Pulling the Plug

Kristen - posted on 07/17/2010 ( 30 moms have responded )

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I have a 22 month old girl and a 4 month old boy. My daughter hardly took a pacifier and only when she was very young. My son, however, is much more dependent on it, using it to relax, go to sleep, and sometimes to stay asleep. The last thing I want is for him to get attached to having a pacifier.
I am wondering when the best time would be to ween him off the pacifier. I'm thinking if I do it soon he will be able to develop alternative coping habits (just hopefully not sucking his thumb, which he so far has shown no interest in). I would appreciate hearing any of your experiences or any advice on the least traumatic age during which to remove the pacifier.

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Jenn - posted on 07/19/2010

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I would not say that the longer they use it the harder it is to get rid of. My daughter had her's until 2 weeks before her 3rd bday. I said it was time and so we gave all her binkies to all the "new" babies an the tinkerbell fairies left her a gift for being a big girl.. That was the last ive heard or seen a binki. She never fussed or asked for it again. So i guess it just depends. I see no prob with having a binki longer than just a few months. Her ped. orthodontist said her teeth were perfect an growing in fine, so that was not an issue. If you take it to early they usually do resort to thumb sucking and that is harder to break.. much harder.. you can't take a thumb away. lol. I would say wait longer, don't worry about it to much and just enjoy the time.

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Lyssa - posted on 11/29/2011

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i am a true believer that if babies need them they should have them. my son had his until 21/2 and it was easy to take away. he never sucked him thumb or fingers, which are worse habits! we slowly made him use it less and less until it was only a bedtime thing, and that worked best for him. give your son some time, he's too young for you to worry about that right now!!

Danielle - posted on 07/22/2010

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I am a nursing mom and I gave my son a pacifier after birth b/c he had extreme sucking needs. When he was 18 months old one day after his nap i just took his pacifier away and said "Gone Gone". it wasn't tramatic. I didn't talk about it before i did it and i thought to myself that if he needed it at bedtime or naptime I would let him have it but not during his waking hours. YOu know, he never asked me for it ? not even that first night i took it away. About two days later he asked me for his "Nuk" and i said sorry honey, the birds took it away and it's gone now. He never went back to it, never asked again, and didn't suck his thumb. I think if you take it away before they are two they are not really aware of it missing. or they forget easier. good luck!

Amy - posted on 07/21/2010

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Our first son had a pacifier until almost 2, when we made him wean from it. He only used it to go to bed. Honestly, I kinda regret taking it from him. Our second son kept his until he was nearly 3. It was really equally hard for both of them. Can't help you there.

Research shows that pacifiers don't affect their teeth negatively until after 4 years of age.

If it helps them fall asleep, stay asleep, and feel comforted... why not? It's not like they'll graduate with it, right? I only allowed the pacifier for sleep time, too.

Bonnie - posted on 07/21/2010

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Hi Kristen,
I'm not sure what the worry about have a pacifier is. My daughter found her thumb at about 3 mos. and it helped her fall and Stay asleep at night...which was heaven for us. She only did it when she was tired. She stopped on her own around 3, way before she started school. It never hurt her at all. She has beautiful teeth and is now 23 yrs. old., and is a confident and secure honour student in University. I think maybe you shouldn't worry too much about it. Four months is still pretty young. Enjoy your quiet time while he is sleeping. Once he is old enough to understand that he shouldn't have it anymore, it shouldn't be a problem. I think it's more important that our children feel secure, and for now, the pacifier does that. I think the thing about teeth is an old wives tale, but you can check with your dentist. By the way, my hubby told me that he sucked his thumb until grade school, and it sure didn't hurt him. He grew up to be an Officer with a police service, and also went to university. His teeth are also perfect.....

Anyway, that's my 2 cents worth. All the best in whatever you decide.

Bonnie

Shannon - posted on 07/21/2010

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Hi Kristen,
Pacifiers are said to decrease the risk of SIDS so I would wait till he is 6 months (the age when the risk of SIDS decreases) to try to wean him. I would think if you do it at a young enough age he will move on more quickly. Some parents seem to wait till an older age thinking it will be less stressful or maybe just to avoid the upset but all that does is give the child a longer time to become attached to it and it becomes more stressful instead of less. Good luck whatever decision you make!

Carrie-Ann - posted on 07/21/2010

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My oldest was a year... luckily my 2 year old self weened herself off of it at around 7 or months....

Alyssa - posted on 07/20/2010

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Well I know hes a baby but I dont baby my son I never have. If I didnt want him to have something I just took it away. Yes he would cry about it but its not going to kill him to not get what he wants. My son is a year old. He is very smart and knows not to whine and cry about something I take away he knows hes not getting it back and it does no good to cry. So I would just take it away from him and let him sleep with a small stuffed animal or something.

