the end of the pacifier.
13 Make It Last: Distract The Baby
Getting an infant who is accustomed to being breastfed to take a pacifier can be a truly difficult challenge for new parents. Sometimes they are stuck with a stubborn baby that won't do everything that their parents want. But have no fear, there are many tricks to use to attempt to overcome this.
By simply changing a babies environment or distracting them a number of things can be accomplished. First of all, they are psychologically encouraged to try new things, as well as they're distracted by the things they know. This is precisely the time to get them to use a pacifier.
Examples of changing up a babies environment include playing some music or making clicking noises, change the room you normally breastfeed them in, going outside, and positioning your baby differently than you normally would when breastfeeding.
12 End It: Distract The Baby
Distraction can be used in many beneficial ways. Not only is it great for getting a baby to take a binky in the first place, it's also a stellar way of getting them to give it up altogether.
By distracting a baby with a snack or a new toy when you take away a binky, a baby can feel less in distress. If you keep doing this for a little while, they will become more and more used to not having a binky at all.
Healthy snacks are a great way to distract a baby when a pacifier is taken away. This means they can also use their mouth which just lost something it was used to.
11 Make It Last: Try Different Kinds
If you want a bay to continue using a binky, trying an assortment of styles can be beneficial. Although this can be a costly way of getting them to use them, it can also intrigue an infant enough into doing it.
Not every pacifier is going to be right for your child. They could react better with certain models, shapes, colors, or textures. Since a baby has a hard time verbalizing these desires, you simply may have to try as many as you can until one works.
The product used to make a pacifier is also something a baby may have a preference to, whether they know it or not. For example, some infants prefer pacifiers made with latex.
10 End It: Break it
For an older child who hasn't yet learned how to give up a pacifier, explaining that it has broken can be an effective way of not only getting them to give up the habit but also learn important lessons about how not everything lasts forever.
If you take a pair of scissors and secretly cut off the end of the pacifier, they can see for themselves that it's broken and cannot be used any longer. Just make sure that you don't let them stick it back in their mouths as it can be a choking hazard.
Another trick, that's slightly less manipulative but is along the same lines, is to announce when you plan to take the binky away from them and keep reminding them until you actually do. This way, they know what's coming down the pike.
9 Make It Last: Use It When Baby Is Sleepy
Much like adults are, babies are a lot more accepting of things when they are not entirely conscious. Therefore, when a baby is on his or her way to sleep, this could be a great time to introduce and/or continue to get them to use a pacifier.
If you keep doing this at bedtime, eventually they will get more and more used to the idea. Eventually, they will take a pacifier during the daytime far more easily than if they were introduced to it when fully conscious and able to put up more of a fight.
In short, making a pacifier part of the bedtime routine can be an excellent way to get a beautiful little baby to use them all of the time.
8 End It: The Binky Fairy
Many parents use fantasy to encourage their children to stay away from bad habits. A good example of this is being good for Santa Claus in order to stay off of his "Naughty List". yeah, that's right, sorry, folks; Santa isn't real.
But this idea can work for weaning children off of the use of binkies and pacifiers. If the child knows that "The Binky Fairy" is coming to collect their pacifiers, you can make it into a bit of a game for them.
Get your child to help you collect all of the pacifiers in the house in order to place them in the box for the Binky Fairy to come and take. As a reward, she will leave a toy for that child to enjoy. In short, fantasy can go a long way to get your child to break habits that could be detrimental to them if they go on for too long.
7 Make It Last: Introducing It Late
Introducing a child to a pacifier late in the game is almost a sure-fire way of making sure that the pacifier addiction stays for longer than it should. However, if this is something that a parent wants than it's a good way of getting a child to use them.
Some parents want to introduce a pacifier a little later as they know that their child is far more comfortable breastfeeding than they are with anything else. This just means that it may be slightly uncomfortable and demanding for the mother.
Usually, doctors will recommend that pacifiers not be used until a month after birth anyway. But these pediatricians will be able to tell you their opinions on a case by case deal.
6 End It: Don't Offer It Up
Getting your infant to wean off of pacifier use can be a huge ordeal for some families. Sometimes the best thing to do is simply not offer it to them as a tool to calm them.
