Getting Rid of the Pacifier: Top 10 Tips From Moms
- February 20, 2013
- by Melissa Lawrence
There’s nothing I love more than when one mom has a question, and lots of other moms share their “been there, done that” experience!
Last week one of my videos on weaning off the pacifier was featured by our friends at Plum Organics, and the Plum community on Facebook really rose to the challenge! So many fab Plum moms headed over to CloudMom to weigh in on the topic of weaning off pacifier use for a toddler. You all had fantastic advice on toddlers and pacifiers that I wanted to share here so it can help more moms dealing with this issue.
Tell us below, what was the toughest thing to wean your baby from — the breast? The bottle? The swaddle? The paci?
How to Wean Off Pacifier: Top 10 Tips from Moms
1. Cut the Tip Off the Nipple: So, so many moms posted about this technique, which I’d never heard of. If you cut off the tip of the paci nipple or poke a small hole in it, your child doesn’t get the same sucking sensation and might just abandon it. “We did this with my daughter over a weekend,” wrote mom Anne. “At first she would take it out, look at it funny, try again and then set it down. By the third night she wasn’t even taking one to bed. No fighting, no crying, no mean mommy. It was fantastic!”
2. Give the Binky Away. Mom Sarah wrote, “We told our oldest that Grandma was having trouble sleeping and that she needed his [pacifier]. …We made a big deal of drawing a picture for Grandma, putting [it] in the envelope and “sending” it to Grandma.”
3. Big Boy/Big Girl Talk. “My son is two and we have been trying to get him off his pacifier. What has been working the best is telling him he’s a big boy now and doesn’t need it any more, when he asks for it and then distracting him with something else,” wrote Tam.
4. The Binky Fairy: “Tell them you are going to leave them at night for the paci fairy to take to all the little babies who need them,” wrote LeeAnna. “Before they wake up, replace it with a toy of some kind and say look what the fairy left you!” Moms also said they found success by telling their toddlers that Santa or the Tooth Fairy were going to take the pacis to little babies. Maybe some of you can use this idea with the Easter Bunny!
5. An Imaginary Creature Took the Binky. “My son’s hand puppet ‘ate’ the pacifiers,” mom Amy shared, “I would just remind him the puppet ate them if he asked for them and he seemed satisfied with that answer.” Another mom told her son “that his stuffed animals were having a hard time sleeping and needed a paci. …This totally worked for potty training too… He was too big for diapers and wanted to put the diapers on the stuffed animals too! It just gave him a visual explanation for why he didn’t need them anymore!”
6. Use the Binky to Buy Something New. One mom took her child to the store to buy something special, in exchange for her paci. “She put the pacifier on the counter and the cashiers were really great with her,” wrote Mary. “Gave her stickers and cheers! The whole store was looking. She never looked back. I think the trick is to find out what will work with your child and not stress over it.”
7. Go Cold Turkey. Carrie on Facebook said, “I pulled my twin boys binkies cold turkey at 2 years, 2 months. The dentist said it had to happen soon! It was two tough weeks of sleeping and naps, but am so happy they are gone!”
8. Take Advantage of a Cold. A few moms said they took advantage of an opportunity presented when their little ones were sick. “I just threw our son’s pacifiers away when he was 17 months. He was sick and couldn’t breathe out of his nose so using a pacifier wasn’t working for him because he had to use his mouth to breathe,” wrote Samantha on Facebook.
9. Bye Bye Binky Balloon. “We made a big deal about going out in the back yard and tying the paci to a balloon and watching it fly off to “a little girl who needed it,” wrote mom Sarah. “Then, had [my daughter] go to the front porch where “the little girl” had left her a baby doll (also tied to a balloon) as a thank you for sending the paci. It made such an impression that she still talks about it a year later and she never asked for that pacifier again!”
10. Consider Yourself Lucky. Okay, this one isn’t a tip, but many moms of thumb-suckers said they wished they could take their kids’ thumbs away! I completely relate to this because my kids are all thumb and finger suckers and it’s been a tough habit to break and very bad for their teeth. Maybe that will be the subject of another video!
