Are you waking up during the night to a screaming baby because their pacifier has fallen out and they need you to come in and put it back in? Don’t worry… We’ve been there but with twins!
We eventually got tired of our boys waking up because their pacifier fell out so we eventually decided to wean them off their pacifier. We talk about the benefits of pacifiers, how how we weaned our twins off a pacifier and what we replaced it with.
What’s the Purpose of a Pacifier?
Pacifiers (or dummy as they’re called in some parts of the world), are a great way to help sooth and provide comfort to your little one. Generally speaking, pacifiers are used from the age of newborn all the way to a couple of years old. There’s many benefits of using a pacifier which includes:
- Provides comfort – One of the biggest benefits of using a pacifier is that it helps comfort and help reduce crying and improve sleep. This is only natural as your baby is looking for something to suck on in those early months to help give mum’s breasts a break.
- Helps reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) – Studies have found that falling asleep with a pacifier helps reduce the risk of SIDS.
- Helps reflux – It’s thought that using a pacifier helps with saliva production which is a natural antacid. This is particularly useful for any babies that are going through a stage of reflux.
When Should I Wean My Child Off the Pacifier?
There’s no hard or fast rule to when you should wean your child off a pacifier. For us, we made the decision to wean our boys off using a pacifier when they would wake up in the middle of the night crying for us to put it back in. Perhaps this becomes less of an issue as your child becomes older and can place the pacifier back in themselves but for us, we decided it was time to wean them off.
For us, we transitioned the boys onto using a comforter (essentially a breathable teddy bear) which they use to soothe themselves as they’re going to sleep. We’ll talk about this transition later in the post.
By taking our boys off the pacifier we found the boys became better self settling themselves.
Other people recommend weaning your child off using a pacifier at around the age of 2 due to potential risks that it may impact your child’s tooth alignment.
5 Different Approaches for Getting Your Baby to Stop Using a Pacifier
If you’ve decided it’s time to call it quits with your little one using a pacifier but unsure where to start, we’ve created the below list of 5 different ways you can wean your baby off using a dummy.
As mentioned earlier in the post, we transitioned our twin boys off a pacifier at around the 5 month mark. Before we did though, we began transitioning the boys to a comforter. This is basically a small teddy like this one from Amazon that is breathable so you don’t run the risk of your child suffocating from it.
We introduced the boys to their comforters around a month before we begun transitioning them off the pacifier. Before we gave them the comforter, my wife slept with it in her bed for a few days to build up her scent on the comforter so it smelt familiar. We got the boys used to the comforter for a month and then took away the pacifier.
Whenever we wash the comforters we’ll always follow a similar process of my wife sleeping with it for a day or two to build back up the scent.
If your child is older (2-3+), some people recommend taking your child to the store and letting them choose their replacement for the pacifier. Explain to them that you are retiring the pacifier and whether they would like to choose something to replace it with.
2. Gradually Decreasing Pacifier Use
If your little one is using a pacifier multiple times throughout the day, we recommend weaning them off gradually by cutting down pacifier time during the day first. It’s less risky to take the pacifier away during the day instead of at night time to avoid having a tired and worked up child.
When weaning your child off during the day, we suggest trying to replace it with something to take their mind off the fact they don’t have it. Perhaps they have a favourite toy, book or even TV show (our kids love the Wiggles in Australia).
3. Talking to Them
If your child is old enough (2+) we recommend talking to them about taking the pacifier away. Some people recommend pretending there is a ‘pacifier fairy’ who will come and take their pacifier away.
4. Damaging the Dummy
Although we haven’t tried this one ourselves… Some people recommend snipping the end of the pacifier with scissors. Your child will hopefully realise that the pacifier isn’t quite normal and not be interested in using it.
5. Cold Turkey
If you’re brave, why not just make your child go cold turkey and take the pacifier away from them? Depending on your child, you might have a few painful days but once they realise (or forget!) that it’s not coming back, you’ll be OK!
Personally, we’d only recommend this as a last resort and would recommend gradually reducing how often your child uses a pacifier and then eventually taking it off them completely once they have reduced their use.
Closing / Summary
We hope this gude on weaning your child off a pacifier has been helpful! While some techniques like damaging the dummy won’t be for everyone, we hope that you’ve managed to find a technique that will work for you!
Thanks for reading.