How to Wean your Child Off a Pacifier
A pacifier is enormously soothing to many babies, above all at certain times of the day. For example, just before falling asleep, when Mummy goes to work or in some case just before going to nursery school.
Using a pacifier for too long may have detrimental effects on the mouth and teeth, so the time will come when you have to wean your baby off the pacifier. But what should we do to avoid this from becoming a traumatic experience for your child?
Firstly, take it slowly and, in the case of older children (2-3 years), explain that they are big now and don't need a pacifier.
Don't talk to them about cousins, brothers or friends who don't use a pacifier. Your child doesn’t want to known about what other children do!!!
As in the case of diapers, don't try to wean your child off the pacifier if things are happening in the family (a new brother or sister, if you are moving house or your child is about to start nursery school or you are going back to work ...)
Remember that you can't go back: once you take the pacifier away from your child you can't give it back, not even for your peace of mind!
One approach is to wean your child off the pacifier gradually. For example, by asking your child not to use the pacifier at certain times or the day, or deciding that on certain days he or she won't be using it. You can also suggest that your child gives his pacifier to the kitty or doggy, a plush toy or elf, for just the night or a day or even a few hours if your child often uses his pacifier. This way your child will be weaned off his pacifier more gradually, rather than from one day to the next!
Managing to give up his pacifier will make your child feel more self-confident. Above all, if Mummy and Daddy praise and encourage him.
Another way is to tell your child that a fairy, an elf or someone else is coming to take back the pacifier and will be leaving a gift in return. Or you can make it a personal thing for your child by saying his pacifier will go to a less fortunate child who cannot afford to buy one.
Whatever you decide to do, the whole family or nanny must be included and most importantly remember to praise or reward your child in those first few days without a pacifier. This will make your child will feel "big" and in charge of the situation!