Pacifiers can be a great soother for little ones, but when it's time to give them up, it can be hell. Tantrums, crying, sleepless nights once again. And who can blame a toddler for not wanting to give up the thing that has offered them such comfort and peace since birth? I wouldn't want to give it up either!
But sadly, there comes a time when it is time to banish the binkie. It won't be easy. It won't be fun. But you can do it. And so can your little one. Here are 8 tips for getting your toddler to ditch the pacifier.
1. Try to the gradual approach. Some experts suggest first taking the pacifier away in "zero stress" situations -- i.e., at home. Once your little one is off it while in the house, take it away for outdoor use. Simply say something like, "The pacifier doesn't leave the house." From there, it should be an easy leap to "the pacifier only stays in the crib," but from there, it might get a little trickier. If it's around the holidays, some suggest saying something like, "Santa collects all the babies' pacifiers and brings toys to boys and girls."
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2. Cut it. Snip the end of the pacifier with a pair of scissors. Then explain to your little one that the pacifier is broken and needs to be thrown out (do no give it back -- it may cause your child to choke!). If he or she is too young to understand that broken things can be replaced, it just might work!
3. Give your little one a warning. I'm a big believer in letting your child -- however little -- know what you're going to do before you do it. On some level, they definitely understand! About a week before you plan on ditching the sucky, kindly let your child know you're going to take it away, and continue to do so the days leading up to it.
Tales From Real Moms Who Banished the Binky:
My daughter was about 1 1/2 when we decided enough was enough and just took it away. No explanation, we just let her whine about it until she accepted it.
We did a step-down method. First we cut it during the day, then at night. We also told her when we ran out of pacifiers, that was it. So she got to use them until they were bad (rubber separating from the ring or whatever), but we warned her we would not be buying anymore.
My son had his eye on a shiny new bike for a while. I told him if he went to bed without the "na-na" for a full two weeks, my husband and I would buy him the bike. And guess what? He took the bait, and two weeks later, he had a brand new bike, the pacis were all in the trash (just kidding, I kept them for at least another year just in case we ran into a crisis), and all was right with the world again.
Pacifier fairy! All the binkies are gathered and left on the windowsill, and the binkie fairy comes and takes them for the new babies and leaves a present to say thank you.
My daughter was 4, so basically what I did was wait until she was old enough and could be bribed well. We did use the whole pacifier fairy thing, and she brought her a necklace and a toy.
And there you have it, folks. Moms who ditched the pacifier and lived to tell!
How did you get your little one to stop using the pacifier?
Image via Nino/Corbis