Getting Rid of the Pacifier

Before Lucas was born, I had decided that we were not going to use pacifiers. I had my reasons and I didn’t think they were something that would end up being a lifesaver for my sanity down the road. I contemplated pacifiers for a while, and went back and forth with my decision and my struggle on what I should do. I think they look ridiculous and I didn’t want my child dependent on it. I don’t like seeing three year old kids walking around with it in their mouth and not talking.

Someone said something to me that really struck a cord. It was something like “I would rather see my baby with a pacifier in his mouth than see him cry.” And, I realized that is so true. If a pacifier makes him happy or helps him sleep at night or comforts him, than what’s the problem?

So, ever since then Lucas has used his pacifier. He mostly only has it for sleeping and in the car seat, although I do usually carry one with me in my purse for emergencies. I know that if he gets fussy and we’re out in public, all I have to do is give him the pacifier and it will make him happy.

Lucas just turned one and I’m thinking about when I want to get rid of it completely. I see no problem with him having it at night or for naps, but I’d like to stop bringing it with us everywhere and using it in the car. However, I’ve also heard that sometimes going 100% cold turkey and cutting it out all together is best. Our pediatrician today told us that at this age they don’t remember things as well so it’s best to start weaning/getting rid of the pacifier early.

What do you think? When did you get rid of the pacifier and how? How did your kids adjust?

Published by Samantha Mellen

Certified personal trainer & health coach helping women transform their lives through fitness, abundant mindset coaching and internal peace. Mom of two boys, living life in Alaska.

31 thoughts on “Getting Rid of the Pacifier

  1. My 15 month old uses his for naps and car and if he needs extra comfort only.

    My daughter was the same and got rid of hers on her 2nd birthday. We just said “Laura, you are such a big girl now that you are TWO. You should throw that bink away. Lo and behold, she did and that was that!

    P.S. Her teeth are just fine. πŸ˜‰

  2. My oldest son (3 1/2) used a paci (ONLY in bed- we were strict about that) from age 1 on until…ugh, 3. Embarrassing. We kept putting off weaning for one reason or another. We were moving, we didn't want him to be confused when the new baby came, etc. Right after he turned 3 we just told him one night that we couldn't find the paci (we couldn't) and he cried a little and then forgot about it. That was it. He never cried over it again and we realized we PROBABLY should have cut him off much earlier. πŸ˜‰

  3. I haven't weaned from the paci yet. I'm not ready, she's not ready and well, we will do it when we are ALL ready. I plan to start at the age of two when she can understand it a little bit more.

    I have a lot of friends who have weaned at various ages. For younger kids, here is what I have heard that works: poke a hole in it so it no longer has the bubble at the end and slowly he will stop wanting it because it is no longer satisfying. Or cut a small amount off the tip, and each night cut a little more off until there is nothing left.

    For older kids (2 and up): create a box together and decorate it for the “Binky Fairy”. Put all the binkies in it and put it on the front door step so she can come and take it away for all the babies who need them.

    I thought that last one was so creative! But obviously would only work for kids old enough to understand.

  4. I would agree with the doctor… the longer you let it go, usually the harder to take away. However, both of my girls are finger/thumb suckers and I wish more than anything that they would stop. The 3 1/2 year only does it when she sleeps or is really tired, but still… Ugh!

  5. My kids never did like pacifiers, so I have not been in your situation. However, I see no reason why you can wean him from having it except in his bed at night. Once he wakes up, he has to leave it in his bed. And he can have it again as soon as he's laying down. I'd do that for 3-4 weeks and then try it without it πŸ™‚

    But, I also am very for “child-led weaning” when it comes to breastfeeding, bottle feeding, or pacifiers. I nursed both my kids until they were 27 months old. Then I prepared them for letting go and we just did it. They were both old enough to understand “milk is all gone!”

  6. I never really used one for either of my kids…one child had them for a month then found her thumb so I put it away…and I say all that to say, nothing, …whatever is kindest and gentlest to the child while keeping the use moderate and appropriate for your child.


  7. As a former thumb sucker, I would much rather use a paci because it's sooo much easier to take away! Mine just stopped using his paci at about 7 mos. To wean him off the night time bottle, I used the farmer's almanac and now I swear by it! We took it away on the day it said and it totally worked. We showed him the drawer we kept them in was empty and had no issues. I know it's probably harder with a paci, but I would try it.

  8. we never had to wean harvey from the pacifier he never had much interest in it so we stopped carrying it around with us after about 6 months. (not that we ever used out of the house we just had it in the event it was needed). the only time harv used it was at night or for naps i could lay down nurse and then slip in the paci as i unlatched him and he would stay asleep otherwise he would wake up. at aound 10 months that ended he wanted nothing to do with it. But i did learn that by not offering it to him he learned other ways to sooth himself and that made me happy since i was anti pacifier usage.

