Pacifiers! Some babies love them, some babies hate them. Some babies give up their pacifiers as early as 12 months old, while others hang on to them in their preschool years. If you have a little one that has a habit of pacifier use and you want to break that habit, here are a few tips.
There are two approaches to getting rid of the pacifier: cold turkey and gradual weaning. Only you can decide what is right for you and your child. What works for one may not work for another. You can decide based on your parenting style which is the best approach for you.
If you decide to give up the pacifier cold turkey, be firm in your decision. All caretakers must be on board, including grandparents, daycare workers, and babysitters. Also, be sure to collect pacifiers laying around your house. The last thing you want is your little one to find a pacifier the week after you've given it up and have to start the process all over again.
Choose your timing wisely. You probably don't want to start this the day before you go on a long plane ride.
If cold turkey is not for you, you can begin to wean gradually. The first step is to limit the pacifier to only nap time and bed time. Eventually, you can take the pacifier away at these times, too. If you're consistent, hopefully this will take no longer than a week or so.
Tips for a smooth transition
To make things easier on your child, you could replace the sucking habit with a new form of self-soothing, such as a new doll or stuffed animal. Praise your child whenever he sleeps through the night without crying out for his pacifier.
You may want to consider a "goodbye binky" party where your child realizes this is a final step. Whatever you do, remember: consistency is the key to success.