Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Weaning the Pacifier: When & How?

A mom asked Dr. Jen about weaning her toddler from the pacifier. We thought we’d share the answer Dr. Jen gave on her website!

This is a terrific question. First, I am wondering why you want to wean your son from the pacifier at 19 months if he is only using it during sleep and periodically in the car?

If he’s only using it to fall asleep and during car trips, there is really no rush and he may wean himself in the next few months. I am a super flexible rational pediatrician/mom, and believe that there are simply some things that make life easier and are not harmful to kids. There is a whole lot of controversy about pacifiers for young infants learning to nurse—let’s stay away from that for now. For a 19 month old developing appropriately, it’s perfectly OK to use a pacifier to fall asleep.

However, if you do want to wean, I have two words for you. The first word is “cold”. The second word is “turkey”. Cold turkey! It may be tough at first, but based on my professional and “mom” experience with pacifiers, it works best. One of our sons was attached to his pacifier beyond the age of two (when, I believe, you should really start the weaning process). We had an airplane trip scheduled when he was two years and three months old. I told him there were no pacifiers on airplanes. I took it away. He didn’t cry. It was over and he never asked for it again. (Probably not the smartest idea since there were a bunch of pacifier faced kids on the same plane, but it didn’t seem to bother him!).