You have to remember that a pacifier is perhaps your baby’s first love. A breakup is going to be mighty tough. Babies have that innate need for sucking after they are born. Ask any paediatric neuropsychologist and this fact will be endorsed for you. Newborns depend on the `suck reflex’ and this is not just for sustenance but it also soothes them. Young infants find pacifiers to be the best mechanism in order for them to control their anguish or suffering. They cannot ask for a blanket to cover and they cannot get you to give them milk as they cannot ask; they cannot use their hands to keep things under control. Sucking is the only way they know that can keep them calm.
Pacifiers could become life-savers for parents early on in their journey after they have an addition in the family; but, they could turn into a highly addictive and an unhealthy habit for your children. Parents need to learn how to survive the weaning stage for pacifiers with these tried and tested strategies.
These methods could be tried out on a trial and error basis so that paci-cessation
can turn out to be successful. Even for babies, all good things have to come to an end. The drooling demand for pacifiers on a round-the-clock basis has to be curbed at some point or the other.
- Steady Approach – The dependency of your child or its physical and psychological addiction could be dealt it in a gradual manner by allowing the pacifier to be given less frequently as the time goes by until it is taken away totally from the child.
- Cold Turkey Approach this is a complete reverse of the steady approach. It involves taking the pacifier away from your child abruptly at a given point in time and not giving it back, regardless of how much your little one pleads, begs or screams for. You have to stand your ground and you may free your child from the pacifier in a week’s or a fortnight’s time.
- Snip the Pacifier – You can use a pair of scissors and snip the end of that pacifier. Explain to the child that the pacifier is cut and broken and that it has to be thrown away. This method may work if you show the broken tatters of the pacifier and throw it in the trash in front of the child. The calming down might take time and it may be tough, but it is worth a try.
- Give an advance warning to the child – You can keep the child informed on when you plan to withdraw the use of the pacifier. A week’s advanced notice is sufficient time and you will have to keep on reminding the child every day after that about the removal of the pacifier from your lives. Do not offer the pacifier to the child after that period under any circumstances. The child will eventually forget about and learn to wean without it.
- Keep a limited quantity of pacifiers in the house – Some parents commit the mistake of keeping a stock of pacifiers in the house so that they can replace one easily if it is misplaced or has become dirty. There is no need for replacement if that happens and perhaps, the child would learn to manage without it if there were no replacements, to begin with.
- Remove the pacifier in zero-distress situations – When your child is happy, at home and playing quietly, it is a zero-distress situation and an ideal one in which the pacifier could safely be removed from attention. Once the child gets used to not using the pacifier at home, you can also eliminate its use when you take the child outdoors, without offering any explanation for its discontinuance.
There is no guarantee that any of these above methods may work effectively because every child has a different mental makeup. Hence, a trial and error shot could be given to each approach.