    On the other hand a girlfriend of mine he did use one weaned her son from it at i think 6 maybe 7 months and she put it in his had and had him throw it in the trash and told him he was a big boy and didn't need him (the whole deal) and he never through a fit for it again. somehow he grasped that it was gone for good. i dont know most 7month holds who could do that but a 1year old should be able to understand. i do agree cold turkey is the best, becuase otherwise they know if they fuss long enough they will get what they want.

  9. I tried for a few days to get my kids to take a pacifier. Not one of them wanted it past a few days old. Not long after leaving the hospital, I've found that any time I tried to use the binky to calm them, they just screamed louder. I thought they were just weird babies who wouldn't take to a paci.

    That's when a dear friend of mine clued me into her secret. She said you have to teach them to want it. (This is probably not true of bottle-fed babies, since they know how to suck that shape of nipple.)

    Well, why the heck would I want to teach a baby that habit only to have to break it later? So I pop a boob in baby's mouth when he thinks he wants something in his mouth. It doesn't take long for a baby to learn to self-comfort without either binkies or the breast, because boobs are full of food, and little tummies can only take so much!

    So I guess I can't help you much, huh? πŸ˜‰

  10. All 3 of my kids were done with their pacifiers by the time they were 1. This was my ideal plan, but I only actually did anything with my first born. In her case I had already cut the pacifier down to just naps and bed. A few weeks before her birthday I just threw it out so I wouldn't be tempted to just give it back. There were a couple of days that were challenging, but by the end of the first week it was like it had never existed to begin with.

    My other two children both got rid of their pacifiers by themselves, and they actually both did it well before their first birthdays. They were amazingly picky about their pacifiers and had only one in the whole world they would take. Not just one type, but literally one single pacifier. At some point their pacifier got lost. I tried giving them both replacements, but they just threw them out of the crib and screamed at them. Since they wouldn't take the new one, and the old one was lost, they had a few rough nights like the oldest but had forgotten it had existed by the end of the first week or so.

    Not sure how much that helps, but good luck!

  11. Caelan started biting the nipple of the pacifiers and they eventually all got holes in them and we just threw them out and never got new ones. Later on I read that people actually poke holes in the nipple to help wean. They have the comfort of still having the pacifier for awhile but it doesn't have the same effect so in a week, or how ever long you wait, it won't be as hard. The first night it took him a while to go to sleep but after that it was not a big deal.

  12. We made sure that our son only used it for naps and bedtime from about 5 months up. Then we started putting him to sleep without it. If it worked then he went off to dreamland- if he was having a hard time we would give it to him. By 9 months he was totally done with it.

    I've heard of people who leave it on the table or under the child's pillow with a note for the 'paci ferries' and when they wake up the next morning there is something new there instead like a big child cup or something they really like.

    I remember reading somewhere that by the time a toddler is 18 months their suck is so strong that sucking on a pacifier can actually cause them to suck bacteria from their mouth into their ears causing ear infections. Pretty scary!

  13. My baby gave it up on his own (as in refused to take it) at about 10 months old and I was super excited because I am a pushover so I would totally be the mom of the 3 year old that still had a binky but my (now 16 months old) son still doesn't sleep well, he wakes roughly every hour or two all night long and it occurred to me that perhaps he would take one, so I actually reintroduced it at night time and it is helping the sleep a little bit but he only has it at night, I don't give it to him during the day and if he comes across one that has fallen out of his bed during the day he just puts it back in the crib, he has no desire to have it during the day at all. If it helps him sleep, he can have it in bed as long as he wants!

  14. I've got a thumb sucker – she's two – so I have absolutely no advice for you. My friend, though, only allows her little boy to have his “nuks” in bed and only bed.

  15. At 19 months, my son still uses his-only for sleepy time though. We don't let him use it any other time. Once he understood this, he was fine without it (except in his bed). I think once the 3 yr mark approaches and he can understand a bit more, we'll send the binkies off to the babies that need them:)

  16. 2 of my kids used a Binky and 2 sucked their thumb. I prefer the binky, you can throw those away! My thumb-suckers quit much much later than the binky suckers. My youngest is now 19 months and I started weaning at 15 months by saying the binky is only for bedtime, he can only have it in his crib. I hope to have it gone completely by age 2.
    Not letting him have his Binky out in public was the toughest for me. At first it was me giving in, but now he doesn't even need it. If he is playing in his room and sees it laying on the floor he actually throws it back in his crib!

  17. I felt the same way and was very anti-paci. But there was that one awful night that he just wouldn't stop crying and I gave in. It slept like a baby. He loved that paci for his first 2-3 months, and then just refused it. He was ready to give it up.

    I truly believe that he will give it up when he's ready. While I still sometimes cringe seeing a 2 year old with a paci, I have to remind myself that there's nothin wrong with it. It's a comfort tool. What's so wrong with them having a paci if it makes them feel safe and secure? It's not hurting them, is it? As long as it's not permanently attached to their mouth.

    Try giving him a lovey or something else you don't mind as much in place of the paci if it's that important to you. Otherwise I would just tell him occasionally that he's a strong boy and he can drop the pacifier whenever he wants. praise him, make him feel like he CAN leave it, and then leave the decision up to him.

    I mean, do you know any adults that still use a paci? Really?

