Weaning Kids Off Pacifiers: 7 Dos & Don'ts


Pacifiers are a lifesaver for moms ... right up until the day you decide you want to wean your child off their beloved binky. Sure, there are the moms who swear their kids just went cold turkey. But they seem like the mystical Bigfoot -- you hear about them, but you never actually see them.

More from The Stir: 10 Wacky Pacifiers No Baby Should Ever Use (PHOTOS)

So how do you get your tot to give up the pacifier? The experts say binkies should be taken away well before adult teeth begin to come in to prevent any lifelong damage to their alignment.

And fortunately, they have some ideas to help!

Tips for Breaking the Pacifier Habit

1. Do take it slowly. "Don't try to go cold turkey," warns Dr. Priti Naik, pediatric dentist from Vienna, Virginia. Instead she suggests reducing and limiting pacifier use gradually to "successively shorter or specific times." For example, you can cut out pacifier use during the day, allowing your tot to keep the soother at night, then cut naptime use, then bedtime.

2. Don't damage the pacifier. Dr. Naik has seen parents cut the nipple to make sucking unpleasant, but she doesn't suggest it as this can present a choking hazard.

3. Do find a way for them to "keep" their pacifier without sucking on it. Dr. David Zirlin of White Plains Pediatric Dentistry told a patient who was going to Build-A-Bear to put the last pacifier in the bear before it was sewn up as a way for the child to hang on to it. 

4. Don't be afraid to set down limits. "As a parent, you are able to control the time or access to the pacifier," Dr. Naik reminds patients. "While the child may become upset, ultimately, it's the parents that can control access to the pacifiers."

5. Do talk to your child. Parents' encouragement can work wonders, Dr. Zirlin says. "Discuss it with the child," he suggests. "Tell them why you want them to quit and plan a strategy ... together."

6. Don't be afraid to get creative. Binky fairy coming to take them away to give to babies who need them? Planting a binky tree? These "tricks" can get kids on board, and there's nothing wrong with that.

7. Do reward your kids. Giving up a pacifier is a big step for little ones, and Dr. Zirlin suggests acknowledging that. He suggests a reward chart -- putting stickers on a chart or calendar for going without the pacifier, or outright trading pacifiers for toys. 

Have your kids given up their pacifiers yet? How did you wean them from the binky?


Images via Kristian Mollenborg/Flickr; © iStock.com/matka_Wariatka

baby development


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Mommy... Mommy1438

I give my one yr old a paci outside so she cant stuff rocks bugs etc into her mouth. or at a restrurant to prevent her trying to scream-talk to every passerby. Also for carrides to sleep or for bed to sleep. quitting should be SIMPLE since most of the time its close to her and she never feels teh need for it except naps.

Einyn Einyn

I just took it away from my kids cold turkey. There honestly wasn't much issue other than them thinking it was lost.

Ellen Waltos

I just took my son's paci away cold turkey when he was one and a half. He was fine. I just told him I had to give it back to the babies cuz he was a big boy now.

nonmember avatar Bethany

I just broke my 13 month old from her binky this week. She had a cold and wasn't sucking on it, just holding it in her teeth due to her stuffy nose. So I took advantage of the situation and got rid of them.

Lucki... Luckicharmz

Sorry but cold turkey works just fine in a lot of cases. My son hit 16 months they all went in the trash and that was it. Mind you I wasn't the "24/7 binky baby" mom either so he already had it for extremely limitted periods anyway

Caely... Caelynnes.Mommy

my daughter left hers for santa. she was about a year and a half and had no problem with it. she left her pacifier for santa and he left her presents

smjon... smjones85

My son at bedtime pulled it out of his mouth and threw it on the floor. That was that. He just did not want it anymore. He will still point them out at the store but as soon as we leave the aisle he does not care anymore.

MomOwl MomOwl

I've never had the problem. my boys didn't take them much to begin with so they weaned themselves.

Leslie Parish

I took my sons away at two and a half and he was dearly attached. He could only have it during nap and bed and one day he ccame unglued because I would not give it to him. it happened to be right next to a pair of sissors and next to the counter was the garbage can so you guessed it I picked up his binky and snipped the tip off in the garbage and threw it away. He was Pissed screamed and cried and then preceeded to go find almost everyone he had lost I did the same thing everytime he found a new one. it was a rough day but that was the end of it. mission acomplished. no more paci. my other 4 kids gave theirs up between 4 to 8 mos. just not him it was his first love. LOL



nonmember avatar Stephanie

At a year my daughter's dr suggested that I cut her binkie so I sliced a lil slit at the top and have it back. No effect on her so I just took them away cold turkey. I didn't want her to have the thing in the first place but caved when she was still waiting to suck on her bottle without being hungry and she got addicted to it. She's been without it for more than 2 weeks. Yayz

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