• LaurenWallace

10 Tips For Pacifier Weaning: Help Your Child Kick Their Pacifier Habit

Updated: Mar 15

by Jennifer Mitchell

Many babies get comfort and security from sucking on a pacifier. As they get older, some children will abandon their pacifiers on their own, while others may need a little more help. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) warns that long-term pacifier use can lead to orthodontic problems, and dentists may recommend intervention if a child is still using a pacifier past the age of 3. If your toddler is reluctant to let go of their pacifier, consider these 10 tips for helping them kick the habit.

1. Start Pacifier Weaning Early

It's easier to wean your child off their pacifier if you start the process early, advises the Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health. The longer they use their pacifier, the more ingrained the habit will become. If your dentist has suggested weaning your child off their pacifier, don't wait too long to get started.

2. Time the Process Carefully

Pacifier weaning can be stressful for both children and parents. To make the process easier for everyone involved, the University of Alabama Parenting Assistance Line recommends weaning during a positive time in the child's life. If, for example, you're moving to a new home or adding a new sibling to the family, it may not be the best time for pacifier weaning.

3. Use Transitional Comfort Items

Children often rely on their pacifiers for comfort. To break the habit, they'll need to learn a new way to find comfort. The AAPD recommends using transitional comfort items to help children get through this time. For example, you could offer a favorite stuffed toy or a cozy blanket instead of a pacifier.

4. Keep Your Child Busy

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) notes that some children suck on their pacifiers to relieve boredom. Parents can help stop their child's pacifier use by offering alternative activities that keep the child's hands busy, such as drawing or playing with toys.

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