The best time for pacifier weaning generally depends on a couple of other variables as well. For instance, you might prefer to wait until a baby is at least twelve months old before banishing the pacifier. If your child is going through a big life transition, like starting school or joining the military, you might also prefer to allow the pacifier to remain in place until he is comfortable with removing it on his own. The main benefit to letting your child keep the pacifier is that it will help him master the habit at an earlier age.
Of course, one of the biggest considerations in deciding when to implement pacifier weaning for your little one has to do with the risk of sleep problems. Obviously, if the child is not getting enough sleep during the day, he will have trouble sleeping at night. The parent who fails to give their child his daily dose of vitamins and minerals during the day is setting up his children for a future of vitamin deficiency.
Pacifier weaning can be helpful in this situation, too. Many parents find that putting the pacifier away at night makes it more likely to fall asleep on time. In fact, most pediatricians recommend using the pacifier during the nighttime as an additional means of getting a child to sleep. Getting a baby to sleep through the night is easier when a baby has access to a variety of soothing sounds, such as the baby-napping cooing of a baby bottle or the soft whirring of a wind chime.
The danger of sleep loss does not mean that parents have to go cold turkey right away. There are many ways to help encourage babies to go to sleep at night, and experts advise that it is a good idea to teach babies to fall asleep without pacifiers. A safe and effective way to go down this road is to set a bedtime routine. This is just like setting up a routine for your own childhood, when you used to get up at the same time every morning and eat a big breakfast. You might wish to repeat this pattern every night, so that when the baby wakes up, he knows what awaits him.
One way to start the process of pacifier weaning is to set up a pacifier reminder, so that the baby gets used to hearing the sound of the pacifier being removed. You can do this by attaching a small bell to the pacifier, so that the mother can signal each time the pacifier is out. The baby will get used to the sound of the bell and will try to nurse more often when there is a pacifier in his mouth. If the mother is not inclined to leave the baby alone while he is nursing, she can attach a small pad of paper to the pacifier, which makes it easy for her to quietly move it around to ensure that it is not interfering with the baby’s sleep.
Experts recommend that when baby starts to go back to sleep, he should be taught that he is supposed to get rid of the pacifier. If this is done before bedtime, the baby may refuse to go back to sleep with the pacifier in his mouth, causing him or her to develop a nasty habit. Another useful technique to get rid of pacifier weaning is to give him something else to use as an alternative. One great option is baby toys. Baby toys such as rattles are extremely soothing to a crying baby, and they can help to transition baby from having the pacifier in his mouth to actually holding it in his mouth.
As babies get older, they may prefer to sleep with their parents, so the best way to get rid of pacifier weaning is to startle them out of their sleep with a loud, startling noise. This will usually take the child out of whatever sleep cycle they were in, and they will quickly return to their parent’s side. For toddlers, this often means using a plastic-napkin strainer. Children under two years of age are often sound asleep when a loud noise interrupts their sleep and using a plastic-napkin strainer helps to wake them out of deep sleep.
Some babies have a more complex pattern of sleep and will wake up frequently during the night. In these cases, it is necessary to fall back on pacifier weaning techniques such as giving them a link, which looks like maracas but is actually a small stuffed animal. The baby must hold it in his mouth and associate it with the sound made by the pacifier. Once the child is used to holding the binky in his mouth, it is possible to wean him away from the pacifier without losing him to sleep.