A pacifier is intended to soothe your child. So, why would we ever want to get rid of such a magical device? Of course, it’s because the mere thought of your child entering grade school with a pacifier in his pocket makes you shudder.
The decision to quit the binky habit can be a tough one for parents, who fear , as their child cries for their beloved pacifier. And while some medical experts feel a baby should be weaned from a pacifier around 12 months, many parents allow their child to continue having them into the preschool years.
It was very difficult for my first son to give his up. The year he turned 2, I was determined to put an end to it. Then he had surgery, I got pregnant, and before I knew it, he was 3-years-old still sucking a binky.
I was mortified.
Rather than have the just take it in the middle of the night, we decided there would be a reward when he decided to give the binky to his baby brother. At first there was resistance, but after talking about how babies use pacifiers—not big boys—he handed it over and never looked back.
It was so easy, I wished we had done it sooner. But in reality, it was easier for me to let it be his decision.
It's important to recognize that early use of a pacifier can significantly reduce the risk of SIDS and can be a calming effect for babies. However, prolonged use can cause speech delays, dental issues and increased incidence of ear infections.
When I confessed my concerns about my then 3-year-old’s attachment to his binky, our family pediatrician was very relaxed. He said, “I’ve never seen a third-grader with a pacifier,” subtly letting me know, I didn’t have to worry. In time, it would be gone. I found solace in knowing research showed no permanent dental damage is done prior to a child turning 4.
There are plenty of tactics to assist your child in giving up the pacifier. Some pediatricians have a board that they hang it on, other parents use a "binky fairy" who delivers a big kid a present in return for the pacifier, and toy stores even cooperate with seemingly taking them as currency for a toy.
Whatever method you use, it’s important you make the decision and stick to it. Once it’s gone, it's gone. Don’t give in. Giving in means the child has the power, and you have a whole different ballgame.
How old were your children when they gave up their pacifiers? How did you break the habit? Tell us in the comments.