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How to Wean Your Child From the Pacifier

6 Tips For Pacifier Weaning

If you have a toddler or even a preschooler holding tight to their binky, you're not alone: pacifier weaning is a common challenge. While dental problems generally won't result from pacifier use unless the habit continues beyond age 3, many parents find that pacifier weaning is easier before a child reaches 2 years old. (If you're concerned, though, check with your pediatric dentist.) For a smooth transition, try these brilliant pacifier-weaning strategies from our readers.

1. Snip the Tip

One of the most popular pacifier-weaning tricks is cutting off the pacifier's tip. After the ability to suck is removed, many children quickly lose interest. Try telling your child that the pacifier is broken, and let her throw it away. If the initial snip doesn't do the trick, moms like Christina M., a mother of one son, suggest gradually cutting off more of the pacifier: "I tried cutting the end of the pacifier off a little bit every few days until there was nothing for him to suck on, and then he didn't really want it anymore." Just be careful that your child isn't chewing off pacifier pieces, which could be a choking hazard.

2. Swap Soothing Items

"Try replacing the pacifier with something else that can give her security," suggests Kate G. While a child may not instantly forget her pacifier, many moms found that alternative soothing items did eventually replace the pacifier. "I replaced the pacifier with a 'sleep blanket.' The first couple of nights/naps she would cry for about 10 minutes, but her blanket against her face kept her warm and happy eventually," says Angela C.


3. Gradually Reduce Use

While some moms advocate a cold-turkey approach to pacifier weaning, others like Meredith Z. find that gradually limiting pacifier usage is successful: "First, we limited pacifier usage to inside the house, then only to sleep time, then only to overnight, and then we said 'let's try bedtime without your bink just for tonight,' and after the first night, he only asked for it once, and then he was totally fine. We just made sure we stuck to our rules, and let him be comfortable at each level before restricting bink usage more."

4. Get Help From the Pacifier Fairy

Another popular pacifier-weaning tactic is to have a make-believe character reward the child for giving away their pacifiers. Sarah M., mother of two girls, shares: "Say that the Dummy Fairy will come and take them and give them to new babies that need them. Then you leave a special 'big girl' present in the basket for them when they wake up." Other moms, including Linnea F., use characters the kids already believe in: "My kids all gave theirs to the Easter Bunny for little ones who need binkies and don't have them. This would also work with Santa. We still had some withdrawal cries, but it didn't last."

5. Trade For Toys

Instead of having imaginative characters bring a child a reward, some moms advocate openly trading the pacifier for a prize. "Take her to Toys 'R' Us and let her pick out a toy in exchange for the pacifier," suggests Janice D. "It worked for me two times. You may have a few days that are a bit rough, but then it will be fine." Other moms also had their child "pay" the cashier with a pacifier for th

6. "Lose" the Pacifier

After Melissa C. misplaced her daughter's pacifier, she realized that simply pretending to lose it would be a good pacifier-weaning strategy. "Maybe if you somehow 'lose' yours and have him help you look for it and don't find it, it'll let him know that you care enough to help him, even if you can't fix it." Dawn D. says she used the same weaning tactic. "I just told her we lost it and we'd look, but then she was OK with 'we lost it' and in two weeks she forgot all about it."

