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How to Get Your Baby to Give Up the Pacifier

Katlyn Joy |31, July 2012


Pacifiers. Chances are you debated even offering one to your baby, weighing the pros and cons. The big pro: pacifiers are linked to lower SIDS rates in young infants. The cons: the big one, when and how to stop.

When to Stop

Experts chime in that by a baby's second birthday you should at least limit baby's pacifier use or abruptly end it altogether. The reasons are simple, a pacifier used beyond a certain time can alter a child's bite, and lead to dental health issues. The other reason, and likely one you are about to deal with soon, is that it can be quite the battle to take away if you allow it to be used beyond early toddlerhood.

How to Stop

One method is to remove the pacifier from your child's life gradually. Limit the pacifier's use to the child's crib or bed only, or for sleep or car travel only. When the ignition shuts off, the pacifier must be popped out. When baby gets up in the morning or from her nap, the pacifier stays behind. No exceptions.

After some time, remove some instances of pacifier use. For instance, after a month or two, take away naptime binky, and allow only nightime pacifier use. Or only allow the pacifier for trips that take place at night. For many little ones, this reduction of use will allow the child to lose interest gradually and on their own schedule.
If your child needs a push, you may try the abrupt method after first using the gradual method.

The Abrupt Method for Removing the Pacifier

Start with talking about the pacifier being for little babies, and that your child is getting big. Tell your child that he is going to be giving up his pacifier soon. You could mark a date on the calendar for the big day, have a countdown chart or some other visual representation of the goal date.

You can either have a big throwing away ritual or you may bundle up the binkies and find a new little baby to "donate" your child's pacifiers to. The important thing is that the pacifier isn't hanging around as a reminder of the sucking habit. That would be like keeping a stash of lighters and cigarettes when you want to quit smoking.

Replace baby's old habit with a less problematic new one. While soothing baby to sleep, incorporate a soft blankey or buy baby a new nighttime sleep friend, a stuffed animal or soft cloth book or similar item.

Another option is to reward your baby with a big boy or big girl toy once the pacifiers have been thrown out or donated. Make the trade off a celebration and make a big fuss over your growing up child.

Don't hold onto a spare as an emergency soother. Hold firm and fast and don't give in. You will definitely have tears, and some of them yours possibly, and a few sleepless nights in your household. However when the child knows the pacifier is definitely gone for good, peace will reign once more.

Safety Issues

- Remember that pacifiers should always be discarded when holes, rips or tears appear as they can pose choking hazards.

- Never use a too small pacifier as it can be a choking hazard as well.

- Keep the pacifier sanitized. Never think licking a child's pacifier is cleaning it. You can even spread dental carries to your child this way.

- Never attach a pacifier to baby's clothing by tying it or putting it on a string around baby's neck.

- Never coat a pacifier with sugar or sweet solutions.

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Amber Jan 6, 2013 10:27:13 PM ET

Fun reading the strings. My son was so attached to his pacifier that it started to become a real problem. We could not go anywhere without making sure that we had a pacifier in hand. My friend absolutely raved about the bye bye binky method so we decided to give it a try (she found it at ). All I can say is WOW, worked beautifully for my son with no tantrums, not even one! Super easy and four days later he had no interest in his binky. We really were amazed… highly recommended… Amber

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colbkaygrey Aug 6, 2012 01:17:35 AM ET

I have been trying to start on weening from my son's paci. I will be trying to take it away gradually and only give at naptimes and bed! I think that will be much easier than going cold turkey of course!

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