How to wean your toddler off the binky (pacifier)!

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And so it goes… Another obstacle to conquer in the wonderful world of parenting, the pacifier (BINKY). My daughter is almost 2 ½ and she has depended on her binky since the day she was born. When I say she loves her binky, it is an understatement. There are times when she is upset that I am pretty sure if given the choice between me or the binky to bring to a deserted island, the binky would win by a landslide. When we first discuss doing away with the binky, I began to loathe the hospital staff. Why would they even give her a binky if I was just going to have to take it away?

The truth of the matter is, a pacifier can reduce the occurrence of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). When babies suck on a pacifier they do not sleep as deeply and will wake more easily. Also, by having the pacifier at nap or bedtime it opens up air space around the mouth and nose. Pacifiers also provide a source of comfort to infants.

But, in life, all good things must come to an end. Babies that learn to fall asleep with a pacifier may have a harder time falling asleep on their own. More importantly, a pacifier can be a difficult habit to break, especially when your baby become a toddler. In addition a pacifier used later can cause recurrent ear infections and misaligned teeth.

So how do we convince our tots to quit the bink?

• Try to phase it out by setting certain times that the binky cannot be used. For example, make sure it is not used at daycare or in the car.

• Have your tot take an active role in “binky extinction” process. One tip that stuck in my head was to have your tot send their pacifiers to a younger baby that needs them more. Or do something fun like tying the pacifier to the end of a balloon and watch it float up into the sky.

• If a pacifier get lost, which let’s face it happens all the time. For instance, how many times has your tot dropped their binky on the floor, you watch it land and then when you bend down to pick it up it has vanished into thin air only to be found a week later in the exact spot you previously looked? Leave it lost, do not replace it and eventually the tot will run out of them.

• Sabotage the bink. Warning – this is not a nice method, but could be effective. Either cut the tip off so there is nothing to suck on, or dip it in a sore liquid such as lemon juice so it tastes repulsive. Check with your doctor before doing this.

• Rip the band aid off and quit cold turkey. But remember, kids can be tricky so make sure you get rid of all the pacifiers in the house, or try anyway. Some children are known to hide pacifiers to be used secretly at a time of crisis or bedtime. I’ll share with you a quick story from my past. My parents promised me a bike OR a swing if I quit the bink. I agreed and every night when I went to bed I would pull my hidden binky out of the back of my toy chest, use it all night and replace it back in the morning before my mom or dad woke up. Clever you say! Well I never got caught and I ended up getting the bike AND the swing set! If you didn’t guess, I was an only child.

• Last, but certainly not least, blame it on the binky fairy! This is for parents who are slightly scared of their tots, which face it, is most of us. What you do is gather all the pacifiers and put them in a box. Then you tell your child that the binky fairy is coming and is going to take their pacifiers away since they are a big kid now and is going to leave them _____. The blank can be filled in with anything that will make your tot happy. For example, a toy or a trip to their favorite amusement park.

It is just as much a transition for the parent. Seriously, in my house we have named the binky the “mute button” so it is clearly going to be missed. At the end of the day your tot will adapt and will learn to live a binky free life. Just remember the old saying, “Your child won’t enter college with a binky.”

“This blanket is a necessity. It keeps me from cracking up. It may be regarded as a spiritual tourniquet. Without it, I'd be nothing, a ship without a rudder.” ~ Linus Van Pelt ( A Boy Named Charlie Brown)


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