So I got a question from a viewer on CloudMom about this and I thought I would answer the question in today’s vlog. So Reagan writes in about her 17-month old and says the following, reading from my notes here, “My husband wanted to get rid of the pacifier at 12-months” that is what she says “our pediatrician told us to do, however I thought that was too young.” She doesn’t want to go cold turkey now. Any suggestions or tips? So just to start first, I did not actually see with my children that they became heavily dependent on the pacifier. I used it more for emergencies. However, they are all thumb and finger suckers and that is coming with its own problems for me because they all have dental issues so that’s just an aside.
So don’t feel bad about the fact that your baby still has a pacifier at 17 months. I don’t think that’s a big deal. My 9 year old is still sucking his fingers and believes me, I’m still paying the price. So how do you get rid of this pacifier? It sounds to me like 17 months is a pretty good time to do it because the AAP does say that after the age of 2 use of the pacis cause dental problems. So what do you do? Okay so here are 3 suggestions. Again, reading from my notes here, number 1 — distract. For a 17 month old, you can easily try to distract your baby or toddler with a new toy or another activity. Their going to come over and say “paci” because they’ve gotten addicted to it and you’re going to be like “Elmo time!” or whatever. And just try to get them moving around and getting them away from this habit of always sucking on the pacifier.
Number 2, introduce a transitional object or a lovie — a stuffed animal, a blanket- something they can attach too. And ideally, something they can sleep with safely which will help them in this process of self-soothing. So whereas, they were getting used to settling down with the pacifier for naps, if they have a safe little blanket with them that’s okay for them to have (make sure it’s safe!) that can help them get through so they’re not so attached. The pacifier number 3 tip is the cold turkey. The bye, bye binky party, the pacifier fairy party, I know people that have tied ribbons around their pacifiers and sent them off with a kite or something like that so that is the cold turkey thing.
But some people found they needed to do that to have this traditional big, epic event and then their child bid farewell to the pacifier. And that was it, it has worked. So those are some ideas we have here, don’t feel bad about this. This is like a really common and sticky and difficult problem for parents. I’ve heard about it many, many times. I’ve had friends tell me “Melissa, I’m putting my baby to bed in the crib with like 20 pacifiers so that when she wakes up she just finds one and doesn’t wake us up.” And I’m like “Wow.” So this is something that is very common.