There comes that time where your baby isn’t really a baby anymore but a full-fledged toddler. And that’s when most parents start to ask, “How do I wean my child off the pacifier?”
After having two kids that were total binky lovers, I am going to tell you what tips worked for me and my two children and what other moms have told me worked better for them. But first, here are a few pros and cons of using a pacifier or binky with your baby.
This page may contain affiliate links, however, I will never recommend anything that I do not believe in and use myself. You can read more about my disclosure policy here. I am not a medical professional of a doctor of any kind so always check with your child’s pediatrician before using these tips.
Pros Of Using A Pacifier
Whether you say pacifier, binky, or dummy. This wonderful baby product is one that I have been incredibly thankful to have many times as a mom.
Pacifiers are wonderful for babies who feel the need to suck to soothe themselves even after full from eating. And since moms are often balancing more than one child, a household, and sometimes a career, a pacifier helps to calm the baby when they need a little soothing to fall asleep or just relax.
Here are some of the pros of using a pacifier with your baby:
- Reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). The (AAP) American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that parents put their baby down to sleep with a pacifier to help reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
- Pacifiers may prevent thumb-sucking
- Buying time to prepare to nurse or make a bottle. Many parents are able to soothe their baby for a few minutes while they prepare to breastfeed or make a bottle of formula.
Cons Of Continued Use Of A Pacifier
Although there are several benefits of using a pacifier with your baby, there are also a few cons of prolonged pacifier use such as:
- Teeth Development Having a pacifier in their mouth at all times can cause some improper teeth alignment.
- Dependency If your child is dependent on the pacifier and cannot sleep without it, making the transition to life without the paci will be a bit harder.
When Should You Take Away The Binky?
Most kids are able to give up a pacifier on their own between the ages of 2-4 years old. However, most pediatricians and dentists recommend ditching the binky before your child turns two years old.
Depending on your child and situation I would highly recommend talking with your pediatrician about when it is good for your child to give up the binky.
Here are 10 tips that have helped numerous moms with saying bye-bye binky.
1. Timing Is Key
Timing really is everything with kids. It seems that they are always able to show us when they are truly ready to give up something and start something new.
For our family, we have given the pacifier up at different times with both of our kids. And I believe that most of that is because of their personalities.
Our daughter was able to give up the binky before she turned 18 months old without missing it at all. Whereas our son wasn’t able to give his up without much encouragement at 3 years old.
So honestly my opinion is that every child is different and each one will have different soothing needs so just go with your gut and you will know when your baby is ready to give up their binky.
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2. Get The Whole Family Onboard
Getting the entire family involved in Operation Bye Bye Binky is a must if you want to be at all successful.
If your husband doesn’t know that you are trying to keep the pacifier out of sight to reduce the likelihood of your child using it then he may just give it to the baby once he starts fussing.
Being on the same page prevents confusion and creates consistency for your child.
3. Give It Away
Once your baby enters the toddler years and starts learning about giving things away, the thought of becoming a “big kid” and giving away their pacifiers to a little baby may sound like a good idea.
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4. Take It Away Gradually
Some kids do really well with having the pacifier taken away gradually.
One idea is to start hiding the pacifier during waking hours so your child isn’t running around with it all the time in their mouth. And a few weeks later taking it away at naptimes.
Once you have taken the pacifier away during these times, you only have to work with taking it away at bedtime which can sometimes be the hardest.
We found that when our daughter started willingly giving up the pacifier during the day and at naptime, we were able to throw many of them away and just reduce her to one pacifier in the entire house.
And one night when we took the pacifier out of her crib she never looked for it again. It really was that simple for her.
5. Leave It For The Binky Fairy
The binky fairy is such a magical idea for kids to think of carrying all of those binkies to new babies. One idea is getting your child to collect all of their binkies to give to the binky fairy so she can deliver them to other new babies.
Just the act of collecting them and boxing them up voluntarily may help your child to realize that they are not a baby anymore and therefore do not need a binky.
6. Take It Away Cold Turkey
I have heard of many parents having success with taking their child’s pacifier away cold turkey and just explaining that the pacifiers are gone and that was it.
Of course, I don’t think this will work for every baby but if it works for you that’s awesome.
7. Offer A Transitional Comfort Object
Some kids just need some extra comfort now and then so giving the pacifier away is really upsetting for some kids. Instead of just taking the pacifier away, you can always try to give your child something in its place like a stuffed animal or a soft blanket.
This can sometimes make the transition much easier.
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8. Make The Pacifier Unappealing
When I was having a hard time getting my almost 3-year-old to give up the pacifier, my pediatrician told me to cut a tiny hole in the top of it. With a hole in the top, the pacifier will lose suction, and your child will not want it anymore.
This worked like a charm for my son. He said it was broken and decided to throw it away.
9. Have A Countdown
Another cute idea is to have a countdown until the day that the pacifier has to go. Now if your toddler is old enough to understand this, I think it’s a great idea to get them prepared for saying goodbye to their paci.
You could have a calendar that you mark off or even countdown rings that you can rip off each day.
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10. Don’t Give It Back Once It’s Gone
Whatever you do “Do not give the binky back once it’s gone!”
This will just make all of the hard work you have done worthless. You will have to start the whole process over again and your child may be more irritated later on. So once it’s gone – leave it gone.