Pacifier, binki, tay-tay or nuk-nuk.
Whatever you and your child have decided to call it, it’s not the easiest of days when pacifier weaning begins!
The paci can be a lifesaver for baby (and Mama’s!) during the first two years !
Although, it has been said that if your little ones become attached for too long, it can become detrimental to their teeth and none-the-less, harder to get rid of.
It is recommended to start weaning at 12 months and rid off of the paci by 2 years of age.
This did NOT happen in our household!
Our first child is nearly 20 months old and she still LOVES her nuk-nuk! We have weaned her to only have the nuk-nuk for nap time and bed time.
Although, I have to say I do have my lenient moments when she is not feeling the best and allow it elsewhere. But for the majority of the time, our little girl doesn’t have it and deals well without it! Thankfully!
I know with my heart as a Mama that she will eventually wean completely off of the nuk-nuk. Although, at her age, she is still teething and sometimes needs the nuk-nuk as a comfort factor. For myself personally, I’m not pushing the aspect hard just yet.
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There are some parents that are against using a pacifier at all, some babies that just don’t take to a pacifier and some parents that allow their children to have a pacifier for longer than the recommended age. There is such a huge diversity with parenting and children!
Although, first I would like to point out some reasons why a pacifier could be a good thing!
Yup, here I am, always trying to look on the bright side of things!
Reasons A Pacifier Can Be Great For Your Child
1 Soothing or Comfort
For newborns and young babies sucking is in their DNA. So the pacifier provides that natural soothing comfort. The pacifier helps provide a comfort factor for children a bit older as well, towards the 2 year old stage.
Young toddlers go through many milestones that are life-altering to them. Walking, potty training, and moving into a toddler bed are all big changes in a little toddlers life!
The pacifier can help provide comfort during those big changes and being pushed out of their comfort zone.
This one can be paired with soothing too in a way, because the pacifier can work as a “chew toy” or distraction for the child when their teeth are coming in. The pacifier can help with the teeth breaking through or just act as a soothing aspect.
Think about it, their teeth are BREAKING skin. That’s got to hurt!
So, if a pacifier helps your little one through these rough moments, I say go for it mama!
Although, if you would rather not use a pacifier, you can always opt for a natural teething toy.
You can go for the all time popular and probably most known, Nuby Ice Gel Teething Keys. They are super cheap and you can find them at nearly any store that carries baby items or online which is a good option for when registering for a baby shower!
The Nuby Ice Gel Teething Keys usually run about $3.88 on Amazon with over 9,000 reviews for a 4.6 star rating!
Myself personally, I am a huge fan of always getting something “different”. I don’t like to have what everyone else has, call it a flaw if you will. So, even though we did have the Nuby Ice Gel Teething Keys, I also opted to pick up a few other items that turned into favorites!
The Toy Winkel Rattle & Sensory Teether Toy was a hit with our first born & I’ve already grabbed this baby out in preparation for baby number two!
The Winkel Rattle Teether is great for not only teething, but also other sensory learning because of the rattle sounds, the colors and the dynamic make of the toy itself.
The Winkel Rattle & Teether Toy usually runs about $11.38 on Amazon with over 7,000 reviews for a 4.8 star rating!
The other teething toy that we had gotten during our baby shower and our first born fell in love with from 3 months until nearly a year was the Oball Classic Ball.
Seriously, this is such a simple concept of a toy, but it is colorful, rolls, and flexible for the baby to teeth on and learn touch to pressure sensory.
This Oball Classic Ball is SUPER cheap rolling in at $3.99 on Amazon with over 3,000 reviews for a 4.9 star review!
Anyways, those are just a few options that we used to help our little one with teething instead of always giving her a pacifier. I was pretty big on not giving the nuk-nuk to our little one all the time and trying to occupy her with other options as well.
3 Acid Reflux
If your little one has acid reflux, the sucking can help with increased saliva which is a natural antacid.
Also, a medical study done by the Chinese Journal of Pediatrics found that non-nutritive sucking (sucking without feeding) can help with improving the rate that the stomach empties which in turn can help decrease the number of reflux episodes. The study was done with a group of premature infants, although still holds a valid point that it may help with infants that are not premature as well.
4 Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
The use of a pacifier is no longer known only for calming a baby, there have been multiple studies done on the effects of a pacifier in relation to SIDS.
A infant that sleeps with a pacifier has a reduced rate of suffering from SIDS by 90%.
I’ll take my chances with my baby becoming addicted to a pacifier please!!
8 Effective Ways For Pacifier Weaning
Now that we have covered a few reasons why a pacifier could potentially be a good thing for your little one, let’s dig into the time when weaning arrives! There are many different ways of weaning your child off the pacifier, so please do not feel limited to just these listed below.
Personally, we have not tried all of these because we only have one child so far and have not fully weaned her from the nuk-nuk due to our own decisions.
These tactics listed below are what I have learned from moms along my own journey and having grown up in a home daycare. I’ve seen and experienced a lot!
