Pulling the Plug: Tips for Transitioning
Pacifiers have lots of benefits. They can help soothe your infant, distract them from a doctor’s visit and even lower the risk of SIDS. Over time, though, you’ll want to help your child break the pacifier habit.
Transitioning from the pacifier is important for your child since it helps them develop different ways of comforting themselves. It is also important to stop the paci habit as teeth come in, so tiny teeth can come in straight.
Tips for Transitioning
Since pacis are a part of your child’s life, you don’t want to throw them out. A gradual move to a new stage of development means:
Timing the Transition Right
In general, wait until your baby is about six months old. At this age, they can deal with stress differently than a smaller infant. You’ll want to delay transitioning even further if your baby has had any sort of upheaval or major change, such as a move or illness. The paci may be important during these events. However, it is important to transition your child by one and especially by age four, when dental and language development takes place and can be affected by a pacifier.
Making Sure No One Is Sneaking a Pacifier
Make sure all family members and care providers understand you are transitioning away from the paci. It will be less confusing if all adults act consistently.
Cutting Down on Use
Over time, consider making the pacifier a nap-only or bedtime-only occurrence. Then, try alternating, so the baby uses it some nap times but not others. Gradually increase the time between paci uses until it's simply gone from baby’s time. If your child fusses at first, create gentle distractions and use extra soothing to get through the hump. Extra cuddles, gentle rocking and stories can make your infant smile again!
Offering an Alternative
Try replacing the pacifier with another soothing activity or item. A favorite toy, singing together or working on words together can feel comforting, even without a paci.
Making the Process Easier With Swapping
Consider trading out the pacifier with a special toy or item. Nookums® Paci-Plushies are a great option because they attach to the pacifier. The baby gets used to gripping their favorite plush toy and still has the toy, even when the pacifier leaves. The familiar soft animal can help ease the change.
Reasoning With the Child
Consider getting your child to help pack up the pacifiers into a special box for “babies who need them.” You can try to explain pacifiers are for babies, and your child is now a “big kid” who doesn’t need them. Most kids are eager to take steps to grow up, so setting up the transition this way can make children interested in taking this big step.
Using Some Subterfuge
Some parents tell their kids the “binky fairy” collects pacis from big kids and leaves a toy in their place. Have kids gather all their binkies and leave it in a special spot for the binky fairy. Your child’s delight at finding a new toy in the place of the binkies can make the transition much smoother.
Making it Unappealing
Some parents put lemon juice on pacifiers to make them less palatable. This can make children naturally turn away from pacis. Just make sure not to alter the pacifiers in any way that could make them unsafe.
Order Paci-Plushies Today
Nookums Paci-Plushies can be one part of the equation when trying to teach your child to rely on pacifiers less. Check out all styles and the Nookums selection of options to choose the one right for your child and contact us today to learn more.