    Sam, you've been an awesome mom. You'll continue to be an awesome mom no matter what you do with this. Do what feels right for you and Lucas. You can't go wrong there!

  18. my baby started using it early and I am hoping to cut it out before she turns two. I never had any problems with her having a binkie and it has helped me calm her down a lot.

  19. i'll be honest and say i skimmed through the comments, so if this one has been used…SORRY!!

    amelya had a paci until around two. then i decided i didn't want her to be 'that' kid walking around and talking with it in her mouth. i had read about cutting the nipple so it'd be broke and not work. (obviously not unsuperviesed…she had hers all the time not just at nap,) but that totally worked for her after one or two times of giving her that one, she'd hand it back and say broke. and that was that.

    breigh was also around two when we got rid of it. we started only allowing it at nap/bed time. so whe we were out in public and she'd throw a fit, we wouldn't give in. we'd deal with the fit. and tell her she only got it for bed. one day we put the girls to bed and realized we never gave breigh her nuk and she went to sleep. so we quit giving it to her. and she was fine.

    i know that this is not much help. but you asked how i did it. :0) praying it's an easy transition…whenever you decide to do it!

  20. We did not want to use a pacifier. However, the hospital felt the need to give him one when he was born. Ugh. We probably should have just taken it away when we got home, but didn't out of sheer exhaustion. From what we've read pacifiers after the first birthday can cause speech development problems and orthodontic problems, so we plan to have Jackson quit cold turkey the day after his first birthday. And for the record, we are sooooooooooooooooo not looking forward to the apocalypse that is going to occur. Lol.

  21. I taught my son to throw his paci back in the crib after naps when he was about 8 months old or so. He is 14 months, and only uses it in the crib and the car. I am not worried about getting rid of it until he is closer to two. Like someone else said, if he finds one on the floor, he throws it back in his crib!

  22. My son was about 18 months old when HE got rid of it. He had gone a few days (and nights) without it when my fiancee and I realized it. I think that we had just misplaced it and really didn't think about it…and neither did he surprisingly. When we did realize it, we found them all and put them up where he couldn't get them. He is now almost three and has not had one since. We got lucky with our son…I have heard some horror stories…but each kid is different.

  23. Okay… i'm horrible! My son will be 3 in may and still has his binky! I'm trying to get rid of it… he's super attached!!! yikes… ive been putting it off for far to long. Our time line is 3 and thats coming up fast. Any advice I'd love to hear it πŸ™‚

  24. I can so relate! (I was/am a strong opponent of toddlers with pacifiers and was determined not to have a 2- or 3-year-old with one.)

    My oldest two kids used a pacifier. (We didn't try it with my 3rd and the 4th rejected it.) Both of them gave it up around a year. With my son, we let him use the pacifiers until they wore out. One started getting sticky? Oh, well, in the trash! Leave one at a friend's house? Too bad. It didn't take long for them to be all gone. He adjusted just fine within a day or two.

    My daughter is of a different sort. She gave it up on her own. She just started refusing to use it so it was a really easy transition!

  25. TigerBoy had his longer than he needed it and much longer than I wanted, but that was because of unavoidable interference from TigerDaddy and his sister…………
    However, when I was trying to transition it out, I definitely did an ok during nap and night time. I pointed out a spot on his bed where it would be kept. So, when he got to bed at night, he knew right where to look for it……….it worked very well. And if my SIL was better with kids, so she could support this, I'm sure TigerBoy would have gotten rid of it sooner.

    Luckily, I was able to drop the pacifier when I was visiting my parents……It was just a fluke. One night, it got lost in the sheets. I think it had fallen off the futon and I was just too tired to care about looking for it. I figured he would be fine. And actually didn't cry too long before falling back to sleep. And so, the pacifier just never came back…….There were just a few times where he was wanting it, but mostly it was a super smooth transition.

    Good luck!

  26. We weaned my son at 2 from his paci by telling him another baby needed it now. We wrapped it in a box and sent it away. I thought it would be traumatic, but it was easy. Stopping my daughter from thumb sucking, on the other hand, has been a total nightmare.
    Good luck!
    Lori Lowe

  27. I prefer paci's…I was a thumb sucker and did it until 3rd grade…so embarassing! I would MUCH rather have a kid with a paci that you can take it away at an appropriate age than something they have with them all the time. Also some studies said that paci's help to reduce SIDS…because they usually do not stop breathing while they are sucking or have something in their mouths. I will take it away at 2…perfect age I think!

  28. For my 1st, I took the paci away cold turkey at 11 mnths – after about 1-2 days he never remembered it. For my 2nd, I did hte same at around 13 months. Both of those times though, I was already preggo w/ my next and I wanted to make sure the current baby was off the paci before the next baby came so I wouldn't end up with a 3 yo w/a paci still. This time though, my baby is 13 mnths and I haven't cut her off yet. I want to soon, but I've actually become more reliant on it than her. I do believe cold turkey is best – especially at this young age – usually once it's out of sight, it's out of mind πŸ™‚

    Good luck!

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