Getting Rid of the Pacifier

The pacifier, binky, nook, paci, or bo-bo. Regardless of what you call it, it can be a beautiful thing in the early months with a baby. It can quiet a crying baby in a heartbeat, and while it can be a complete lifesaver by giving you more hours of uninterrupted sleep, it can also become a huge headache, as a child grows older. The pacifier, the item that you used to shove in your child’s mouth during sleepy stupors, can become one of the hardest things to take away from your child. Have no fear though; it is possible to get rid of the pacifier.

How long a child should suck a pacifier is debatable. There’s really not a medical reason as to why they shouldn’t soothe themselves with one, although a dentist may argue that the small sucking device can cause issues with growing teeth. Some choose to take a pacifier away from a child once they have their first birthday, while others are a bit more relaxed. Let’s face it; we’ve probably all seen a four-year-old child still sucking on his or her binky. However, we probably shouldn’t judge that child’s parents until we’ve learned the hardships of trying to take our own child’s paci away. It can be tough.

Whenever you feel is the right time to take away a pacifier from your child is up to you. Many parents try to make age two a cut-off point for use of the pacifier. Some try the cold-turkey method and completely take away all pacifiers from the child. Keep in mind, your child will cry if you use this method. In fact, they may cry for a number of days about this newfound crisis in their lives. However, if you can be tough and stick with it, within a week, your child will be pacifier-free. A word of advice is to completely get rid of all pacifiers so that you aren’t tempted to give in to your child. It will be a rough week, but it will work.

Others try the weaning method. Many limit when and where their child can use a pacifier. The older the child, the more likely they are only allowed to use the pacifier at naps and bedtime. By setting limits as to when a child can suck on their pacifier, you will make it easier on yourself when it comes time to take it away. If they can understand that they only get the nook at certain times, they will also likely understand when you tell them they can no longer have it. They won’t be happy, but they will typically make due. Crying may ensue, and you must just be strong and not give in.

If you’d prefer not to choose one of the above methods, consider using a small needle to poke a hole into your child’s pacifiers. You may be surprised how easily they handle the fact that their pacifier no longer works. In fact, your child may be the one that decides that the pacifier needs to be thrown away. Chances are if they are able to make this decision, they are ready to give up the pacifier completely. Some children may ask for a new one, but that is when you matter-of-factly tell them that you do not have anymore and are not getting any more.

Finally, if you are willing to use a little make-believe, enlist the help of a pacifier fairy. Talk up the pacifier fairy and encourage your child to get excited about this tooth fairy-like creature. Set a day to leave all pacifiers for the pacifier fairy to pick up. Overnight, or during naptime, the pacifier fairy comes, takes the pacifiers, and in return leaves a special gift.

Whichever method you choose, be prepared to battle some tears. It is very hard for children to give up comforting, soothing objects. But rest assured they will survive, and you will too. Soon they will be pacifier free!