Stephanie - posted on 07/20/2010

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Around the same time you take the bottle away (no later than one year). What you can do to make him less dependent is to only allow it in bed- don't let him take it with him everywhere. You can even try taking it from him once he goes to sleep. Then when you take it away just do it cold turkey. He may cry a lot but it won't last longer than a day or two before he forgets it existed.

Jody - posted on 07/20/2010

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I think that 4 months is awfully young to take his paci away. Both of my boys had theirs only at bedtime until they turned 2. Maybe only give it to him at bed/naptimes.

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my kids both relied heavily on a binkey when they were young. at their one year birthday - the binkies went in the trash. we didnt make a big deal out of it, we didnt really even let them know .... we just picked them up, as they were put down and threw them away. the kids looked for them for a little while, and then went on with their day... bedtime was hard for maybe one or two nights and then that went away too.

Rachel - posted on 07/20/2010

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My son likes to suck on his pointer finger. Some individuals in our family do not like it, but my sister who is a family medical doctor says that it is actually a sign that he knows how to "self soothe." She has three kids herself, ranging in ages from 9 to 13, so I am trusting her opinion. Still, I don't think that there is any non-traumatic age. If this is something you do not want him doing, it seems better to stop it now. It will be much harder when he is older. My daughter refused to give up her bottle until well after 2 years. If I had taken it from her earlier, it would not have been such a traumatic and memorable event for either of us. If you do not want to just take it away cold-turkey, there is a bitter and non-toxic substance that you can purchase and apply to his finger or favorite pacifier. My parents used it on my sister who was a thumb sucker. Apparently she didn't like it and stopped sucking her thumb! LOL. Perhaps your pediatrician can prescribe something like that. I have family who actually suggested I put tobascoe on my baby's finger, but that just seems plain cruel and I refuse to do that.

Claire - posted on 07/20/2010

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i have one son who is now 8 1/2 months he had a dummy up until he was 6months, like you i did not want my son to become attached to itn however he had other ways of comfort he used to sleep with a blanket so taking the dummy was the first step, we took it from him and he kept his blanket and we let him cry until he fell asleep (sounds awful but its what you have to do) he still hbas no dummy and no blanket he self soothes everytime he sleeps .. hope this helps.. x

Josie - posted on 07/19/2010

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What I did with my son, is just let him have it for less and less time each day. But, dont take the bedtime binkie away till last... Unless you want a full night of screaming.

Ruth - posted on 07/19/2010

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We narrowed it down to only a bedtime and naptime (including long car rides when we wanted her to fall asleep) when she was about a year old. At about 18 months, we put it away one afternoon when she wasn't looking, and at bedtime we told her that it went away, that pacifiers were for little babies and she didn't need one anymore. It took about 2 weeks for her to completely adjust--she started crying at bedtime and naptime, but usually only for about 20 minutes, and we just let her work it out. She's fine without it now, although she is trying out some security objects--she keeps hauling around assorted stuffed animals. She'll be very attached to one for a day or two, and then move on to another, or do without for a few days.

Chelsey - posted on 07/19/2010

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Both of my girls used pacifiers. By the time they were 8 months they weren't allowed to have it outside of their rooms. My eldest was 18 months when her sister was born so we didn't take away her suckie until she was about 22 months. We just told her that it was time to put it in the garbage. She did and only asked for it once and was fine. With our little one who is 20 months we are probably going to take it away next month (after we go on holiday).

Carisa - posted on 07/19/2010

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As a mom of two thumb suckers, I would probably wait a little longer...it is much easier to break the pacifier habit. When my sister weened her kids off (at about 2) she had them trade the pacifier for a toy.

User - posted on 07/19/2010

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all of my kids had pacis in the beginning- I had preemie twins and the hospital gave them paci's to help them learn how to suck. Around four months, my daughter found her thumb and gave it up- at four, she still sucks her thumb occasionally when she's very tired, but she is very extroverted so she doesn't do it when she's at school or playing. My youngest son used it also for a few months then found his two middle fingers. At 18 months, he sucks them to fall asleep. My four year old son used the paci the longest- two years. At his two year check-up, his dr. told him, in a very grown up voice, "Cole, you are much to big for one of those. Now that you are a big boy, it's time to hand that over to me." He held his hand out, Cole gave it to him, and the dr. put it in his pocket. This took the pressure off of me being the bad guy, and if the dr said it, then it must be true. He asked for it once or twice at night after that, but we just reminded him that the dr said now that he was two, he was too big for it. Babies are going to find some way to soothe themselves. I had seen my youngest trying to get his fingers in his mouth, and helped him figure that out- after two years with a paci and my older son, I did not want to do that again- you can't lose your fingers!

