Pacifiers are one of those things that can be our best friend and our worst enemy. Many parents find ditching the pacifier one of the hardest sleep hurdles to overcome because they know how effective it can be in the moment when they're trying to calm their baby, but eventually, it becomes this tedious thing where they have to constantly be running to put the pacifier back (a.k.a. the "paci dance") in and it becomes more of a hurdle than a help.
Now don't get me wrong, pacifiers aren't the worst thing! They're actually recommended for babies under 6 months to help decrease the risk of SIDS (by both Health Canada
and the AAP
). But after this point, pacifiers can start to have an impact on the development of your child's palette, start to impact sleep and your child can start to build a strong attachment to the pacifier.
So, if you're ready to ditch the pacifier but you're not sure how, here are 6 different methods to consider!
1. Cold turkey. This is by far the quickest and the one I recommend the most, simply don't offer the pacifier anymore! Although your child will naturally be frustrated by this. At first, they'll lean into another sleep association and in no time will be totally fine without using the pacifier!
2. The paci fairy. Think, tooth fairy but with the pacifier. Explain to your child that the paci fairy is a fairy that comes and takes far as to new babies and gives children gifts in exchange for their pacifiers I'm at the pacifier is going to come visit them. They have to leave their pacifier either under their pillow or in a box on the front step and once they're sleeping, the pacifier ferry will come and leave them a gift.
3. Build-a-Bear. Take your child to Build-A-Bear and have them bring their pacifier. Let them build a bear and place their pacifier inside of it so that they can still sleep with their pacifier. Alternatively, if you're crafty, you can let them pick one of their current stuffies, open up one of the seams, place the pacifier inside of it and then sew it back up!
4. Give their paci to a new baby (mail if you don't know one). Explain to your child that It's time for them to give up their pacifier but they can give it to another baby who needs it more than they do. If you have someone in your life who's expecting, they can give the pacifier to that new baby (not for them to actually use but your child doesn't need to know that), or If you don't know anyone with a new baby or expecting, they can "mail it" to a new baby. This is similar to traditions in Norway where children wrap up their pacifiers and give them to Santa to give to babies who need them or in Denmark where they offer them to a pacifier tree (hang their pacifier with a note).
5. Trade with a different lovey. For some children, it works to trained their pacifier for a new lovey or a new toy. It might increase the incentive for them if you offer to let them pick out which new toy they would like, they can even "pay" for it with the pacifier!
6. Plant your pacifier. Either outside or in a pot, have your child plant their pacifier. Let them dig a hole, put it in cover it with dirt and water it. Then when they're sleeping, go dig it up (throw it out) and put a toy or some type of treat in the space where they planted their pacifier.
And a bonus tip to make this whole process go smoother, stay consistent! Hold your guns on the fact that you are getting rid of the pacifier. It's healthy to hold boundaries with your child although it's not a fun thing to do. To help yourself with this, I highly recommend throwing out all of your pacifiers once you have gotten rid of them so that you aren't tempted to just give them back. Why take two steps backwards when you've already taken a step forward? Save yourself the heartache of doing it again, just get rid of them!!
There you have it, 6 different ways that you can help your child get rid of their pacifier. Now all you have to do is pick which one fits best for your family and get started!
As always, if you're needing sleep help, I'm here for you. Reach out here
to work one-on-one with me.
Prepare yourself to say bye to the soosi, paci, pacifier, soother, dummy, so-so...whatever you call it, sionara!!
Best of luck,
Your Sleep Bestie 😘