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Pacifier Weaning

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Dear Susan:

My daughter is 18 months old and we are trying to eliminate the pacifier, we tried cutting the end off the pacifier as well as just removing the pacifier out of the home.

With comfort and reassurance from myself she continued to cry for four hours at nap time. That evening we tried the same process but she continued to cry for another four hours and after midnight our daughter was still upset and not asleep. We gave in and gave her her pacifier.

Any advice or suggestions is much appreciated.


Dear Marissa:

Thanks for writing me..this happens a lot, so do not despair! Try to take one step at a time! First step, she can only have the precious pacifier in the house, so you will be eliminating the pacifier in the car or on short walks etc. Next, downstairs rooms are eliminated, and a week later, or a reasonably short time, upstairs is not allowed except her room and in a few days, she is faced with a biggie! The pacifier is left in the crib. You may want to think about a big bed soon, by placing a mattress on the floor in her room and letting her think with you about what it will be like when she is ready for a new big bed around her birthday time. She is now ready to give up the pacifier by washing it in the sinks and eventually losing it mysteriously one day when she is playing with new play toys around her birthday time then one fine day, it just goes away and is never seen again.

Good luck and have fun with this! It is a nice way to observe how much or how little she needs comfort objects..she may need a blanket or a soft toy or some replacement but pacifiers need to go away by age two to assure that her soft palate and tongue thrust are allowing free movement in her mouth and jaw and face. It is critical to good speech that she speaks clearly and can be understood by other children and adults. She will avoid lots of temper tantrums if she can use words instead of sounds to tell people what she wants and needs.

Susan H. Turben, Ph.D. 

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