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Breaking the Pacifier Habit

by T Akery | September 18th, 2013 | Development, Infants/Toddlers

pacifierWhile not all babies take to the pacifier, some babies do. Sometimes, that habit continues when they turn into toddlers. Like any habit, there are a number of reasons that your toddler may prefer to suck the pacifier. But there are some very good reasons to help them kick this particular habit. One excellent reason is that the pacifier can disrupt how your toddler’s teeth develop. This can cause major problems later on in correcting their smile. Luckily, if they kick this habit soon, this problem often resolves itself.

Of course, breaking them from the pacifier won’t be easy. Sure, it is cute and the peace and quiet is really nice. But it is one of those important things that parents must take on to ensure that problems don’t develop later on. There are many ways to tackle breaking the habit. The one that works best is going to depend on your toddler.

Start by observing when and how they are using the pacifier. They may be using it for comfort or because it gives them something to do. You need to pick out the major reason. It is essential that you begin to uncover the why so that you can address their pacifier addiction.

If your toddler is experiencing a big change in their lives and they are using it for comfort, then start by offering them some alternatives. It is difficult to get them to talk about things because they aren’t verbally effective at expressing their feelings. For alternative means, you can try having them act out or draw their feelings.

It is a little easier to get rid of the pacifier if they are bored. In that case, you can engage them in activities that involve singing such as making up the lyrics to a sound track. This makes it difficult for them to play and suck on the pacifier at the same time. Encourage them to give it up during playtime and mealtimes. It will take a little longer for it to disappear completely.

Out of sight is also out of mind with toddlers. So, put the pacifier away for awhile and see if they ask for it. Don’t volunteer to give it to them. Don’t automatically hand it to them the instant they start throwing a fit either. If they don’t ask for it for a few days, then it is time to just throw it away. If they ask for it after that, the pacifier went bye-bye. They don’t really need it. It might cause a fit but that will pass. Additionally, don’t offer it up at nighttime.

If they ask for it, it is okay to give it to them. But you want to start shortening the time that they have it. Have them take breaks with songs they like to sing and for mealtimes.

Pacifiers are helpful for babies. But when your baby is a toddler, it is time to start saying good-bye to the pacifier.

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