This doesn't mean that you cut them out entirely, but making sure that you don't let them become addicted to them at the start can be beneficial for when you want them to stop using them.
But even when only focusing on the period of time that you want to move them away from using a pacifier, you can limit the time they use it. Meaning that you can give it to them for certain periods of the day, then get them used to periods without it. If they cry and scream, simply don't give it to them; not only are you rewarding poor behavior, but you're letting them fall back on what could become an addiction.
5 Make It Last: Attractive Pacifiers
Babies are very easily entertained. In fact, being around them is a great way for people to boost their confidence; they practically laugh and smile at everything. Although, there is a flip-side; they can scream and cry at everything as well. But what usually cheers them up are bright, shiny, dangly things. They're just so darn entertaining to them.
So, in regards to encouraging pacifier use, purchasing a pacifier that is bright, fun, colorful, and interesting may actually get them to use it. Even better if you can wiggle or rattle the pacifier in front of them, they may just want to stick it in their mouths.
4 End It: Lose It
When you're a new parent, you're usually overwhelmed by countless baby products that you bought to deal with every possible scenario. Although you may have everything at your disposal, they can easily be misplaced. And, let's face it, the life and job of a mom is very hectic and therefore it's supremely easy to lose things. This goes for pacifiers as well.
But if you're trying to get your baby to stop using a pacifier and you misplace it one day, let it be lost. Don't go looking for it. If you know where it is, you may just want to give it to them to stop their screaming. But don't.
Additionally, you could also purposefully misplace the pacifier. If you don't have it, you won't be tempted to use it and the child will have to adapt to the situation, even if they have to cry a lot to get to that point.
3 Make It Last: Introducing At The Right Time
Although introducing a pacifier late in the game can be a great way for a child to latch onto it, introducing it at just the right time can be as well.
It's well documents that the use of a pacifier around bedtime or during quiet moments in the day can help reduce the risk of SIDS. Therefore, most parents are completely for using them when the time is right.
But pediatricians recommend that a parent wait at least 3 - 4 weeks before introducing them since it's important to establish a nursing schedule beforehand. Routine is vital for infants, as well as new mothers stressing out about the duties of parenting.
But some pediatricians want a baby to wait a little longer for a pacifier. To be specific, they want them to wait 6 to 8 weeks. That way a mom's milk supply can be well established, as well as the baby's six-week growth spurt can be completed.
Once at this point, a baby has a better chance at staying with a pacifier for a longer period of time, even if it's a struggle to get them to use it in the first place.
2 End It: Limit The Number Of Them
Children can get awfully attached to a specific thing. A blanket is a good example. Some kids can get so connected with that one blanket that it's difficult for them to part with it when the time comes. Additionally, new parents have an easy time losing things so they tend to purchase multiple versions of the same product. Both of these sounds like reasons why it's good to purchase multiple pacifiers, but it's actually not.
Once a pacifier is finished with, you either purchase a new one or you get rid of them altogether. Once they're gone, they're gone.
If you keep giving your baby a new pacifier every couple of weeks, they're going to start getting used to that trend as well. Then, once you think you've gotten them off of pacifier use, there will be a temper-tantrum episode which will cause you to find that extra one you bought and use it just so they'll be quiet. This is a mistake if you want them to get off of using them.
1 Make It Last: Reverse Psychology
Everyone wants what they can't have; that is the sad, but true, nature of humanity. That obviously includes children as well. Therefore, a parent could use reverse-psychology to their benefit when trying to introduce or keep a child using a pacifier.
Every time you get a child to latch their lips around a pacifier, pull it out a little bit. Do this continuously - meaning a few times a day for as long as it takes. Deny them what you want them to have. Eventually, they will be wanting it more and more. After all, they believe that whatever they put in their mouths belongs to them.
This "bait-and-switch" act is also beneficial for breastfeeding as well. Each time you deny them, they will try a little harder to get it.
Sources: Mom 365, Parents.com, Health Line, Wikihow, Baby Sleep Site, Baby Center, Asha.org, NCBI, Breastfeedo, Happiest Baby, Easy Baby Life, Live Strong, We Have Kids, Mom Woot