Pacifiers provide relief for babies learning to self-sooth, giving parents some relief as well. However, the pacifiers can turn into a problem down the road when a baby starts to develop teeth. If you have a baby who uses a pacifier, how do you know when to wean them off their binkie? In this guide, you will learn at what age a child should no longer use a binkie and how to go about getting them off of it.
What Age Should You Wean Your Baby From A Pacifier?
Like many things in parenthood, there’s no exact time for you to wean your baby from a pacifier. Some people start as early as 6 months old. Babies will hardly notice at this age, and it can reduce earaches. However, many parents still find the binkie useful at this age when babies may start encountering some new child development milestones that can cause anxiety.
Many experts suggest weaning your baby off their binkie by 9 months since the baby can develop an attachment to the item at this age, making the process much more difficult.
Most commonly, parents remove the binkie between 2 - 4 years old. While the child probably developed an attachment to the pacifier at this point, you can still use many tricks to help take their mind off of it with the help of a monthly subscription box.
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How Long Can it Take?
The length it takes to get rid of the pacifier depends on you and how you want to go about doing it as well as your child and their attachment level to the item. Generally speaking, you can do it the quick, painful way or the long, slightly less painful way.
Talk to your toddler to let them know that they will no longer get a pacifier after a specific amount of time (three days). Remind your child of the message multiple times the next couple of days until the day arrives. On that day, remove all binkies and search for hidden ones. Your child will cry and you want to replace their comfort toy, so try to get them something in its place, such as a teddy bear. After a couple of days of tantrums, the child should no longer need the pacifier.
You can prolong the process but minimize the tantrums by option for the slow and steady route. Start by talking to your toddler about getting rid of the pacifier. Try replacing it with other comfort toys. You can also try giving the child a choice about whether to use the pacifier or something else they enjoy. You can also try restricting usage to certain areas of the house or times of the day. Small progress will continue to larger progress and eventually not using a pacifier at all.
Tips for Stopping Pacifier Use
Some children drop their habit quickly, but many others don’t give it up so easily. If your child doesn’t want to say goodbye to their binkie, they may cry and whine, giving you a headache. Here are some tips for stopping pacifier use to hopefully make this difficult process a little easier.
Don’t Give In
You might feel tempted to give in and give your child a pacifier after hours of crying and begging, but you need to hold strong. You don’t want to teach your child that crying will get them what they want. Stay firm and find alternative ways of making them feel better, such as a distraction or a reward for not using the binkie (even if they did cry about it).
Related Link: How to Get a Baby to Sleep Through the Night
Practice Other Ways of Relieving Stress
Toddlers experience a lot of new and scary things almost every day, and that requires a bit of soothing. Since you won’t let your child use the pacifier to find relief, teach them some new ways to relieve stress.
Breathing techniques for babies will help your child while crying for their binkie and whatever stressor made them want the binkie in the first place. Have your child take deep breaths with you several times throughout the day to familiarize them with the idea. You can incorporate it into play time and reward them when they do the breathing without any complaint. When they feel nervous or cry, encourage them to take deep breaths like you do together every day.
One common way babies find stress relief outside of their binkie is through another object, such as their teddy bear, blanket, or toy. These other objects won’t cause any dental problems while still providing comfort, so they work as a perfectly natural progression in self-soothing. You can even try trading out the pacifier for the other toy as an even trade.
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When your child succeeds in finding other ways of soothing themselves, you should reward their good behavior with small treats. Be sure to explain to your child that they earned the reward for getting through the day without the binkie and without throwing a tantrum. The treats should normally consist of candy with a larger treat, like a toy, at the beginning of the process and when hitting important milestones.
Let It Happen Naturally
Ultimately, the child will wean themselves off the pacifier eventually. Most toddlers do this well before going to kindergarten. When the child notices other children not using a binkie, they will want to get rid of it, too. Every child gets off of it eventually, so don’t stress too badly if your child seems to want to hold on to it longer than you’d like. No child ever graduated college with a pacifier.
Related Link: Babies Are Expensive: How Much Does It Cost To Have One?
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