The paci can be a really tough habit to break. For those of you trying to wean from the paci, hope these ideas are helpful! And we want to know, what was the toughest thing to wean YOUR baby from? The paci? The breast or bottle? The swaddle?
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I had a hard time weaning my daughter from the breast, we ended up doing the don’t offer, don’t refuse, which eventually worked. A trip away from home and she was out of her comfort zone (the bed she usually nursed in) and then she chose not to nurse and that was the last time!
We are struggling with weaning the paci. Our 21 month old does OK without it while at home during awake time, but if we are in the car, out and about or it is nap/bed time, it is an all out melt down if she doesn’t have it.
My biggest concern is that when she is getting sleepy if she doesn’t have the paci, she starts putting her fingers in her mouth. I don’t want my ‘paci girl’ to become a finger sucker. So for now, we are still giving in at these times of day. I plan to talk to her Dr. about it at her 2 year appt, but think I will definitely try a couple of these ideas above. Thanks!
I have finger and thumb suckers and I agree it has been really tough! Good luck…thanks for commenting!
I think for us it will be the bottle – she isn’t interested in other forms of drinking
How old is your daughter? My little girl self-weaned from the breast at 15 months and has always been fine drinking from a sippy (check out Melissa’s video on weaning from the bottle…she has great tips! https://cloudmom.com/bye-bye-bottle-how-to-wean-baby-to-a-cup/). The bedtime bottle has been tough to wean her from…finally making it happen now and she’s 21 months old.
My son was a huge bottle drinker. He rarely at food because of the amount he drank. We weaned him at 18months by clipping a couple extra holes in the nipples and it actually worked. I did this on a Monday and he stopped asking for the bottle by Friday. It took him about 3 months to drink milk again but I offered the sippy cup everyday and it finally worked. Good luck! It’s probably harder for you than your baby:)
I dreaded the moment when I had to wean my boy from the swaddle. We started with unswaddling him during nap time, then w/ one arm out at night, then both arms out, then we moved on to the sleepsack. He transitioned fairly well, thank goodness!
Weaning from the swaddle was so hard for us…my daughter started to roll and we had to do it basically cold-turkey right around the same time I went back to work. It was a brutal few weeks!
Our son likes to suck on our fingers and we’re having trouble getting him to stop. I wish he would take a pacifier!
Renee, I’m right there with you. All 5 of my kids suck their fingers or thumbs and this has actually caused some dental problems for us. I wish I had advice for you on this…hopefully some other moms will!
These are all for children who are old enough to grasp the concept of a sucky going somewhere. None of these will work for kids under 12 months, except for #8. My 11 month old is not going to understand what a ‘Binky Fairy’ is.
Good point, Wendy. The original question from a mom was about weaning a toddler…a 17-month-old. But maybe some of the mamas here have tips for younger babies too. I would say trying to get baby to attach to a lovey might work, or gradually weaning first at naptime or in the car or stroller before tackling nights. During the day distraction has always worked for me when weaning from the breast. Good luck and let us know what works!
The pacifier has been, by far, the hardest habit to break! When my oldest son was 2.5 (and after we had spent months trying everything to break the paci habit) we went on vacation and told him we forgot it at home. It was rough the first night, but after our week vacation he never asked for it again!
Now we are facing this with our 2.5 year old who seems to be even more attached to it than our first child was. I have never heard of cutting the tip of the nipple off, but I will be trying this TODAY! Crossing my fingers that it works!
Thanks for all the tips!
I haven’t had to wean from the breast or paci yet, but we weaned from the bottle and it wasn’t really that tough. I just replaced it with a sippy cup when he was around 6-7 months. I think the trick is to wean from those things earlier rather than later because toddlers are so resistant to change.
Yes I agree…. Younger is better my son who is now four was bottle broke at 6 and a half months all I did was offer a sippy he never skipped a beat and with the binky he didn’t care for it much except at night so the night of his first bday I took them all out of his bed and he again never asked cried or anything….. My baby girl is 7 months and tomorrow will be a week since she had a bottle just have her formula in the sippy and she was fine…. She takes the binky a little more then just at night but ill do same thing on her first bday I just hope She don’t resort to thumb or finger sucking I sucked my thumb when I was little it caused dental issues and is pretty much just gross….. Good luck to all mommies trying to break there babies from whatever it is!!!
