Overcast   33.0F  |  Forecast »
Edit Module

Ditching the Pacifier Helping Wean Your Toddler off the Binky

If you're dealing with this epic battle at your house, get advice from a LifeTime Medial Associates doc in Rochester Hills, who offers up six solid tips for parents

Love it or dread it, the pacifier has a life – and a lexicon – all its own. In fact, a BabyCenter.com reader poll gleaned a whopping 160 nicknames for pacifiers. But whether your family calls it a binky, nuk-nuk or Voldemort (as in, that which "must not be named"), a pacifier's true name describes it most accurately. It's meant to soothe, and it does.

That's why getting your toddler to stop sucking on the thing can be so darn hard. Dr. G. Christopher Popp, a pediatrician and internal medicine specialist at LifeTime Medical Associates in Rochester Hills, offers his tips for saying bye-bye to binkies.

1. Say it's so

Popp suggests weaning babies off their pacifiers at 15 to 18 months, around the time they are starting to talk. "Children need us to respond to what they're saying. That's how language happens. We talk, they hear, they respond and vice versa. If we can't understand them because they have a binky in their mouth, that process is disrupted," Popp says.

2. Make a break

Set aside a week when the timing is right – no stressful plans or family parties – and trash those pacifiers all at once, once and for all. "I'm a big cold-turkey guy when it comes to binkies," says Popp, a father of three. "If a kid's real resistant and adamant, just take them away."

3. Cut them off

Snip the tips off pacifiers and leave them out so your child sees that they're "broken," Popp suggests.

4. Do a switcheroo

Help your child find something more appropriate to cozy up with, like a blanket or stuffed animal. "If you know something that your kid goes to for soothing, you can replace the binky with that. We call these transitional items, because you're transitioning from one comforting thing to another," Popp says. "Until you've broken the pattern of using the pacifier, some other pattern will work."

5. Don't fall for it

Much of the failure to make a clean break with the pacifier lies with the parents. "Obviously the parent needs to be in control," Popp says. Although it may seem like forever, it should only take your child two or three days to forget about his binky – or at least lay off the hysterics. "I'd rather listen to a kid whine a lot for a few days than a little for six months," he says.

6. Suck it up

It might be hard to resist your daughter's heartbroken cries – or angry demands – for her pacifier, but taking it away actually teaches your child a valuable life lesson, Popp says.

"We don't want our kids to be upset, but they need to learn there is loss and disappointment in life," he explains. "It's a good, developmentally appropriate process. They need to practice losing something dear to them and learn they can move on despite the fact that it's gone. Parents are doing a disservice not letting their kids learn that skill."

Add your comment:
Edit Module
Edit Module
Advertisement
Edit Module

More »Latest Articles & Blog Posts

Simple Sewing Holiday Tree Craft for Kids

Simple Sewing Holiday Tree Craft for Kids

Give your Christmas tree extra flair with this cute project that you can turn into an ornament or other decor. Teaches kids an easy running stitch, too.

Craft Review: Epson's LabelWorks Printable Ribbon Kit

Craft Review: Epson's LabelWorks Printable Ribbon Kit

This cool family crafting tool isn't just great for creating ordinary labels. It's also a handy holiday tool for gift wrapping and other creative DIY projects.

Make Cute Penguins with Candy Aisle Crafts Book

Make Cute Penguins with Candy Aisle Crafts Book

This delicious title features super creative, clever and easy crafts that southeast Michigan families can make with a simple trip to the grocery store.

Michigan Mitten Free Printable Greeting Card Craft

Michigan Mitten Free Printable Greeting Card Craft

Want to make the season bright, with a distinct dash of hometown flair? Our template is the perfect starting point for an easy, impressive card kids can make.

Meet Angelina, Metro Parent December 2014 CoverKid – VIDEO

Meet Angelina, Metro Parent December 2014 CoverKid – VIDEO

All bundled up and ready for winter, this 6-year-old Canton kid is ready to lead southeast Michigan to some fun events – and make you laugh out loud!

Elsa's Icy Braid: How to Create a Disney Princess Hairdo

Elsa's Icy Braid: How to Create a Disney Princess Hairdo

The super cool character has a signature hair look. Recreate it with this guide from the book Disney Frozen Hairstyles: Inspired by Anna and Elsa.

Tips on Teaching Kids The Joy of Giving Presents

Tips on Teaching Kids The Joy of Giving Presents

How to help kids learn the value of giving presents this holiday season – not just receiving them.

Edit Module
Advertisement
Edit Module
Advertisement
Edit Module
Advertisement