The following information is kindly provided by MAM Baby.
There comes a time when it is necessary to say good bye to soothers and so this month we will talk about the best ways to approach this difficult subject.
Three years is enough
With the third birthday comes the final farewell to the soother for many children. The set of baby teeth is complete and in order that teeth and jaws can continue to develop healthily, it is necessary for the child to give up their soother. As a matter of fact, the sucking reflex is gradually weakening from around the second birthday when the toddler is learning to chew. Apart from this, little chatterboxes have less time to suck and chattering is really only possible without a soother in their mouth.
Some children find parting from soothers easy whereas others cling to the habit. It is not always easy to give up something you have learned to love. Parents’ patience and creativity are often required here but even if it’s difficult you need to remain consistent. Cuddling gives a sense of security, games distract and days full of activity make falling asleep without a soother easier. But whatever strategies you use to wean your baby or toddler off the soother, keep the following tips in mind:
Plan ahead. Weaning a baby off the pacifier is a fairly small event, but weaning a toddler is big. Very, very big for some toddlers. So plan ahead, and make sure the soother weaning doesn’t coincide with another big event like a move or the birth of a new sibling or potty-training. It’s best to tackle big events one at a time to help minimize your child’s stress.
Be patient. There’s bound to be some fussing and sleeplessness when you finally banish the soothers. That’s just how it goes. So prepare yourself to be patient and to ride out the storm.
Be firm. If soother weaning just isn’t working and you conclude that your child still needs her favourite soother for a few more months then go ahead and oblige. Rest assured that whether it’s now or later, your child will outgrow the need for her silicon soother.
Here are some of the best tips we have heard for giving up soothers
It’s always difficult at first. But during the day it is easier to go without soother: picture books, outings or drawing are distracting and fun. Cuddling with parents is comforting.
Soothers belong in bed only: In the first parting phase it is okay to have a soother to go to sleep. But after getting up the soother stays in bed.
A suitable time for the final farewell is when the child is well and happy and no major life changes are expected.
A new “going to bed” routine makes going to bed without a soother easier. Story time is a wonderful time to cuddle with your child and encourage a love of books and reading. But you can also use books to inspire the behaviour you’d like to see and help children deal with changes such as giving up the soother.
Here are some good books to consider:
- Baby’s Binky Box, by Jennifer Ormond, illustrated by Curt Walstead
- Bea Gives Up Her Pacifier, by Jenny Album
- Bye-Bye Binky, by Brigitte Weninger, illustrated by Yusuke Yonezu
- No More Pacifier for Piggy! by Bernette Ford, illustrated by Sam Williams
- No More Pacifiers! by Melanie O’Brien, illustrated by Amanda Enright
Coming off soothers can also be linked to a special event
- The toddler gives all his soothers to a friend’s baby. After all, the smaller baby needs them much more.
- A visit from the soother fairy: she comes in the night, takes all the soothers, but leaves an exciting present behind instead.
- A small arrangement with the shop assistant may be necessary for this: the toddler “pays” for the toy he has longed for with all his soothers.
And if your child likes to draw and be creative with their old soothers then there is a colouring-in book they might enjoy. You can print it out here: http://bit.ly/2rU6oyx.
Or, you could help your child make something new out of their old soothers – here are some ideas: http://bit.ly/2rKIVgV.
If you have any unanswered questions related to this topic then please consult your paediatrician.