I am fine with pacifiers. Babies need to find some soothing behaviour. The sucking motion, be it a thumb or pacifier, is their “natural way.” Some babies have been sucking their thumb from the time they were in the womb! Frantic upset moms are, however, unhealthy for babies. So if a soother in your baby’s mouth soothes you, go for it. It’s not a “shortcoming” or “failure” to use a pacifier.
The upside to the pacifier is that you can take it away at some point, while a thumb is a tempting treat on the end of your hand forever. It’s far harder to wean thumb-suckers.
So if you have a child who loves their pacifier, that’s fine in my world–but eventually they’ll need to begin the process of weaning. A pacifier may inhibit a child from participating in early attempts at talking. With a full mouth, they may grunt and point instead of trying words. It impedes non-verbal facial expressions that make up a big part of communication too. I suggest at this point you limit the pacifier to certain times and areas like the car seat and their crib or bed. Other times, the pacifier is not available. However, should they REALLY want their pacifier, they can choose to go have it in their room.
This choice of having it in their room is NOT to be punitive. You are not banishing them to their room. It is about socializing versus having quiet, calming privacy.
Many children prefer to stay where the action is and pass on having the pacifier. However, some days are overwhelming and the need to soothe may be great, so they still have the option.
Eventually, you will decide that this is the last pacifier that you will buy, and when it gone, you are not replacing it. Let your child know as soon as you buy it. Some people even have little special ceremonies for the last pacifier. Some invent interesting traditions. If you’ve thought up a creative way to say goodbye to the pacifier, you can share it in the comment section.