Are you struggling to get rid of your toddler’s pacifier? Or maybe you are contemplating whether to use them at all.
Whatever situation you have on your hands, we are discussing all things pacifiers!
So, if you want to say goodbye to pacifiers, find pacifier alternatives, or are searching high and low on tips for weaning you are in the right place!
How Can I Soothe My Child Without a Pacifier?
There are many ways to sooth your child without a pacifier, and we will discuss those further below!
The biggest thing you want to remember is that your child has likely developed an emotional attachment to their pacifier. The pacifier offers the comfort of suckling, which starts in the womb.
When weaning, it is important to help your child find an alternative source of comfort.
Why do Pediatricians Not Recommend Pacifiers?
Pacifiers are a controversial subject between pediatricians. Pacifier use can increase the risk of middle ear infections and cause dental problems with prolonged use.
Pros of Pacifier Use
While some may have negative views on pacifiers, there are some undeniable pros to them as well.
- Pacifiers soothe baby because of the suckling reflex
- Pacifiers help with discomfort and pain
- Reduce the risk of SIDS
- Helps baby fall asleep
So, even though there is scrutiny they do have pros!
Cons of Pacifier Use
With the pros of every situation come the cons. Here are the cons you might want to consider when debating on pacifier use.
- Possible orthodontic issues
- Risk of middle ear infections
- Emotional attachment to the pacifier
- Breaking the pacifier habit
- Potential nipple confusion
Now, I wouldn’t let these things scare you they are just things you want to consider.
When to Offer a Pacifier Alternative?
This is kind of up to your discretion as a parent. If you are wanting to avoid the emotional attachment to the pacifier I would recommend, it by 8 months old.
Ideally, your little one will be weaned off the pacifier by 18 months, but that isn’t always realistic for every family or little one.
You do however want to make sure that you seriously limit pacifier use by age 2 and eliminate completely no later than age 4.
Why Should You Offer Alternatives to Pacifiers?
Quitting pacifiers cold turkey is hard on little ones, and if you are wanting to avoid pacifiers altogether you definitely want to offer an alternative.
Offering an alternative gives your little one something to take their mind off their beloved pacifier or soothe the suckling reflex.
Just Simply Mom’s Top Tips for Weaning off Pacifier & Offering a Pacifier Alternative
These are my top tips for weaning off of a pacifier and offering a pacifier alternative.
Limit Pacifier Use– Limiting pacifier use helps your little one to develop ways to cope with their feelings. If you let them have their pacifier all day, try starting with only having the pacifier for a little bit here and there and then during rest times.
Give Them a Lovey– Giving your little one a lovey like a small stuffed animal or blanket can help the transition to life post pacifier be a little bit easier.
Bye-Bye Bink “Party”– Let that pacifier go out with a bang! Throw a little bye-bye pacifier party! Maybe some cake, decorate a “bye-bye box”, just have fun with it.
Don’t Go Cold Turkey– Try to avoid going cold turkey if at all possible. This allows your little one to develop strong coping mechanisms so the final goodbye isn’t so hard.
Praise Your Little– When your little one handles something that you know they typically would cry for the pacifier but didn’t praise them big! This kind of encouragement goes so far for little ones. Honestly, for a while I am over the top with this because they seek that kind of praise and it encourages them to keep going.
Pacifier Alternatives for Infants
If you are wanting to avoid pacifiers altogether, or maybe you want to wean before the emotional attachment has developed this section is for you!
The Baby Shusher is popular among parents for soothing and calming babies, promoting restful sleep with adjustable volume and portability. It’s effective in promoting healthy sleep patterns, making it a convenient solution for parents seeking a reliable option for their baby’s sleep needs.
The baby shusher is a great alternative to a pacifier.
The design mimics the areola and nipple for a natural feel and the skin-like texture provides comfort. The pacifier also supports healthy orofacial development.
I love that this pacifier is endorsed by feeding specialists, doctors, dentists, and therapists as the best pacifier for breastfed babies and mimics actual breastfeeding movement.
Unlike other teething toys that are stiff and hard, the Sperric teethers are carefully made with the perfect texture for chewing and soothing your baby gums. Help your little one get through those rough periods with beautiful soothing pieces.
Teething rings are a great way to soothe that fixation babies get: you know, needing to put everything in their mouth! The chewing motion is soothing for teething babies and can be a great substitute for pacifiers.
Rocking or Swinging
Rocking or swinging motions are soothing for little ones. If your baby is having trouble sleeping, trying this may help them drift off to dreamland.
Nursing helps to soothe that suckling reflex that babies have. Nursing also allows for skin-to-skin contact, which is beneficial for both mom and baby.
Moms or Dad’s Finger
If your baby is just needing something to soothe that suckling reflex, try giving them your pinky or ring finger. This may seem a little strange, but definitely works in a pinch if you are desperate!
Pats on the Booty
Booty pats remind the baby of being in the womb and the rhythmic pants allow them to relax. If your baby is fussy and inconsolable, try pats on the booty.
Frozen Wash Cloth
A frozen washcloth is great for babies that need something for their hurting gums. A pacifier can sometimes help the discomfort of teething, but if you are looking to omit pacifiers this alternative can help!
Swaddles are amazing for babies as it makes them feel like they are in the womb. I love these swaddles in particular because they have a zipper at the bottom making it easy to change diapers at night.
Swaddles can help soothe and comfort the baby, especially if you are avoiding pacifiers.
Pacifier Alternatives for Toddlers
Pacifier alternatives for toddlers can be a little bit broader due to the fact that they can have a blanket or stuffed animal in the bed with them. You can also *sort of* reason with toddlers.
Finding a blanket for your toddler that they get attached to is a great option and alternative for toddlers. Developing an attachment to a blanket is better than a pacifier, especially for toddlers!
