Time to Pass on the Pacifier

closeup new yellow baby pacifierBabies have a natural sucking reflex, and this behavior soothes and comforts them when they’re hurting, hungry, startled or lonely. Pacifiers are a way to satisfy that sucking reflex while giving mom a break in the process. While research shows that pacifiers can actually be good for babies at bedtime, most experts agree that using a pacifier all day every day can lead to ear infections, dental problems and delays in speech as babies get older.

Dropping the binky

So, how do you go about weaning your little one off of the daytime pacifier? It probably seems like a daunting process, but with plenty of patience and consistency, it can be done!

Limit use

It’s usually easier to gradually phase out the pacifier, rather than expecting your baby to go cold turkey. At first, try to increase time away from the pacifier during the day, until you can limit use to only naps and bedtime. Once your baby can happily survive the waking hours without it, you can further limit pacifier use to only nighttime. Resist the urge to overexplain; just say: “The pacifier stays at home,” at first, and then: “The pacifier stays in your crib.”

Teach self-soothing

When your child looks for comfort during the day, instead of offering a pacifier, try offering a favorite toy or blanket. This will help them learn to self-soothe with other familiar items and become less dependent on the pacifier.

Be consistent

This is the most important aspect of helping your child to establish or break any habit. There will probably be tears, but if you give in after a tantrum, you can bet that your child will remember that this is the way to get what they want. Be firm, but kind, and offer lots of praise whenever your baby goes without the pacifier.