By: Amber Fox, MS, CCC-SLP
Gather your team- make sure all caregivers are on board and following the same plan- consistency is key!
Start early- straw cups can be introduced as early at 6-9 months and can help transition away from bottles and sippy cups.
Make a firm decision and stick with it, lean on your team for support!
For Pacifier: eliminate gradually in the following sequence: eliminate during day/waking hours, eliminate at nap time, eliminate at bed time, gradually cut down the tips, give away pacifiers to family or friends who may be expecting.
For Thumbsucking or Fingersucking: Provide a toy/fidget to keep hands busy, get a special ring to wear; teach that the ring is a reminder to keep hands out of the mouth, place a sticker, bandage, or tape on the thumb/finger; wear gloves at bed time, paint nail(s), apply lotion on hands/fingers several times a day
For both: create a “no suck” zone, use a reward chart (positive reinforcement can go a long way), work with a speech therapist or occupational therapist to help with additional ideas
Oral habits such as thumb or finger sucking and prolonged pacifire use can be very tricky to extinguish! Here are some helpful tips in tackling these unwanted oral habits.
Source: How to Stop Thumbsucking (and Other Oral Habits): Practical Solutions for Home and Therapy, by Pam Marshalla