The biggest tip I have for picking out a blanket for your toddler is to let them have a say. Find a blanket that has a print they love and is very soft!
Stuffed animals are a great alternative to pacifiers because toddlers develop an emotional attachment to the stuffed animal. My biggest tip for a stuffed animal is to buy 2 of the same kind. This is if you need to wash or repair one, you have a spare!
Having a cool night light will make going to sleep a bit easier, especially if you are trying to ditch the pacifier! This night light is portable, has a timer, and can change colors!
Try a Drink
Try giving your toddler a drink when they are asking for their pacifier. Having a drink of water or juice may help to distract them from the feeling of needing a pacifier.
Try a Snack
Who doesn’t love a snack? When you are trying to get rid of the pacifier, having a snack might get your toddler’s mind thinking about something else!
Fidget toys are great alternatives to pacifiers, especially for toddlers. These fidgets are safe for toddlers to use and even chew on if they want to!
Fidget toys help to keep your toddler’s hands busy and distracted from wanting their pacifier.
This teether is designed to wear on your toddler’s wrist, while the hand is still free which is more comfortable than a teething mitten. Also, no need to use a clip, and keeps the teether off of the floor and clean!
Teething tubes are a great alternative to pacifiers. Teething tubes are soft tubes with ridges and bumps to help your toddler soothe the fixation of needing to chew on something!
Pacifier Alternatives for Older Children
Yes, we know that older children technically shouldn’t have pacifiers, but sometimes older kids hold onto them longer. It is what it is!
Here are some ideas on offering alternatives!
Try a New Toy
Try letting your kiddo pick out a new toy in place of the pacifier. Having this choice is neat for older kids, and gives them a sense of independence.
A projector night light is a neat way to create a unique sleep space for your little one! The projector has several different options for scenes which is neat!
Projector night lights would be a neat alternative to a pacifier for your kiddo!
Break the Suction
If you find your kiddo sucking on their pacifier, break the suction! You can do this by cutting a cross at the tip of the pacifier or simply cutting off the tip!
Try a Sleeping Bag
A sleeping bag is a great way to make your kiddo feel like they are getting a hug while sleeping. This is similar to a swaddle, just for older kids!
Pacifier Weaning Systems/Support
If you need some pacifier weaning systems or support, I’ve got you! These are some of my favorite items to support weaning from a pacifier!
Weaning system -The weaning system gradually reduces sucking satisfaction to wean from orthodontic nipples. The weaning system was invented by a pediatric dentist.
Sucker Buster – End your long months trying to end pacifier use and avoid your baby’s pacifier-restriction tantrums. Because of our sucker buster weaning balm’s smell and taste, you can effortlessly make your child completely wean off of pacifier use.
Orthodontic Friendly Pacifiers
Sometimes a pacifier alternative just won’t cut it at the moment OR maybe you want to use a pacifier… Here are the most orthodontic-friendly pacifiers on the market!
The soft, orthodontic nipple shape reduces pressure on the gumline and emerging teeth while soothing the baby. These pacifiers are safety tested to meet ASTM safety standards and feature a single-part design and a collapsible handle for added safety.
This pacifier is made with 100% sustainable plastic with a soft and natural rubber nipple. The breast-like nipple is shaped to soothe just like mom, while the heart-shaped shield fits perfectly under baby’s nose for easy breathing.
Ecopacifier by Ecopiggy is made from 100% pure rubber from the rubber tree, Hevea brasillensi. Because the ecopacifier is molded into one piece, the Ecopacifier is one of the safest choices for your child.
What’s neat is that the rubber is naturally resistant to sharp teeth and feels great against the gums of a teething child.
The flat symmetric shape and thin neck of the silicone teat are designed to support the natural movement of the mouth muscles. High acceptance: 9 out of 10 babies love the pacifier.
The pacifier is lightweight and ergonomically designed to allow the baby to smell mom’s comforting scent. The pacifiers come with SensoPearls features to maximize airflow and feel gentle on skin.
This pacifier is designed and patented by a board-certified pediatric dentist. This pacifier is designed to help prevent orthodontic issues such as open bite, crossbite, and overbite.
I love that this pacifier grows with your baby from newborn up until weaning and is made from 100% medical-grade silicone in a one-piece design.
This binky gives the shield a butterfly shape and makes more room for the baby’s nose. The orthodontic design supports the proper development of the baby’s teeth, jaw and palate.
The one-piece construction is easy to clean: Molded in one piece without joints or cracks so dirt cannot accumulate.
The Chicco Physioforma actively supports the baby’s breathing. The pacifier is clinically developed, tested, and approved in partnership with an advisory panel of leading neonatologists, pediatricians, and orthodontists. I really like that the lateral curve of the nipple evenly distributes the tongue’s pressure against the palate.
How Long Does it Take For a Child to Accept a Pacifier Alternative?
It really depends on your child! Some kiddos take to one right away, while others have to warm up to the idea of a pacifier alternative.
What if Your Baby Never Accepts a Pacifier?
If your baby never accepts a pacifier, that’s okay! Not all babies will like them!
If your baby does not take a pacifier, they will often find an alternative like a stuffed animal or blanket.
Can You Raise a Baby Without a Pacifier?
You can absolutely raise a baby without a pacifier. 2 of my kiddos all but rejected pacifiers! You can always offer them, but if they don’t take to pacifiers don’t force it.
Think of them rejecting pacifiers as one less habit you have to break later!
I hope that you were able to find the information that you need! There are lots of different options out there, and no option is perfect for every family.
Sometimes, you have to weigh the pros and cons of things and choose what is best for you. What are your thoughts on pacifiers? I’d love it if you shared your thoughts and any tips in the comments below!