A pacifier, also often known as a binky or dummy, can be a lifesaver for many new parents. However, when your child becomes too dependent on it, you might start looking for ways you can get rid of your child’s pacifier.
To be clear, if you give your baby a pacifier, you are not a “bad parent.” The pacifier has saved countless parents from tantrums, meltdowns, and having to rock their babies to sleep for hours at night. Studies also show it might help prevent SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). However, the problem lies when your child starts using a pacifier as a sleep prop.
A sleep prop is anything your baby or toddler needs to fall asleep. It can be a pacifier, breastfeeding, or rocking. In short, it’s anything that your baby needs to fall asleep and prevents your precious little one from sleeping through the night on their own.
So, how can you help your child stop using the pacifier and encourage them to sleep independently?
Here are some helpful tips on how your child can ditch the pacifier and have a good night’s sleep on their own:
Explain to your toddler that it’s time to let go of the pacifier and go cold turkey.
Choose a day that you want your child to stop using the pacifier. Prepare yourself mentally and accept that helping your child ditch the pacifier might be challenging. Explain to your child concisely and clearly that it’s time for them to let go of the pacifier and tell yourself to stick to your decision, no matter what.
Then, go cold turkey! Start cutting down the times your child can use the pacifier for example, remove it in the car and for naps, then remove it altogether, even at night.
Say hello to the “Pacifier Fairy.”
Some parents will not want to do this because it does involve a little bit of “trickery” on their side. If you do decide that you’re comfortable with this, you can start by introducing the “Pacifier Fairy” as someone who will come and gather all the pacifiers and leave a special surprise in return.
Distract, distract, distract
When your child starts looking for their pacifier, distract them with their favorite snack, a well-loved toy, or some screen time. Give them comfort and support, but do not give them the pacifier! The goal is to turn their attention to something else when they start looking for their pacifier.
Helping your child get rid of the pacifier can be a challenging time. Still, stick to your plan and they won’t even remember to look for the pacifier anymore before you know it. If removing the pacifier creates sleep issues, you can turn to professionals for help. They can guide you in encouraging your child to sleep independently without the need for any sleep props. Good luck!
If your baby is struggling with sleep and you’re wanting to explore options to improve it, please use the link below to book a Free 15 minute discovery call with one of our team members. Louise and Hannah have helped over 1500 families in Singapore and beyond achieve improved sleep for their baby’s. And we’d love the opportunity to help you too!