It's Time for My 4-Year-Old to Ditch Her Pacifier & It May Be Harder for Me Than Her

pacifierNext week my daughter turns 4, and I'm dreading it. Not just for the usual Oh-my-God-my-baby-is-growing-up kind of reasons, but because it means it's time. Time to finally get rid of her pacifier.

I know. I know. It's long overdue. You don't have to tell me all of the reasons it's ridiculous, and bad, and how I should have gotten rid of that thing a long time ago. Believe me, I wish I had gotten rid of it long ago. But we didn't, and so here we are facing the date that I've told her (and myself) repeatedly that we will not go past without finally making the break -- her fourth birthday.

It's not going to be easy ... for either of us.

She's such a big girl in so many ways. In fact, the comment I hear most often about her from other people is, "She is SO much older than 3." She's quite articulate, extremely tall, and she has an older brother who she will do anything to keep up with. People have guessed that she's 4 or 5 since before she was 3. So there's a part of me that hasn't pushed the pacifier thing too much because in some (wrong) way, it does keep her a bit of a baby still. She only has them at home, but when she goes and gets her "greenie" or "purpley" (she calls them by their color) and snuggles into my lap, she's so content. It makes my heart ache to think there will be a day when those moments will come to an end. When problems get so much bigger than anything a pacifier can fix

More from The Stir: 7 Ways to Break the Pacifier Habit

We've been talking about how she has to give up her pacifier for some time now, trying to prepare her. But when she asks why, I honestly don't have that great of an answer besides the fact it will mess up her teeth and "it's not what big girls do."

"Why don't they make pacifiers for big girls?" she asked. I had no answer. Maybe there'd be less need for Xanax if they did.

It's also partly because we've been lazy that she still has her pacifiers; I won't lie. I know it's going to be hard, and she's been such a headstrong toddler as it is that I haven't been willing to fight that battle with all of the others we've fought in the last couple of years. And I know bedtime is going to be rough for awhile, and there's never a good time for that, and, well ...  we've frankly chosen the easy way out.

But it's time. It is. We've set this date in stone, and so next week, we're going to do it. Cold turkey is the plan because I don't really know how else to do it. We have some incentives for her planned and the promise of a party when the pacifiers are gone for good. Hopefully we'll be successful, but I can't say I won't be at least a little sad when we are.

Any tips for getting rid of pacifiers this late in the game?


Image p886/Flickr 

a mom's life, gear, toddler development


To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

gabe05 gabe05

A few days before her birthday, cut off the tip of each paci. Cut more off every night until the "nipple" is gone.  If she's anything like my little sister who was the exact same age  when the time came to lose paci, she'll hold the plastic nub between her teeth at bedtime so she still has some remnant of the ritual left.  Within a week, my sister threw the pacis away because they were broken.  No tears, no fuss.  They just got old because she'd used them too long. 

Venae Venae

Poke a hole in it so there's no suction.

And don't ever let another of your children have their pacifier past age 1 - they can't argue w/you and there's no reason for a child who can self-soothe to have a pacifier.

To answer your daughter - why don't they make pacifiers for big girls?  Because big girls don't need pacifiers - neither do little girls.  Only BABIES do.


sand008 sand008

None, at 6 months old my son would spit it out. That's was easy.

Sleep... SleepingBeautee

Talk to her about the pacifier fairy needing to pick them up for a new baby being born on her birthday. Then the night before her birthday, take all of the remaining pacifiers and put them in a gift bag for the fairy to pick up. Together you should decide where to put it so the fairy has easy access to it, maybe on the front door knob. Then when she is asleep ditch the pacifiers and have the "fairy" leave a small big girl gift in their place with a note telling her how proud she is that she is giving her pacifiers to a new baby.

Good luck!


Pinkmani Pinkmani

I think you just have to stand your ground. Take it away and throw it away together. Pacifiers are for babies. She's getting ready for kindergarten. 

nonmember avatar Megan

Your are so brave for writing this. Even though you spelled out your regret so many people will make the rudest comments here. Some already have.

I super like the pacifier fairy idea posted. I can see a 4 year old getting into that and thinkin that was fun. Good luck mama!

nonmember avatar FarmersWife

I second poking a hole in them. Then they just don't 'work' any more and she will move on. Less trauma for both of you. No biggie that she's had it this long. I think it's nice that you can discuss emotions rather than having an upset baby with no understanding of why you took it away

sweet... sweet.lil.mama.

That's pathetic that you waited til 4. 2 is ok. But a preschooler. Wtf.

BPayne09 BPayne09

I wish I had it as easy as a paci. My 10 month old is a big time thumb sucker. Not all day but if he's hungry or sleepy he sucks his thumb. Much easier to get rid of a pacifier. Can't get rid of a thumb!

Mommy... MommyGeek

I have never felt the need to do the whole pacifier nazi thing........some children give them up on their own and some don't.  I never felt that there was a specific age for getting rid of it because each child is unique and you know your child best.  Ripping the pacifier from my content and happy 6 month old was not in her best interest so I didn't.  I almost didn't use one with my oldest because I believed the milk nazis that told me my baby would have nipple confusion. I ended up giving her one on the second day and had no problem breast feeding.  Both of my DDs loved their pacifiers and are completely well rounded with no lingering effects from having theirs past the age of 3.  They started going to the dentist at 2 and every checkup he told me that their teeth were fine and that he really doesn't usually see kids have teeth problems with them until around age 5. He said thumb sucking was much worse and much harder to stop.


1-10 of 115 comments 12345 Last