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Weaning Off Pacifiers

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How to Get Rid of The Pacifier

This past week I had numerous moms asking me what I thought about pacifiers. Here is what I shared with them.

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.

About Alyson

Alyson has been blogging parenting advice for over 15 years. She has been a panelist at BlogWest, Blissdom, #140NYC and more. Her content appears on sites across Canada and the US, but you can read all her own blog posts right here.

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10 Responses to “Weaning Off Pacifiers”

  1. Tammy Delaney

    I am in the process of weaning my 2 1/2 year old from her soother. She previously only used it for bedtime/naps and the car. Now, the soother fairy has come and taken them all away for babies that need them. The soother fairy brought a couple of gifts because she knew that she would be sad that the “soosie” was gone. But, we told her that they are gone now. It’s night one, so, lots of crying…it has taken almost 2 hours for her to settle herself to sleep with lots of encouragement/patience and loving from both my husband and I. I only hope that it only takes a few more nights before the “soosie” is a thing of the past!!

  2. Tammy Delaney

    Update: So, the crying on night 2 lasted all of 10 minutes..and it was more of, for those dreading it…just stick with it…don’t cave in and you’ll be rid of the soother in a matter of days!!

  3. Bella

    I was having major problems with my son’s binky addiction! My friend absolutely raved about the cut method, and all of the psychology behind it. She emailed me a link to a site that has a free publication ( -supported by advertisements) on dropping the binky, so I tried it. Very cool stuff, worked beautifully for my son. Four days later he did not want anything to do with his binky. Highly recommended! I am also interested in others experiences with this method…. Bella

  4. Cynthia

    I totally agree with Rebecca. Children need parent’s to make the decisions for them, not the other way around. And yes, I have children.

  5. Katherine

    Hello All – Thank you for sharing your stories. My daughter is 22 months old and she has been using her “passy” for nap and bedtime only for as long as I can remember (she never really cared for it in public or when she was around us). Last night I told her the passy went flying in the sky to all the new little babies and passy’s were yuckyfor big girls and owies for teeth and only babies need passy’s. She cried for about 10 minutesthe first night with no passy. I went and explained the story again and she cried for another 10 minutes and finally went to sleep and slept through the night. Today at nap time that was a different story, she actually got out of her todler bed for the first time (twice after I yelled at her both times). She then cried for about 20 minutes and finally want to sleep (I just checked on her). I feel like a very mean mom because of all the tears and sadness. After reading other stories you are right we need to realize as parents we should not allow our children to be dependent on a pacifier for too long it just teaches bad habits and could lead to teeth issues. It is so hard not cave in and I just hope we do not have go through the tears and crying for too many nights. Tough love only makes them stronger, right?

  6. Alyson Schafer

    How is it going now with the “passy”

  7. LAURA

    Thank God for this conversation! I am a wreck. My daughter is 17 months old, and a wonderful sleeper… when she has her ‘dooda’ (as the Croatian’s call it). She did arouse occassionally during the night to find another when she lost one, but would go right back to sleep after finding another in her crib. Her dooda’s started to fall apart, so of course, I got rid of them, till there were no more! (or so I thought).
    The first night, she cried and cried and cried. My husband, being the softy, picked her up to sooth her and tried to rock her for 25 min. while she SCREAMED! I knew, that wouldn’t work…
    I, having to be the toughy, put her back to bed, let her cry a bit (heartbreaking!), but after 15 min. she fell asleep. That 1st night she slept well.
    2nd day, she only napped for 40 min (vs. 1 1/2 hours). And at night, she went to bed immediately. HOwever, woke up NUMEROUS times in the middle of the night screaming and crying for periods of 10 min. or so. And then back to sleep. OF course I was up all night watching her in the monitor.
    Today, she WOULD NOT nap. And, as a result, was VERY cranky. I tried to put her for a late nap when I got home from work, but she cried and cried and cried, and just couldn’t get to sleep.
    I’ve just laid her down, at her usual bedtime, 8pm, she went to sleep happily, and *fingers crossed* she’ll have a restful night. Lord knows I NEED ONE!
    Keep your fingers crossed for me… I’m teetering on the edge of giving her the soother I found in our bed sheets yesterday!!! And my heart wrenches when I see her so sad, and distraught and tired. I’m trying REALLY hard not to give it to her.
    So, again, I am SO glad for this conversation… it reminds me that I just have to stick it through… and reinforces the fact that she’s at the age where it’s now or never… so to speak…

  8. Alyson Schafer

    Glad you are finding the site and parent’s comments / stories helpful. Please keep posting your stories!

  9. hilary

    My first daughter gave up her soother when she was three and a half years of age after her new baby sister came home from hospital, which I was very surprised at. She decided for herself she was not coerced by myself or her dada we just let her be and she decided this for herself. People need to chill out about the whole soother debate. We give our babies the soothers and then when it doesn’t suit us the parents we just expect them to give them up because they’re too “old” for one. My second daughter is currently “obsessed” with her soother but to take it away would be cruel because we started her on the soother road to addiction. Also soothers are sooo much better than thumb sucking. Leave the babies alone, they’ll give up the soothers when they’re ready to do so. Its only for a very short time in the grand scheme of things.

  10. Amber

    My son held on to his binky like it was a lifeline! We actually started out by only giving it to him during naps and when he was real fussy, but as time went on, he seemed to want it more (it went from a suckle need, to a want). My mom found the bye bye binky method ( ) here on this blog, printed it and suggested that we go with it. At first I was a bit mad at my mom, but I soon got over it. The method worked amazingly well. My son stopped sucking on it after 4 days! He proceeded to carry it around for another week, but never put it in his mouth. He then got tired of carrying it and simply lost interest. Mom was right, it worked, highly recommended, thanks Bella!


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