Join The Conversation
JenniferSchultz1388785041 JenniferSchultz1388785041 3 years
Great tips. We're not ready to wean yet, but I'm filing these away for down the road (and linked to them in a post today on my site on how to solve the pacifiers falling through the crib crack problem)
NalaKin NalaKin 4 years
Our child learns a lot from reading stories, and I've heard lots of other children do too. When my son was having problems getting rid of his pacifier, I made a children's book for him at Twigtale so he knew what was going on. "Snip the tip" worked too -- we did it gradually, cutting off pieces of his pacifiers ... they got shorter and shorter until virtually non-existent. He transitioned pretty smoothly and now he chews his blankie, and only when he goes to sleep. Here's the book ... hopefully works for all of you too!
helendorian helendorian 4 years
I took my then 4 yr old boy to " Build a bear" to make his own bear but before sewing it up he placed the binky inside ...he was very excited and felt ok with it being inside .he could still feel it..he is 8 and we still have that bear ..I think it will be around for a long time:))
DebbieBenNun DebbieBenNun 4 years
We told both our girls that the Pacifier misses its mommy and daddy and it needs to go to it's home. It worked for both girls and wend really smooth.
Dianafieldbrittain Dianafieldbrittain 5 years
I went by the farmers almanac that has the days for weaning. Go by these dates and you should not have a problem. I had all 3 children off a pacifier by the time they hit a year old. I feel children who can walk and talk should not be running around with a pacifier in their mouth. I see it a lot working retail. Older children with a pacifier just looks silly.
CherylPhillips74468 CherylPhillips74468 5 years
My son won't give up his binky (which he calls mimi) for the world. He recently started day care two days a week (Yay) but has had a difficult time adjusting, so I gave him his mimi to have with him at "school." I think once he is adjusted to "school" I'm going to try the snipping method. I tried talking to him about little babies needing one and to give it to Santa so he could give them to the babies. Nope. I've tried not letting him have it at all. Nope, too many horrible tantrums. I'm thinking if it is "broken" he'll get rid of it on his own. We'll see. Wish me luck!!
RashedaEdwards RashedaEdwards 5 years
Snip the tip was the best tip I ever got. One night I let my daughter go to sleep with it and as soon as if fell out and morning was approaching a cut every single one that was in the house. She said "mommy its not working" so I said "well when things don't work we put it in the garbage" she thought about it for a few minutes and she put it in the garbage for herself. For a few days when she asked I had to remind her that she put it in the garbage because it was not working.
JessicaCole69355 JessicaCole69355 5 years
i want to wean my child off her dummie but its so hard for me i have seazures and if i dont have a good sleep i can have one enytime of the day so can someone ples help me out shes 1 and i want to get her off b4 shes 2 in feb
MonicaNicholson66327 MonicaNicholson66327 5 years
My daughter is two and a half and her peecy (as we call it) might as well be attached to her mouth permanently. I've recently started limiting her time with it but now she has found her thumb. She has an amazing vocabulary but that darn thing gets in the way of her words. I almost wish I would have never given it to her in the first place.
JamiNorton JamiNorton 5 years
with my oldest daughter she had several that would mysteriously just disappear. So i told her when she got down to the last one that if she lost that one that was it. No more paci's. She didn't even cry when she went to bed only asked for it once, i told her she lost it and that was it. A week later i found the stash in a drawer. well she did and said, "Oh, i found my paci" I seriously thought they were gone but there were three of them in the drawer, when she wasn't looking i threw them in the garbage. She didn't even ask for them.
JenniferOaksBaker JenniferOaksBaker 5 years
mother of 3, once all teeth r in, by 2 years,binky begone. I limit to nap and bed, then take one out of the crib at a time in till no more, never have had trouble. Kids forget about them very fast once they r out of sight. The saying out of sight out of mind is very true for little ones. So just hang in there with a few crying nights to get to sleep, and it will be ok. They cry because their routine sleep with binky is gone, after a few nights they fall into a new routine and r happy. I am in the middle phase of binky begone right now, only at sleep and down to 4. By next week I plan to be down to one.
CarolCoffman CarolCoffman 5 years
chew sugar free gum
KatrinaAnderson20562 KatrinaAnderson20562 5 years
with both of my boys it was easier for me to ditch the paci when they started daycare
JessicaBays JessicaBays 5 years
My son just turned 5, and is still hanging onto his pacifier, or "nani" as he calls it.. He usually only wants it when he is tired, or at home .. When we go places he doesn't want it, but there are occasions where he will ask for it. But this past weekend, even though he had it, he was laying on my chest and I caught him trying to hide it or cover it with his hand so that noone would see it.. I have tried everything in the book to get rid of it and I am at a loss, he is just smarter than all the little tricks I have tried, even at an earlier age.. HELP!! Graesens Mom..
ShereeWiedeman ShereeWiedeman 5 years
With both of my boys, the day they did not want to take their milk in the bottle (around 11 months), I took the bottles and the pacifiers away. I gave them all of their drinks in sippy cups after this day and neither one of them gave me any grief or cared about them after that. I will continue to do this with the next one as well. Worked very well!!!!
GaleElmore GaleElmore 5 years
AubreyAntonelli AubreyAntonelli 5 years
I did the easiest thing...I never gave my son a pacifier after he was about 4 months old! I RARELY let him use it at all anyways. I don't believe in pacifiers because they really are not necessary. Fussy babies can usually be 'pacified' by something besides a piece of rubber to suck on! If they never really know what it is, they won't miss it! I suggest not using one to people I know who are soon-to-be-moms, and they look at me like I'm nuts, but one friend took my advice, and she agrees now, that they really aren't needed most of the time. I would use it if we took long rides in the car, or at times when I had to delay breastfeeding for a few minutes or something, but I NEVER used it just to stop him crying or whatnot...It becomes an object of comfort as they get older, and the more it is used by the child to feel comfortable, the harder it will be to separate them from it later on. Finding something else to help them feel comforted is better I think. I feel for parents out there having the 'binkie battle', but at the same time, the parents create the attachment to it, thus they have created the problem themselves! I say: Out with the pacifier-for future kids! They aren't healthy anyways....Best of luck to you all! :)
AprilBeck84980 AprilBeck84980 5 years
I go by the Never-give-one-in the-first-place idea. My eldest daughter has speech problems and couldn't use one. When I tried to give one to my younger daughter, she spit it out. Why force a child to use one?
Cyndi35930 Cyndi35930 5 years
We cut the tip of the dummy off, and he accepted that it had "broken" and moved on! I was completely surprised! Because he was completely ATTACHED to this piece of plastic!
AmyBranam AmyBranam 5 years
My son used his paci nonstop! I had no idea how we would get rid of it...until I read about cutting the tip and allowing them to throw it away because it's broken. This was our first and only attempt cause it worked! He asked once or twice for it but we said 'remember you threw it in the trash. It was broken.'. No questions, no meltdown.
DonnaAnthony45383 DonnaAnthony45383 5 years
My daughter was 3 in March and is still using a binkie. I know, she's WAY too old for it. We've cut back to using it only while she sleeps. The binkie must stay in her room. We found a lovie for her (finally) but that didn't work. We talked about the binkie fairy & exchanging for big girl item (Hello Kitty necklace) but she said she's not ready yet. I'm going to try the vinegar idea next. Thanks for the idea Nina!
CoMMember13628119729386 CoMMember13628119729386 5 years
we usually try to end paci use (if it's used at all) by 3 years, and it's been pretty easy. We do set limits on when/where it's used (like, no pacis downstairs), but usually to keep from losing it. There's nothing worse than an accidentally lost pacifier. Thanks for the article.
JennyBlack68134 JennyBlack68134 5 years
I decided to do it cold turkey. I had a friend over one night, and after my daughter had fallen asleep, I rounded up all the binkies I could find, and had my friend take them home to throw out. No problems afterwards. Out of sight, out of mind for my little girl.
KatherineLowe KatherineLowe 5 years
we call it a "dummy" in australia as well.
CoMMember13631168645264 CoMMember13631168645264 5 years
Guess I'm little one doesn't care if he has his pacifier (affectionately dubbed chewy) or not. YAY!
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