Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.
For a child, dependency on a soother is a very common issue. They get used to calming themselves this way and at times, getting them to stop using a soother can be a challenge.
Although your child using a soother is a very normal behavior for a child her age, eventually getting them to stop using it and taking it away can cause a number of behavioral responses such as you are experiencing right now. Children are very limited in how they can express themselves and how your daughter is acting right now is the way she understands to express her frustration at not having her soother.
Taking away the soother should be done gradually. You are seeing the response your daughter is having because the soother was abruptly taken. Although this seems the easiest way to handle it, children need to learn to live without a soother but do not understand how to "replace" their need for it. She needs to understand that she can substitute other things for her soother and to do this, she needs to have it happen over time.
When you wean her from the soother, do it during the day at first. Gradually shorten the time she has it. As you take it from her, substitute other activities not only to distract her but to show her she can more easily communicate with you without the soother and that lots of fun can ensue instead. Buy a special DVD to watch, go outside and play in a favorite playground, get some ice cream, create a special tea time or mommy and daughter time, anything that will show her she can have fun without the soother.
When you start working with your daughter, make sure others in her life are also willing to work on this issue with you. Your daughter should not get mixed messages, with one parent taking it away and another giving it to her whenever she wants it. Also include caregivers, other relatives that may spend time with her, and any teachers she may have.
With time your daughter will stop needing her soother. I always say the kids are not going to go to college with the soother (bottle, blanket, whatever) so eventually they will give it up. It just takes patience and a lot of love.
I hope this helped you,
Edited by Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC on 12/20/2010 at 8:38 PM EST