OK, for reasons only you know, you gave your baby a pacifier. I gave my son a pacifier. The pacifier offered comfort to my son, and that was enough for me to hand it over. The question is, when do you take the pacifier away from your baby? How do you know when to stop pacifier use? Let’s take a look and answer some common questions.
What you will learn in this post:
- When babies should stop using their pacifier
- How do you know when to stop pacifier use?
- …and more pacifier-related questions!
When Should Babies Stop Using Pacifiers?
The official advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics is that you should begin phasing pacifier usage out at around the 6-month stage.
The advice suggests that you should keep the pacifier out of sight when it is not in use to stop your baby from developing a habit of using it just because they can see it.
If you need to, you should apply the pacifier to help them fall asleep, but you should remove it after falling asleep.
I hear That Pacifier Use Impacts Breastfeeding. Is That Right?
Yes, it is. In fact, research has shown that babies who are given pacifiers do not take in as much milk during a breastfeeding session. The researchers concluded the following:
Pacifier use was independently associated with significant declines in the duration of full and overall breastfeeding.
Source: The American Academy Of Pediatrics.
Why Should I Stop My Baby From Using The Pacifier?
Using a pacifier may delay your little one’s speech development. Using a pacifier will adjust teeth position, plus when babies begin to babble (practice talking), they will also be doing it with a pacifier in their mouth. That will lead to inconsistently developed muscles.
If your baby gets regular ear infections, you should consider removing their pacifier earlier than normal.
Researches in Finland discovered that reducing pacifier use also reduces the risk of an inner ear infection!
When deciding what age to take the pacifier away from your baby, you should be thinking about your little one continuing to develop a reliance on it.
Whenever you decide to remove the pacifier from your baby, it is not going to be easy. I can tell you that it just gets worse!
Ever heard of the saying short term pain for long-term gain? That is what you should be thinking here. If you think that your baby is ready, you should stop the pacifier use straight away.
How Do You Know When To Stop Pacifier Use?
While the official recommendation suggests that you remove the pacifier from around 6 months, you may want to continue the usage beyond that for your own reasons.
Pacifier weaning is a huge challenge! You have to work against addiction and a habit at the same time.
The older your child gets, the more difficult it will be. Having said that, the older they are, the more options you have for considering pacifier alternatives. When your child is 2 years old, they can understand a lot more. That means you can add bribery to get them to get rid of the pacifier!
Are There Any Benefits To Using A Pacifier?
Reduction In SIDS
Yes, there is one huge benefit of using a paci! Research has shown a reduction in the chances of SIDS death by using a pacifier.
That is one of the sole reasons I was happy with my son using a pacifier!
I know this is also why you want to get rid of the pacifier, you don’t want your baby to get comfort from the pacifier, but it can also be looked upon as a benefit.
Your baby will need comfort in life. Maybe they get comfort from it when you are not in the room with them, or maybe they are sick and need some additional comfort.
The Rules Of Pacifier Weaning For Babies
There are certain rules that you should adhere to when removing the pacifier, both for your sake and also for the sake of your baby too! First, you must decide when to stop pacifier use, and then you should learn the rules.
Remember – consistency is key! This is a battle of wills that you must win, any loss will put you on the back foot for future battles.
Don’t Give In
The key message is that you should not give in. The first day of withdrawal is likely to be noisy, frustrating, and filled with a little anger. The good news is that as each hour that passes, it gets easier and easier.
During the tough times, do not give in. You must continue with removing the pacifier! Giving up strengthens your baby’s resolve that you will give in with a little pressure.
Stagger The Withdrawal
By staggering the withdrawal, I mean you should follow this process:
- Stage 1 – Remove it during the day, and give it back due to sleep or nap.
- Stage 2 – Remove the pacifier for naps too.
- Stage 3 – Remove the pacifier for night sleeps, but still use it to soothe them back to sleep if they wake up. Remove it when they are asleep.
- Stage 4 – Complete removal of the pacifier!
You have made the decision on when to stop pacifier use, and now it is time to implement the plan!
When my son gave up his pacifier, it was because I bought him some boxing gloves. The words exchanges where:
‘I can give you these boxing gloves, but they are for big boys who don’t have a pacifier’
He gave the pacifier to me immediately, and he never looked back.
The key message here is that you should provide some pacifier alternatives.
If you wonder when to stop pacifier use, then the information on this post will have absolutely helped you!
One of the biggest problems when deciding when to take away the pacifier is actually getting your child to stop using it! I devised 7 excellent pacifier alternatives for toddlers that you might want to consider using.
By getting rid of the pacifier, you will be battling addiction and a habit. Those make this a huge challenge, but not impossible (although it may seem impossible at the time). As a parent, you need to stay strong and do not give it. The battle to give up the paci will be over soon, and you will never have this battle again (unless you decide to have another child!)