Samantha - posted on 07/18/2010

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That's a tough one. My 3 1/2 year old daughter used one until she was 5 months old, when she developed her first case of tonsilitis, & she flat out refused it after that. My 2 year old daughter still has hers, & I'm not sure what to do about it just yet. Having said that, even if I buy her new ones, she chews them flat on the first use, so now she just uses the flattened dummies (pacifiers). I also have a 3 week ol daughter who doesn't like the dummy very much. You can put one in her mouth, but she spits it out after a couple of minutes. My kids are all so different in that respect, so I'm just going to play it as it goes with my 2 year old... but I'm not going to let her get to 3 years still using it LOL

Rebekah - posted on 07/18/2010

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My son gave his pacifiers to the "Pacy Fairy" when he was 2.5 years. He only used them for naps and bedtime and I think it made him a better sleeper. He was ready though at 2.5 years to give them away and gave them up easily.

My daughter gave up her pacifier on her own when she was 2 months old. She cries herself to sleep more than my son ever did and I wish she still used a pacifier (at 14 months).

Tara Lee - posted on 07/18/2010

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My DD took one until she was 15 months old, but only to go to sleep, I took it away once she fell asleep. She weaned herself off over the Christmas holidays, actually, she just stopped taking it (probable because off all the visiting and interruption of her schedule). I didn't even notice for a week that she didn't have one...lol.

Nadine - posted on 07/17/2010

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I had never planned on giving my daughter one in the first place but she had to be in the hospital for a month after she was born and they were giving it to her to get her to sleep or to calm down. When I took her home she only got it at nap times. When she turned 4 months I put her to bed with it then the next morning put them all away. That day for naps she was ok but for 3 or 4 nights she would scream for a few the last night being the worst and longest then she has never had one since. She has even been around other babies that have them and she will try to put them in the babies mouth and I have only seen her put them in her mouth a couple of times but to chew on them not suck. I would suggest doing it as soon as possible before its a real problem it will be a hard few days but better then the tantrums of an older child later that will remember it for much longer.

Traci - posted on 07/17/2010

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My oldest girl loved hers at 8 mons I took it cold turkey, but my mother in law would give it back, so I fought it till she was 2 yr... Now my son never really cared all day till nap time or bed time, so at 6 mon I started taken it off & on, only giving it if he had a bad day.. (sick or what not) then at 8 mons cold turkey, a few times he cried bloody murder so Id close the door, & sit by door & cry, but after 2 or 3 bad crys we were done, & I kept him from stayin with mother in law till he was strong...lol I think it depends on the kid, take it a few times see how he acts not having it, ull know when it time.... Remember all kids r different...lol

Kim - posted on 07/17/2010

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My daughter is only 2 mnths- so I have yet to suffer through this. My sisters wee one had his suckie until he was 3- they got rid of it by saying that the Suckie Fairy was coming to collect his suckies. Then all the suckies would be given to babies who need them. The Suckie Fairy would leave a new toy as a thank-you. (Kinda like the tooth fairy story). My nephew had no issue giving it up.

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My 2 1/2 yr old nephew still takes one and my friends 18 month old still has hers. I can't imagine either of them giving the binky up without a tantrum at this point lol. I took my son's when he was 9 months old. I started by only giving it to him during naps and bed time for a week or two then just threw them all out one day. He didn't even care... turns out I was the one who was scared to give up the binky. A friends son bit the tip of his binky off at that age when he was teething bad and she threw them out scared that he would choke. Her son didn't notice so I decided it must be the best time and it was :)

Kellie - posted on 07/17/2010

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My daughter was colicy and very fussy and had a pacifier from birth, but my husband and I agreed that she could only have it to sleep. She never had it outside of her bed. She was about 18 months old when we decided to take it from her. It only took her one night and that was it.

My niece on the other hand was one of those little ones that always had it in her mouth and she was darn near four years old before they decided to take it from her. I thought for sure she was going to attend preschool with it. My sister had a horrible time trying to get her off of it and they battle for several months.

Since your son is only four months old now would be a good time to decide how much you want him to have it. If it is only to relax and go to sleep than that is the only time you should give it to him. The more he has it the more dependent he will be. The same with how long he has it. I think if he still has it when he's two you will have a harder time getting him off of it.

It may be harmless now but you should have a definite plan for how and when you ween him off of it.

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My daughter is a year old and still takes one. I find that she prefers it to a teether, it seems to sooth her sore gums. I don't know when I will take her off because of this. I feel that it is a safer alternative to constantly using Tylenol.

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my first hated it ... and man did i try to get him to take it lol.. my second loved it.. i yanked at 6 mos.. i noticed him picking it up himself and putting it in his mouth on his own, so i decided it was enough... he actually did really well without it.. not really any problems.. i think the younger they are the easier perhaps?

Mary - posted on 07/17/2010

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My first son had one probably 1 1/2 years. Could not keep it away from him. I had to have them everywhere just in case, you know. I finally read somewhere to slowly cut the tip off. Little at a time. They won't like it in their mouth anymore. It worked like a charm for me. I told him it must have broke. But it is a risk cutting the tip off they will say. But I only cut the littlest bit. It was a fairly new one, I pulled on it & it didn't seem to be going anywhere. I too worried about him not talking as soon or teeth malformations, etc... The first night or too was rough, I won't lie. But then it was smooth sailing.

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