Babies are born with the need to suck. They not only need to suck for food but also for comfort. Sucking is the only way for a child to get rid of his distress. However cute a child may appear, they too have a need to express their desires and feelings. Unfortunately they cannot use words. They only know how to cry and most of the times they are comforted when they are allowed to suck on something. This is the reason a crying child stops crying the moment his lips touches his mother’s nipples. For a mother it could be an emotionally uplifting moment, but for a child it is only his needs fulfilled. The only way for them to feel relaxed and calm is through sucking.
That’s where the pacifiers come into picture. A pacifier is an artificial nipple made of rubber which is given to a child to suck on. It is comforting for a child but over a period of time, the child gets habituated to it and doesn’t give it up even when he no longer needs it. Therefore sometimes it becomes necessary to make him give it up forcefully.
Getting rid of the pacifier – opinions vary
There are many different opinions around the pacifiers. Some psychologists say that a child should be made to stop using the pacifier at the age of one. According to them pacifier or sucking is not the part of the developmental needs of a child after the age of one. On the other hand some doctors allow more flexibility and say that it is okay if the pacifier is the last thing a child does away with. According to them child first can be allowed to get accustomed to food and weaning and could be trained for potty before he is made to let go off the pacifier. Pacifier is a habit parents could be okay with even it goes on till age two. After some time, children develop their own strategies and automatically discard the pacifiers.
The faster way to get rid of the pacifier
Many doctors claim that a child can be made to quit the pacifier in just three days. So here is the three day plan to help your child let go off it.
First Day: The first day starts with assurance which doesn’t have to last longer than thirty seconds. Begin with assuring your child that you can see that she wants to grow older and there are a lot of things you can do to make it happen. Give her the assurance that it is possible for her to quit her pacifier and it will not take more than three days. Give her the assurance that you will be with her and both of you will work it out together. You should neither sound submissive nor threatening. Instead reassure her of your companionship. If your kid seems to be responding encourage her with affirmations, such as, “you can do it” or “we will do it together.” This will ensure that it doesn’t come across as warning to your child. Just like us, letting go off the habit is not easy for children. They need to be ready for it physically, mentally and emotionally. It is quite likely that your child will not understand every word of it but she will know what you are up to and what she is supposed to be doing.
Second Day: Second day again is the day of the assurances. The 30 second talk reminding her about doing away with the pacifier and reaffirmations should be repeated at least three times on the second day. The only difference will be that you will no longer tell your child that she needs to stop using the pacifier in the next three days. Instead you will tell her that she will have to give it up tomorrow.
Third Day: This will be the day of the judgment. How good your efforts have been will be decided on the day of the verdict. You will begin your day reminding your kid that it is the third day and the last day of her pacifier usage. Even if your child is reluctant in giving up and showing stubbornness you will have to play the bad cop and take away all the pacifiers from her, put it in a bag and throw them away for good. The days ahead could get tougher for you as the child will take some time to get used to living without the pacifier. He may cry and beg you for it and you may end up feeling pity. There is nothing you can do about it now. You have already thrown all the pacifiers away. It usually doesn’t take more than 48 hours for the child to get over their yearning for the pacifier.
The slow approach
If you feel that the three day program could be a little difficult for your child, you can try the slow approach. Start by eliminating the pacifier need indoors first. A child’s mind can be easily diverted with something that could be of her interest. Whenever your kid longs for the pacifier try and divert her mind using a toy or anything that she enjoys. The happier you are able to keep your child the more distracted away she will remain from the pacifier. This also means she will need your company more than usual. Once your child has got used to no pacifier at home, it is the time to end the outdoor use too. You don’t really have to wheedle your child to make her understand why she can’t use the pacifier anymore. You could be a poker faced strict mother at times and tell her no pacifier means “no pacifier”.