Babies and pacifiers always go hand in hand anywhere and anytime. Since time immemorial, parents have been using pacifiers to calm their babies and make them fall asleep.
But just like anything else, pacifiers also have their own share of disadvantages so you might want your baby to stop using one.
The good news is that there are now pacifier alternatives for babies and toddlers that you can try to soothe them during those tantrums and lull them into a deep slumber.
When Should You Wean Your Child Off Pacifiers?
It is recommended that weaning babies off their pacifiers should start at the age of 6 months to lower the risk of otitis media. It is ideal that all pacifier use must stop at a maximum of 2 years old. Extended use of pacifier can make your baby form an emotional attachment to it that can make the process of weaning more difficult for you and your baby
Many children are already emotionally prepared to wean off the use of pacifiers at the age of 2 years old. There are even some kids who might self-wean even before this age although others might require some assistance to do so.
Giving your child the following alternatives for pacifiers can simplify the transition:
For breastfeeding moms, this is probably your first alternative to soothe your little while trying to wean him off pacifiers.
Mom’s breasts will never fail whether your baby is crying due to discomfort or he feels tired and not really hungry yet.
There is always a strong connection between nursing and breastfeeding. However, many moms seem to forget that nursing is not and should not always be the reason to offer their breasts to their baby. Comfort nursing refers to the use of breastfeeding for comfort.
Just remember that you might find yourself feeding your little one quite often and a lot. There are moms who constantly take out their breasts to feed just to comfort their babies. But all moms and babies are different so it might not work for everyone.
One more thing to remember is that it is easy for breastfeeding to be strongly associated with sleep. This means that your baby might not be able to go to sleep unless you let him suck on your boobs. When this happens, you might notice that once your baby reaches the 4-month-old mark, you will be going through the nightmarish stage called the 4-month sleep regression.
A soother is also one of the best pacifier alternatives for babies and toddlers. Soothers are used for moms who breastfeed their kids. A soother resembles a pacifier, but it is made of a softer and more flexible material and also features holes on the side to ensure that your child doesn’t suck on them. Soothers have also been designed to fit your baby’s mouth’s contours, preventing him from developing habits of thumb-sucking or pacifier-sucking.
You can also use other soothers as pacifier alternatives. These are available in various colors, with some of them made from certain all-natural rubber materials.
Soothers that are used as pacifier alternatives are sometimes used for preventing SIDS and crib death. These can help lessen the risks of accidental strangulation or suffocation when a baby can no longer breathe while he sleeps on his back.
All babies begin sucking even before they are born into this world. During the time they spent in utero, infants will suck not only on their fingers but even their toes and umbilical cord.
A finger, often the thumb although not always, is one of the great alternatives to pacifiers for toddlers and babies alike. The only drawback to fingers is that trying to stop your child from sucking on his fingers might be as difficult as convincing him to stop sucking on the pacifier. So, it might be best to try this alternative at your own risk.
Learning how to suck their own finger may prove to be a bit hard for newborns. In this case, the best thing you can do is offer your own finger, particularly your pinky. It is a pacifier alternative that not a lot of people talk about, but it works.
For babies, it can be rather uncomfortable once they start teething. Thus, it is perfectly normal for your baby whose gums are sore to want some extra sense of comfort at this point. Instead of using a pacifier, you can give your child a teething toy for him to feel a bit better.
The thing about pacifiers is that they offer babies some sense of security. Using a blanket is one of the best things you can do to help in transitioning your toddler from sucking on a pacifier for soothing and security purposes. It is one of the most obvious pacifier alternatives for babies and toddlers that work best in addition to comfort and security.
To ensure that your baby becomes attached to the blanket, you can try to spend some time cuddling with the blanket or even reading books. Make sure that you always keep the blanket with you during your baby’s naptime and bedtime routine. Don’t forget to pull out the blanket every time you want to comfort your child every time he feels upset.
Before you know it, your baby will soon start associating the blanket with a feeling of comfort and security.
Use These Pacifier Alternatives to Soothe Your Baby and Toddler
Hopefully, these alternatives can help you soothe your baby or toddler in place of a pacifier. This can be a bit daunting for you considering the long list of things you have to do on top of a baby who always wants to have you around.
But instead of stressing out yourself, try to enjoy these special moments because these are often gone in a blink of an eye. Babies and toddlers grow fast anyway! As long as you shower your baby with all the care and love you can give, you won’t have to worry about anything else.