How to Wrestle Away Your Baby’s Pacifier
So some children never use a pacifier, and some parents are vehemently opposed to its use, but some of us have a middle ground approach to it. SuperBoy has used one off and on since he was probably 2 months old. At this stage, 21 months, he only is allowed to use it for naps. There was a day when he forgot about and I rejoiced! But then he remembered it the next day when he saw one on the counter. Why didn’t I have the good sense to have eliminated all of them? When is too old to use one (subjective question, probably) and if you want to cease its use, how do you go about doing that?
1) Age limit for pacifiers?
My reading & polling of fellow parents provide a myriad of answers to the question for age limit for pacifier use. Mostly everyone seems to agree that around 12 months, both for medical and psychological reasons, pacifier use should be limited or eliminated. Hm. We’ve blown past that, but maybe our limited use doesn’t make us totally terrible parents.
See Baby Center’s article here, Mayo Clinic’s assessment on pacifiers in general here, Mamapedia has this to say about pacifier use here, and one of my favorite resources, Berkeley Parents Network says this on babies here and toddlers here.
2) Weaning it away.
Dr. Sears answers parents’ questions on how to wean from a pacifier at 17 months here and at 3 years old here. He’s not a big proponent of pacifiers to begin with. The weaning way seems to be comprised of slowly replacing whatever its primary uses are with either other objects (or persons) or distraction. Child gets agitated in the long car ride? Teething biscuit or sippy cup. Child has a boo-boo? Offer the breast or other soothing massage & rocking while he or she experiences the worst of the pain. Trouble going to sleep without it? Start a different night routine or take it out once he or she has fallen asleep. Provide a lovie or blankie to be a soothing presence instead at night.
Our pseudo weaning approach has been to have them completely out of sight except at a nap when he asks for it. Of course, he’s clever enough and has enough short term memory to ask just about every time.
3) Cold turkey.
The prevailing thought in this camp appears to be to cut off the tip so that the pacifier no longer can be a sucking agent. Then endure either nonchalance by the child, or spastic screaming crying for a few days. It’s a gamble! But also means everything moves more quickly (?). Perhaps, but I’m always reticent to be cold turkey about things for children based on the complexity of their needs and attachments.