How to Wean a Baby Off Pacifiers

By Maggie McCormick
baby with the pacifier image by Cherry-Merry from Fotolia.com

Babies use the sucking sensation that they get from a pacifier as a way to comfort themselves. This makes it a great tool for parents, who can just pop in a pacifier to help a baby sleep or to make her feel better. Unfortunately, pacifiers can lead to misaligned teeth or to frequent ear infections. Because of this, many parents want to discourage their baby from using a pacifier. Rather than go cold turkey, you can slowly wean your baby from using a pacifier.

Step 01

Restrict pacifier use to bedtime only. Don't let your baby have a pacifier in her mouth during the daytime when she's playing. Instead, only let her have the pacifier when she's sleeping, as this is when she needs the most comfort.

Step 11

Dip the pacifier in something that has a bad taste. This could be something like strong coffee. When your baby unsuspectingly puts it in her mouth, she won't like the taste.

Step 21

Cut a small bit off of the pacifier. Allowing the air to flow freely reduces the effectiveness of the pacifier, making it less desirable. Some children, however, simply like having something in their mouth and don't necessarily care about the sucking sensation. If this is the case with your child, you can gradually cut more and more of it off until there is no longer anything to put in his mouth.

Step 31

Replace the pacifier with a different toy for comfort. Your child likes the comfort that she gets from a pacifier, so you may be able to replace that with something else that gives her comfort. You may need to train her to receive comfort with this. For example, when she's falling asleep sucking on her pacifier, stroke her cheek with a soft blanket. She'll come to like that sensation as well and you've eventually replaced the pacifier with a blanket.

Step 41

Take the pacifier away. After awhile of reducing the time that she can use the pacifier and helping her find a new lovey, you can take the pacifier away completely. If your child is old enough to understand, you can tell her that you gave it away or that you lost it.