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Friday, September 4, 2015

Guide to Weaning from the Pacifier

I've had three babies and experienced different attachment items with each of them. Kye was my first and he used a paci. And my experience with the pacifier with him made me more mindful about pacifier use for future babies. Both of my girls also "used a pacifier" but it was never an attachment item for them and we never had to deal with "weaning" from it. 

This is a simple guide I created from my own personal experiences to help wean from the pacifier:

How to Avoid Making the Pacifier a Sleep Prop

A pacifier can be a wonderful tool to help in sleep training your baby. However, it can also can easily become a sleep-prop, which will disrupt your baby’s ability to self-soothe to sleep.

The best way to use a pacifier for an infant while avoiding it becoming a sleep prop is to limit it’s use to the crib only. It is also best to only use it when the baby wakes early from naps or night sleep and needs help to fall back to sleep. You want to let your baby fall asleep on their own at the start of naps and nighttime sleep so they will learn to self-soothe. By not using it outside of the crib and by only offering it when the baby wakes early, it will not become a sleep prop. Once the baby sleeps for a full nap and through the night without waking early, they will no longer have the “need” for the pacifier. There will be no weaning process because your baby will not have an attachment to it.

What if it’s Already a Sleep Prop?

If your baby is already very attached to a pacifier you will need to begin a weaning process. The first step is to limit the pacifier to the crib only and only for times of sleep.


It’s easier to wait until your baby is old enough to understand and reason before beginning to wean them from their pacifier. At around 2 years old children are better able to understand their world around them and it’s a good age to focus on becoming a “big kid” and getting rid of the “baby pacifier.”


How to Wean From Pacifier
  1. Take toddler to toy store and allow them to choose a new comfort object to sleep with (a stuffed animal, blanket, etc)
  2. Focus on them being a BIG KID now and talk a lot about how the pacifier is only for babies
  3. Gather up all pacifiers and cut the very end of the part they suck on off. Just a small bit of the tip and it'll make the pacifier lose it's appeal.
  4. Continue to give the pacifier at times of sleep. Your child will notice right away that it "is broken." If they don't notice, then continue to cut off more and more of the tip each day until there is nothing left for them to suck on.
  5. Allow them to decide when to throw the pacifier in the trash. Make this a BIG deal, lots of praise and even pull up You Tube videos of garbage trucks collecting trash and taking it away. If possible let them watch your actual garbage truck take your trash and wave "bye bye" to the pacifier together. 
  6. Remind them that they threw away the pacifier whenever they are upset.
  7. It will take time to fully adjust. You will notice sleep issues and be prepared to offer comfort when needed. Move naps and nighttime sleep earlier to help them get the rest they need while adjusting. When they are upset, remind them that the pacifier was broken and that they threw it away and how proud of them you are!
  8. It takes time and patience but soon the pacifier will just be a distant memory :)

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