Thursday, May 5, 2011

Break the Binky Habit

Pacifiers are great tools in the early months when all your baby needs is some artificial soothing. But as your child passes the yearly mark and soon has preschool (and maybe even kindergarten) lingering in his or her future, it's time to break the habit.

Experts agree that having a pacifier during the first year of life reduces the risk of SIDS, but after your child turns one, there's no real reason to have one. Of course, many parents don't cross this path until their child turns two and for the rest of us...well, we all know Suri Cruise.

We have tried-and-tested (with success we may add) methods that real parents have used to get rid of their kids' binkies. Find a method that will work for you and your tot - without the tears!

1. The Balloon Fairy. Tie your child's pacifiers to balloons and let him or her release them to the "Balloon Fairy." It's a neat exercise that your child can take part in, watching the binkies soar up to the sky. When they get there, tell your child that the fairy will give the pacifiers to a new baby.

2. The New Kid in Town. Instead of your child dreaming up a scenario, let your little one actually give the pacifiers to a new cousin or sibling (if there's not too much jealousy). That way, your child can see how his or her pacifiers are thriving with their new owner.

3. A Sour Taste. This method isn't quite as sincere, but it gets the job done. Talk to your pediatrician or pharmacist about a safe but gross tasting substance that can be placed on the bulb of the binky. (Note: Some parents have suggested chile pepper.)

4. Snip, Snip. Pacifiers are gratifying to kids because they allow for sucking. With this method, you take away the sucking ability by snipping off the tip of the bulb. There's nothing for kids to suck on and they'll lose interest quickly. Just remember to use caution, as you don't want any small pieces to fall off into your kid's mouth.

5. Slow and Steady. Sometimes, the sudden onset of losing a best friend can be too much for a child to handle. Instead, gradually take the pacifier away by restricting it in certain places. Many preschoolers deal just fine with using a binky at night only.

For some parents, letting nature take its course is the best solution. Your child can wean him or herself when it's time, and there are no tears to deal with in the meantime. However, it's important to note that using the pacifier for too long can have potential health risks, as studies show that kids who use pacifiers have more ear infections and can develop mouth and teeth problems.

Image c/o parents.com

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