Pacifier Weaning: How & When To Start Pacifier Weaning With Baby
photo by: @hellomorellos
A pacifier can be a great aid in calming your baby, especially in the early newborn days when your baby doesn’t have the skills to soothe themselves. But while a pacifier can be a helpful tool, letting your baby use one for too long can turn this tool into a crutch. That's where pacifier weaning comes in.
For some babies, pacifier weaning is no big deal, but for other babies, saying bye to the binky is a tougher process. As you start to consider how to get rid of pacifier use from your baby’s routine, be sure to lean on everything at your disposal to engage and distract your baby, such as toys and baby gear like the Connect High Chair®.
In this post, you’ll learn when to stop pacifier use, when to take away a pacifier, and tips to form a pacifier weaning system. You’ll also find out how to wean pacifier usage gradually.
When Should You Start Weaning a Baby Off of a Pacifier?
The short answer is that there is no “official” age when to take away the pacifier—and there are advantages of enacting a pacifier weaning system with your baby at both a young age and an older age. Be sure to consult your pediatrician to determine when to wean pacifier use at a time that works best for you and your little one.
If you choose to cut pacifier use early, the advantage is that using one is not yet an ingrained habit. If you choose to wait until your baby is older, you can explain in simple terms what’s going to happen so your child is prepared and better able to cope with this big change.
If you’re unsure about when to take away the pacifier, consider starting the pacifier weaning when your baby starts eating solid foods. Dr. Daniel Brennan at Santa Barbara Cottage Children's Hospital, says, "My experience is that most babies will wean themselves over time as their interest in solid foods increases.” This puts the sweet spot for pacifier weaning around six months old.
While considering when to wean pacifier usage, you can use this natural transition in your baby’s life to break the habit for good. To encourage your baby’s interest in solid foods, you should focus on making mealtimes an engaging time when you and your baby connect and enjoy the time you spend together. With its one-handed tray attachment and easy to clean features, the Connect High Chair® is a great tool to help you focus on connecting at mealtimes instead of cleaning up the mess.
3 Tips for Creating Your Own Pacifier Weaning System
During the crucial phase of helping your little one adjust to the paci-free life, a reliable pacifier weaning system can be your greatest ally. It’s a delicate process, filled with both teaching and learning moments that will pave the way for pacifier weaning.
Here are a few tips for how to wean pacifier use, grounded in patience and understanding to guide you and your baby through this significant transition:
Try to Limit Use
If your baby uses their pacifier throughout the day, the first step in pacifier weaning is to start eliminating the pacifier during the day and only letting them use it at bedtime and nap time. This approach gradually accustoms your child to the idea of pacifier weaning during waking hours and helps you pinpoint when to stop pacifier use effectively.
Give Your Baby Alternatives
For many babies, sucking on a pacifier is their primary way of soothing themselves, so when you cut pacifier usage you have to find new ways to help them self-soothe. Creating a consistent bedtime routine—something like a bath in a baby bathtub followed by a bottle and cuddle time—is a great way to help your baby calm down that doesn’t involve sucking.
You can also create other ways for your baby to comfort themselves through the day, such as using the Connect High Chair during mealtimes to entertain your baby and encourage their enjoyment of solid foods. Fostering alternative soothing methods can be a constructive step in determining when to wean pacifier use.
Prep Them For Paci Withdrawal
Another approach to how to get rid of the pacifier for older babies is to give them advance warning that their binky time is going to end. A countdown to birthdays, holidays, and other big events are great opportunities to prepare your baby and help them feel like they’re ready to be a “big kid.”
You can even make the end of the pacifier weaning process feel celebratory by having a going-away party for the binky on the last night they sleep with it.
Pacifier Weaning: It’s a Tough Job, But a Necessary One
Transitioning away from the pacifier is tough, but you and your little one got this! If you feel like it’s time and you’re pondering when to take away the pacifier, consider consulting your pediatrician. They can offer advice on how to wean pacifier usage smoothly, especially if your baby is having a hard time.
Also know that the pacifier weaning process won’t last forever. Eventually they’ll have the tools they need to soothe themselves without the aid of a pacifier.
How Do I Wean My Baby From a Pacifier at a Daycare?
If your baby goes to daycare, let their caretaker know in advance about your intentions to cut pacifier use. Explain that you are going to stop sending a pacifier in with your baby and communicate the alternate methods you are using at home to soothe and calm your baby.
How Long Does Pacifier Withdrawal Last?
It depends on your baby. Generally, it takes anywhere from a few days to a few weeks for a baby to go through pacifier weaning.
It's good to note that patience and consistency are key in how to get rid of pacifier use with your baby. Following a thought-through pacifier weaning system can often make this transition period more manageable for both the baby and the parents.
How Do I Wean my 6 Month Old off the Pacifier?
At this age, babies are still very young, so it’s essential to approach pacifier weaning gently. Here are some ideas for how to wean pacifier use specifically for a 6-month old.
Start by reducing the instances where you offer the pacifier. Introducing other forms of comfort such as a cuddly toy or a blanket can be a good alternative.
Consider initiating a "cut pacifier" strategy where you gradually reduce the nipple size of the pacifier over a period of time to decrease the comfort derived from it. However, always prioritize your baby’s safety above all while using this method.