1 Cold Turkey
This may seem harsh and may be a rough couple of days, but after every storm comes a rainbow!
For this tactic, you’re going to need patience (a lot of it!) and to be able to stand your ground through the tears, whimpers, and screams.
If you take the pacifier away and end up giving it back a day later when you can no longer deal with the crying, you’re going to confuse that beautiful little brain.
The child’s…not yours.
So, this route takes preparation on our side for what may be to come in the next couple of days and patience.
When going cold turkey, there are a few things to consider in preparation so that things go a bit easier which you can read all about in 9 Tips To Make Pacifier Weaning Easier!
2 Slow And Steady
This route was a bit more easing to me as a mama, instead of going cold turkey. So far, we have started out by only giving our little one the nuk-nuk during nap time and bed time. During the day, I had to do my best to occupy her.
I know as the time comes, we will be working with weaning the nuk-nuk away at nap time and bed time as well. Yes, I am mentally already preparing for that moment!
This is the option that we have chosen for our first born so far, because as her mother, I have learned that our little girl takes well to when we talk to her about what’s going on. We explain slowly to what we are doing and why. She might cry a bit at first or throw a small tantrum, but within a day working on that one aspect, she’s got it!
Children are truly amazing in what they can understand and comprehend even when they are not at the point of saying words themselves yet!
3 The Send Off
This is another way of ridding the pacifier, especially if your child is a bit older.
A fun send off could be boxing the pacifier up to send to other kids that need the pacifier more than your child does. Some other ideas are to send the pacifier to the “paci-fairy” in exchange for something they are really wanting or tie it to a balloon with wishes good luck! (not the most eco-friendly, but if needed for your sanity, do it mama!)
4 Cut Off The Tip or Poke A Hole
Cutting off the tip or popping a small hole towards the bottom of the pacifier disables the “suction” that is so highly desired by the child.
Your little one will most likely let you know that something is “wrong”, which you can explain that the pacifier is “broken”.
Explain to your little one about throwing the pacifier away and why. If they will allow you to, let them help you do it!
If your child is young enough that they do not understand they can head back out to Wal-mart to get another one, this is probably the best time to try this one out!
Some discuss that cutting off the tip of the pacifier can lead to choking hazards, please be aware! So, another Mama follower had actually messaged me adding in the option of pooping a small hole at the bottom so that there aren’t any choking hazards!
5 Buy A Weaning System
They are always coming out with new and improved systems for nearly everything. So, this is a new one for me!
This is a fairly new product of theirs. I have a couple products from FridayBaby and I LOVE THEM ALL ALREADY! I mean we have the FredaBaby Snotsucker, The Snipperclipper Set, and The SmileFrida ToothHugger!
The FridaBaby Paci Weaning System is going to be a purchase for baby #2 in our household! I can’t wait to see how it all goes and review it! If you have used this product already, please comment below and let us know how it has worked for your kiddo so far!
The FridaBaby Paci Weaning System normally runs $19.99 on Amazon with 59 reviews for a 4.2 star rating!
6 Make The Paci “Yucky”
I’ve heard some Mama’s dipping the pacifiers into something that does not taste the greatest to your little one, like pickle juice or lemon juice. Another Mama follower suggested vinegar too!
Once you child gets a taste and makes the “yucky” face, they will start to associate the pacifier as not a good feeling for them anymore. Very similar to someone who might be a nail bitter.
7 Find A Replacement
Swapping out the pacifier for a replacement can usually help with children that are using the paci as a comfort system mostly. Normally a stuffed animal or soft, silky blanket will do the trick.
Now, be warned, this option is just as it sounds. With the replacement system, your child could potentially become attached to the new paci replacement.
8 Countdown Method
If your child is a bit older to be able to understand, maybe try this method. Decide on a day that your child will be giving up the paci and let your little one know about.
Keep explaining to your child leading up to D-Day, for example, “three more days and we are going to send our paci to the other children that need them”
The idea on this method is giving your child a heads up on what will be happening. This can help with the child understanding what is going to happen. The countdown method allows our children time to process before making the big change.
If you haven’t noticed, children tend to get frustrated when they don’t understand something or something is taken away quickly.
Don’t we all?!
The Take Away
Weaning your child off the pacifier does not HAVE to be a stressful situation. Most likely a few days of some tears, but all should soon pass.
Once you’ve decided on a weaning pacifier route, use these additional tips to help your kiddo get through the new transition a bit more smoothly.
Remember that every child is different. One route that may work for your first child may not be the route that second child takes to.
You may need to take upon the trial-and-error approach to find which way may help your little ones. Give each approach a bit of time before trying out another approach. Reason for this being that you don’t want to confuse your child during a huge transition in their life.
If you have come about another pacifier weaning tactic that I do not have listed and has worked for your child, comment below! I would love to hear what worked for you! I am always updating as I learn more from other Mama’s as well!
You Got This Mama!