Re: How do I wean my baby off of a pacifier? When should I start?
The weaning strategies are just about endless… as is the related controversy.
Some hard-line pediatricians say babies should give up the binky by age one, since by that time sucking is no longer an important source of soothing. Other doctors say not to stress because children naturally grow out of the paci between age two and four as they develop new coping mechanisms. And most dentists advise cutting back on paci time by age two and eliminating it entirely by age 4, since too much sucking can lead to tooth problems.
One way to wean: Gradually and subtly, so your toddler barely notices the transition. Try first making a rule that he can only have the pacifier in your home or the car, not outside, then move on to only in his room, then only in the crib. (Do this over the course of weeks or even months. Patiently.) By the time you cut him off in the crib, his paci-dependence will have largely passed.
Or, you can tackle the issue quickly and directly. Explain to your child that he’s a big kid now, it’s time to stop using the pacifier, and you’re going to take it away in a week. (Or five days, or three, or whatever works for you.) As the day draws closer, remind him that it’s almost time to give up the paci, and tell him that when he gives it up he’ll be able to go to the store and pick out a new toy. Play it right, and you might even find him kick the binky and head to the toy store before the deadline arrives.