When should I wean my child’s pacifier?
Generally, this topic is best for your child’s dentist. In the meantime, from a sleep perspective, know that there are a few times when it might be easier to wean the pacifier than others. First, it will be easier before your little one is 4-months-old. At 4-months-old, sleep associations start to develop. This means that if your baby is used to falling asleep with something (for instance, a pacifier) at bedtime, he will likely need it to return to sleep after a natural night waking. Once he is a bit older and can access the pacifier himself during the night – say, about 5 or 6 months old – this is less of a problem. But, until then, you will probably need to return the pacifier to his mouth when he wakes during the night to help him return to sleep.
If you want to wean a pacifier when your child is a bit older, about 2- or 3-years old, it’s best to start by taking it away during the day and allowing him to have it at bedtime. Once he is comfortable without it during the day, you can wean it at bedtime by helping him gradually learn to fall asleep without it. If at first he needs it overnight to return to sleep, then go ahead and give it to him overnight. Eventually, he will get used to falling asleep without it at bedtime and overnight.About Dr. Jocelyn Thomas