My son weaned himself from the breast at 19 months. My goal was at least 2 years, then beyond that as he wanted to, but I didn’t meet that goal. He started to lose interest in nursing during the day on weekends at 14 or 15 months (so my supply took a hit, even though at work I kept pumping to try to keep it going). I would offer, he would shake his head no, so I didn’t force it. Then, he started refusing at night at like 16 or 17 months, only nursing in the morning, so my supply took another hit.
To compound the problem, I work and travel a lot, and pumping for several days on end while away while all of this was going on was the death knell for my supply. I was barely producing anything, so he start loosing interest in nursing mornings either, and that was it! It was sad, but because it happened so gradually, and on his terms, I didn’t get the huge hormone drop people get when they stop cold turkey, and I didn’t feel guilty for not making it to two (well, maybe a little guilt because my job affected nursing to some extent, but it passed quickly!). He’s a big strong healthy boy… completely addicted to his “bink,” which will have to go soon!
Nursing for 19 months is amazing — you should be so proud of yourself!
My little one wouldn’t take a paci no matter what brands I offered. She preferred her thumb. She is just 10 months so I haven’t tried to discourage it yet. She doesn’t do it excessively so I am really hoping she will self-wean. I did wean her from swaddling at 6 weeks. We just went cold turkey and it really wasn’t bad.
Our biggest problem was having our daughter switch from bottles to sippy cups, we got ride of all the bottles and then she had no choice but to accept sippy cups.
Thanks for the tips. My son is 17 months today and I am going to try #1 this weekend.
My son is 18 months and i haven’t started weaning the binki yet, but i am sure it will be hard. My daughter who is now 4 was very hard to wean of the breast and when we finally got there she was about 22 Months. I have always felt that when the time is right these things will happen.
I think the hardest thing for us was music at bedtime. she always had it for 20 minutes at the beginning of naptime and bedtime. so to wean her off of it, we adjusted the time down in increments of 5. by 18 months, she was in a toddler bed and no more music to go to sleep!!
My daughter would never take a paci or the bottle, so weaning from the breast was hardest for us-especially for naps and first thing in the morning! We just cut out one feeding at a time and it worked pretty well. The morning feeding was last and toughest, but I think that was more me not wanting to get up more than her needing it 🙂
The paci for sure! We are going through it right now with our 2 1/2 year old toddler. He misplaced it, we couldn’t find it so we are going cold turkey over here. Day 3 and this mama is tired. Weaning from the breast at 26 months was a piece of cake. My busy boy just decided he’d rather play than nurse! I seriously thought the breast was going to be an issue. Boy, was I wrong!
My son is two and still hooked on his pacifier or as he calls it, his “na”. I bought two new packs of pacis less than a week ago and he has bitten a hole in every single one! He could careless that they have holes, he STILL sucks them!! I’ve tried taking them away and he just becomes soo devastated!!
Melissa, I think you are going to have to start phasing them out or go cold turkey at some point… keep us posted! xo M
We had some trouble weaning our son off the pacifier. We went cold turkey with him, and he fussed some for a few days but has been binky-free ever since. But our new baby (4 months old) doesn’t like pacifiers much and prefers her fingers. I would love some advice on keeping her fingers out of her mouth so it doesn’t become a habit. I have tried both the round binkies and flatter binkies and neither of them are very popular with her. She likes to suck on her bib sometimes. Anyone know of any product made of terrycloth that’s specifically designed for babies to suck on?
R. K. Williams
Co-sleeping. Our lil guy loves night time with Mom & Dad, but sometimes we need to sleep without being roundhouse-kicked in the thorax or just some private time together. We compromise by only having him in the bassinet until his first night feeding and bringing him to bed or vice versa. This gives us the opportunity to just gradually adjust the ratio until he doesn’t “need” Mommy n Daddy’s bed constantly.
Mine is 12 months and big thumb sucker. Any tips for that?
I have a 2.5 year old and he only gets it in bed or if we are on a long road trip. I am starting to work from home next week and plan to try the cutting the tips off or holes! Wish me luck!