Today we’re going to talk about a common challenge for parents of toddlers….
If you have a toddler it might be something that you’ve had to deal with (or are anticipating).
Raise your hand if you’ve ever wondered to yourself:
How in the world do I get rid of the pacifier?
Did you raise your hand?
I know my hand’s up!
This is a topic that can create a lot of angst and frustration for parents. After all, we’re talking about removing a prized loved possession from your child’s life.
Why does this have to be such a frustrating topic?
If you’ve ever considered taking it away…
It seems like there isn’t a simple solution that’ll both comfort our child and prevents a long-term habit.
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So often the guidance available for parents in learning how to get rid of pacifier ignores the emotional attachment the child has to their lovey.
You see, it doesn’t seem like a lot of the common advice acknowledges the deep attachment our little ones have to their pacifiers.
So much advice falls short!
And the advice that’s out there often tells us to do crazy fast breaks – such as just taking the pacifier away.
Now I don’t know about you…
But it doesn’t seem like the emotional attachment of my child is acknowledged by those giving advice like this.
Because he SUPER loves his pacifier.
And he would be devastated if we did this.
Plus, between working, keeping the house clean, managing different schedules, and everything else that happens in life, it’s hard to find a good time to make these kinds of transitions happen.
So we’ve cooked up a few ideas to help both us and you (if you’re reading this) get through this transition.
Let’s get into it:
Idea #1 For How To Get Rid Of The Pacifier
Reevaluate your bedtime routines!
…When was the last time you thought about your bedtime routine?
It can be so easy to just get in the habit of doing the same thing over and over.
But if you’re like us…
…you may not have even thought about your bedtime routine since your toddler was a baby.
In thinking about the transitions it can be good to look at what’s working and what’s not working.
One thing we realized was….
…that I was rocking him longer than he really wanted to be rocked.
So when you’re looking at transitioning away from big things like a pacifier:
It’s useful to think about your routine as a whole, and whether or not it’s working for you.
Because there’s a good chance that what worked in the past doesn’t work anymore.
Or even if it is working, it might not be the most optimal routine.
You don’t have to keep doing the same thing over and over just because it’s your routine.
You could, for example, start setting the stage to eventually quit the pacifier by changing up your routine, and making adjustments so that when you do take the pacifier away it’s more manageable.
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And it’s less of a jolt for your little person.￼
OK let’s talk about the next idea.
Idea #2 For How To Get Rid Of The Pacifier
Reduce your evening TV time!
Ok, now, of course, this isn’t some revolutionary idea.
But hear me out…
because I’ve got my own take on this.
Now you might be wondering:
What’s this got to do with a pacifier?
So let’s take a look at or let’s consider a few ways that too much TV time can throw off your bedtime routine for your toddler:
It can get everybody worked up
Plus, a lot of research that I’ve seen indicates that blue light is NOT good for us (and affects our sleep routines).
TV time can be a time suck during already very short evenings.
That there are other things you can do with your toddler that are maybe more conducive to their long-term development. Things like reading or even just singing a song.
And these are just a few ideas off the top of my head!
I haven’t even really talked about things that you can do to wind down.
Things like singing or reading a favorite book, doing a simple meditation, or doing some yoga with your toddler.
My point is:
If you’re like us and are working parents with a pretty long commute, then your evening time with your kids is probably pretty short.
And the TV is just a time suck.
Now, I’m not saying don’t watch TV. All I’m saying is that instead is to think about it and maybe instead of in my instead of two hours of TV watching an hour and a half and then spend the extra 30 minutes helping your toddler whine down
Because in my mind helping your toddler wind down is going to decrease the likelihood that they are going to need a pacifier for comfort.
OK let’s keep going. Onto the next idea
Idea #3 Last But NOT Least…
Start reducing the amount of time during the day that your little one is allowed to use the pacifier.
This is something that we read about it and we thought it was a great idea.
Because our little guy loves his pacifier so much that he would just grab it anytime he found it laying around.
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And after a while, once his teeth started coming in, we started to see how this would become a problem.￼
so we started thinking about times during the day that we could shift an away from always using a pacifier.
And this started with limiting the time he had in car rides to use it and just hanging out around the house.
I was pleasantly surprised.
He adapted faster than I thought. Now in the mornings after we get up we make a point of throwing his pacifier into the crib.
And this is had a couple of benefits…
It’s at it sets some boundaries and habits for when it’s appropriate to use the pacifier.
So later if he’s asking for a weekend reiterate that The pacifier is for sleeping and that’s why we put it in the crib
So consider this strategy if you’re looking for a way to gradually transition away from using a pacifier all the time.
The benefit the way I see it the main benefit here is that it’s not an all or nothing approach
Which to me sounds like a more humane strategy.
In my opinion.
And speaking of transition strategies, that leads me to my next and final idea:
Idea #4 Don’t Forget To Think About This Potential Health Impact
OK, this is the last idea.
And it’s the one that I found most helpful…
Because it really stems from one of the biggest problems that we were having…
….that let us want to get away from letting our son uses a pacifier.
We started to get concerned about how the pacifier would affect his teeth.
Now it really didn’t become a concern until several of his front teeth started to come in.
It was then we realize that continuing to use his pacifier could really affect the alignment of his teeth.
Now, I’m just sharing info I’ve read. Friendly reminder that I’m not a medical expert, talk to your dentist etc.
Maybe I’m just imagining things, but I feel like I can I feel like I was starting to see the impact.
So I felt a sense of urgency with figuring out a new approach.
I did some research online and found an intermediate pacifier option we could try since he’s sooo attached to his.
It’s just designed a little bit differently for a toddler with teeth.
After thinking about it we realized that nowadays he really only sucks on the pacifier for a few minutes at bedtime.
For most of the night the pacifier falls out and then he’s just sleeping with it cuddled up.
So it’s really more of a comfort thing than a concern that it’s in his mouth all my water. And once I realized that, felt a bit better about this transition option.
Plus it has a similar look and feel as the pacifier he used to have.
It’s really helped us make this transition in a way that we feel it’s more humane and does it just crushed his soul!
So if you’re facing this challenge, we recommend doing the same.
Thanks for reading!
We wish you the best with healthy helping your little one transition away from using a pacifier all the time.
And if you’d like to share your ideas or success stories, drop a comment below!