Don't Rush Preschool Children into Giving Up Pacifiers

By Heins, Marilyn | AZ Daily Star, May 25, 2014 | Go to article overview

Don't Rush Preschool Children into Giving Up Pacifiers


Heins, Marilyn, AZ Daily Star


"My daughter is 22 months old and is attached to her pacifier when she sleeps. My husband and I have weaned her from it during waking hours a few months back. The problem is she uses it to fall asleep at naptime and at night when she goes to bed. She is very attached to it when she tries to fall asleep. I am worried that the older she gets, the harder it will be to get rid of it. (I don't want it to cause a problem with her teeth or speech.) It completely calms and relaxes her. Our pediatrician suggested that we tie it to her crib in a place that is awkward for her to get to. We have not tried this strategy yet because it sounds so mean. I have read other articles that suggest that the 'pacifier fairy' takes it for other babies, or make it taste bad, or poke a tiny hole in it so it loses its sucking ability, or take it away 'cold turkey.'

We want this transition to be as easy as possible. I am in my 30s and I STILL remember trying to stop sucking my fingers at a young age and how hard it was!"

Of course it's hard. It's hard for any of us, children or grown- ups, to give up that which brings us comfort in a cold world!

Your daughter is not yet 2. This is actually a pretty young age to completely give up comfort sucking. You see sucking gives a baby not only nutrition but also closeness to the nurturing parent who offers either the breast or bottle. This wondrous partnership occurs before the baby is able to walk to the source of food or say, "I'm hungry." Your daughter can now walk and talk but still needs to feel the world is a safe, nurturing place especially at those scary times when Mommy and Daddy put you in the crib and go away.

I'm glad your daughter doesn't wear a "face plug" all day. That's a good start and shows she has learned that the day is filled with fun things to do so she doesn't need to suck her binky. I am not at all worried about speech or teeth in a child who uses a pacifier (or sucks the thumb) only at nap and bedtimes. BTW though I am not worried about a pacifier at night, I worry a lot about the child who is put to bed with a bottle of milk. That no-no really destroys tooth enamel! …

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