Ending the Pacifier Habit

Many children begin the toddler years still using pacifiers. At this age, many parents are ready to help their little one stop using the binky (or paci, nuk, dummy, etc).

There are several reasons to begin pacifier weaning for your toddler:

  • Pacies may cause problems for toddlers learning to speak.
  • Some studies suggest ear infections are more likely among children still using them.
  • Continued use after the toddler years can cause problems with permanent teeth!

The habit is not all bad. Many young children find sucking on binkies to be very soothing and comforting, and it’s much easier to break a binky-sucking habit than it is to stop thumb sucking! Still, if you’ve decided it’s time to wean your tot from the pacifer, you may need a few tips!

Tips to Help Wean a Toddler From the Pacifier:

“Broken Binky” Method: This is a great way to help your child wean from the binky. You don’t even have to take it away! Simply gather all the pacifiers and snip a small sliver off of the tops of the nipples. Now, when your child sucks on them, the pacifiers won’t give the resistance they once did. Without that same feeling, many toddlers will simply stop sucking on them, though they may still carry the pacifiers around for a bit longer! Make sure not to snip too much or some binkies could turn into choking hazards. When in doubt, throw them out!

“Giving Away to A Baby” Method: With this method you tell your tot that in a couple days you two will gather up all the binkies and put them in a box to give to a baby who still needs binkies. Continue to remind your tot about the plan for giving the binkies away. Then, when the day arrives, gather up all the pacifiers and put them in a box to be given away. If you have a close friend with a baby, take the box to them. Sure, the friend will likely throw them away, but it will make your child feel better knowing where they are going. Otherwise you can pretend to mail them! When you get home, pull out a special suprise for you little one as a reward for giving the pacifiers away.

“Go Gradual” Method: This method helps get rid of the pacifier gradually over the course of weeks. First, no longer suggest the binky to your child. Next, when you find it laying around the house, put it in your little one’s crib so it’s no longer out. After that, start setting limits of where or when your child can have the pacifier: Maybe he/she can only have it at night or nap, or only in his/her room. This step can actually be broken into smaller steps if your toddler is really hooked. You may begin by saying no binkies in the store, then no binkies in the car, then no binkies in the kitchen, etc. After that step, no longer look for you child’s pacifier when it’s lost. Finally, finish weaning from the pacifier completely

“Hide it” Method: With this method, you aren’t actually getting rid of the pacifier just yet, you are simply hiding it. When your toddler looks for it, he/she may or may not find it. If he/she doesn’t find it, try to continue on with your daily routine without the pacifier. If your child isn’t functioning well without it, find the pacifier. You may see your toddler being able to go longer and longer without the pacifier. Keep this “lost pacifier” routine up. Once your tot has successfully napped and gone to bed without a pacifier you know you can get rid of it for good.

“No More Pacifier” Party Method: With this method, let your child know that you will have a “No More Binkies” party. When the day arrives, gather up and dispose of all the pacifiers. Then have your party. Celebrate with family or friends, eat your toddler’s favorite snacks, play some games, etc. This method works better with an older toddler.

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