Saturday, May 26, 2018

How to End the Pacifier Habit with Your Toddler

Pacifiers, or “binkies” are your child’s first loves. For many parents, this is the first tough decision you’ll have to make – when to introduce a pacifier, and when to take it away. Pacifiers are often used to soothe colicky babies, and it’s okay to feel relief when you hand your child a binkie mid-meltdown.

So, how do you know when the right time is to take a pacifier away? First, you should make sure you’re making safe choices when using a pacifier in the first place, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics:

  • Look for a one-piece model because two-piece models can break apart
  • The shield should be at least 1 inch across so your baby can’t swallow it
  • Get a dishwasher safe pacifier for regular washes
  • Inspect pacifiers regularly for damage and replace them when the rubber starts to change color or tear

Weaning Your Child Off of Pacifiers


Richard Dowell, PhD, a pediatric neuropsychologist at Evangelical Community Hospital in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania says, “Ultimately, children develop higher strategies to manage their distress – usually beginning at around age two. They phase out their pacifiers as they develop skills to replace them.”

Parents.com recommends to start removing the pacifier in “zero-distress” situations, like when you and your child are at home, and happy. Once he or she is used to not having the pacifier at home, try to eliminate use outside of the home.

Try to replace the pacifier with a blanket, or family photo – something that will bring your child comfort as you try to get them to only use the pacifier at home.

Remember: this will be a trying time! Be patient, and don’t give in to temper tantrums. Giving the pacifier back after a tantrum will teach your child that all he or she needs to do to get their way is throw a fit.

For other tips about toddler development, check out our other blog posts and visit our website!

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