How to ditch the paci

Katherine - posted on 05/20/2011 ( 6 moms have responded )

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Taking candy from a baby might be easy, but pacifiers are another story entirely. If you have a toddler or even a preschooler holding tight to the bink, 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 three, many parents find that pacifier weaning is easier before a child reaches age two. (If you are concerned though, check with your pediatric dentist.) For a smooth transition, try these brilliant pacifier weaning strategies from Circle of Moms members.

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.
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. As Angela C. recalls: “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.”
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.”
The Dummy Fairy, Easter Bunny, and Santa
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.”
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,” suggested 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 the toy—just discuss this with the cashier in advance to make sure she’s game.
“Lose” It
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. 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.”

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Mel - posted on 05/21/2011

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The bets way to take the dummy away is cold turkey otherwise it just prolongs the distress. We told our duaghter to put them out for the easter bunny she was 3. No tears just complaining or asking for a few nights, but when a child realises you are firm and arent going to chop and change it is going to minimize the distress. We decided a long time ago our child wouldnt have one after the age of 3 and easter is just after her birthday.

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We did the gradual, except we went stright for the next-to-last step. Binky stayed in bed. Period. If my daughter wanted to suck on the binky she went to bed. She got tired of that pretty quick! Then, when the kids went to stay with my parents for a week (I had to have minor surgery) we just didn't send the paci. She was fine (we knew she would be because she is WAY better behaved for my parents than she is for us) and by the time the kids came home the last binky was gone and she's never asked for it again :)

Christy - posted on 05/21/2011

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My SiL did the snip the tip trick AND she tied it to a short string to the head of the bed. Short enough that the little one couldn't get tangled in it, but long enough that it could be sucked on...until the tip got it's next snip! Eventually there's no tip left but the pacifier can be held onto until it is discarded.

Kristine - posted on 05/21/2011

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My son was 21 months when we finally weaned him off the pacifier, It was really simple, we went on a trip to Paris,he thre the pacifier off and just never let him have one again, took about a week before he stopped asking for it but wasnt phased when he found one or another kid had one after the inital week.

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We had a 'ceremony' to get rid of the pacifier. We tied balloons to it and sent it to heaven so the little babies in heaven could have a pacifier too.
It worked for us...but that was probably because we had recently done a 'purge' and had sent many clothes and toys to goodwill...the child made the association that she was being charitable to the babies in heaven on her own.

Bridget - posted on 05/20/2011

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this is sooo helpful, ive got ten month old twins, an dso far all ive heard is horror stories of how they struggled to wean them of their pacifiers. I would have never have thought of cotting the tip of. what age do you suggest its best to wean them.i was thinkinf of doing it around age 2

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