Getting rid of the pacifier

09/05/2010 12:00 PM

11/18/2010 12:11 PM

Q. When and how should I get rid of my daughter’s pacifier and blankie? She’s almost 2 and very attached to both.

I am going to start with the pacifier. The pacifier-weaning process should begin at nine months of age, when you should restrict it to nap time and nighttime. Discontinue the pacifier entirely before the second birthday.

Typically, a parent’s anticipation of taking away the pacifier creates more anxiety than the process itself. Most toddlers will forget the pacifier entirely within a few days; however, an older child will have a longer memory.

I recommend the “cold turkey” method in most cases. Older children sometimes require an explanation. For example, a parent can tell her child she is donating the pacifiers to the new babies in the nursery. Some people recommend snipping the tip of the pacifier so that it loses suction. Theoretically, a child may lose interest in the damaged pacifier and give it up on her own.

I believe that a straight forward “your pacifier is gone” leads to a quicker recovery.

As far as the blankie is concerned, there is not a specific age when it has to go. I just recommend that the blankie stays at home, so you don’t have to worry about it collecting germs.

Dr. Patt is president of the Charlotte Pediatric Society. E-mail questions to living@charlotteobserver.com ; put “pediatrician” in subject line.

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