The dreaded pacifier… I am definitely no expert at this because with our first born, Mikaili, we won hands down and got him to sleep at 6 months through a couple of nights without a pacifier until a point where he didn’t need it anymore. Mind you, he co-slept with us until his baby brother Morgan was born (at 18 months).
Morgan on the other hand (try not to laugh), we got him off the pacifier and won, but he later discovered this amazing thing called the thumb and it was close enough perhaps he figured. He’s almost three now and the thumb sucking habit has still not left… *Sigh*
But I guess there are very few dilemmas parents have like the debate of introducing a dummy or not and then later whether to take it or not, as well as when the right time to take it is.
Experts do agree they’re appropriate for soothing baby but still, paediatric dentists recommend the limiting of the dummy time once a child is 2 and eliminating it completely by age 4 to avoid dental problems. But honestly, there are no cast-in-stone rules to dummy bye-bye time.
The reality is that babies are born with the innate need to suck and this is only natural. They will find something or cry for it. If a baby is feeding more than every two hours, he/she is definitely using their mom’s nipple as a dummy. And the truth is that a dummy can help sooth the baby while mommy takes a much needed break.
But the weaning off and timing is important – Past the age of 4, dummies can cause an overbite, open bite, or crossbite — problems that affect chewing, speech, and appearance, and often require orthodontists to correct. Once a baby is weaned off the breast and potty trained, the next thing that should go should be the dummy. Don’t rush it and make it an uncomfortable and tearful period. Try the following plan and get dummy-free;
The Three-Day Plan
Day 1: In the morning and at bedtime, tell your child that you can see she wants to do lots of things that make her older. Tell her that’s a good idea, and that in three days it will be time for her to say goodbye to her dummy. Tell her you know she can do it and that you’ll work together on it. Keep the talk to 30 seconds and don’t sound as if you’re asking permission. If your child responds, reflect back her feelings — “I know you don’t want to” — then move on. Don’t worry that your child will become anxious if given advance warning. It’s a myth. Just as adults do, children like to prepare themselves physically, psychologically, and emotionally for change.
Day 2: Repeat the same 30-second talk twice daily, only replace “in three days” with “tomorrow.” Don’t try to sell her on the idea. Keep your tone and manner matter-of-fact.
Day 3: Remind your child that it’s day three and time to gather up his pacifiers. Act as if you’re going on a scavenger hunt and ask your child if he’d like to help. Even if he refuses and protests, proceed to collect his dummy, place them in a plastic bag, and put them on the front step for “pick-up by the recycling truck or perhaps even the pacifier fairy” Explain that the pacifiers will be made into new tires or toys. (The next morning try place a toy on the door step and get them to go look). Which is not to say your toddler won’t have a meltdown. Be empathetic, but firm. Most children get over losing their pacifiers within 2 days.
Whatever method you choose, brace yourself for a couple of nights of crying and squeeling but whatever you do, DO NOT give in!
The same process can be done with toddlers still squeeling for their bottles at 3am as well. The parenting struggle is so real but fulfilling:)