Pacifier, binky, dodie or nuk-- that soothing tool for little ones can be a lifesaver for a parent, because once that powerful plug is inserted into the mouth of a fussy baby, it can mean peace and quiet. But when the infant becomes a toddler, it may be time to let go of the pacifier. Change does not come easy, so how can you wean your child from the sweet comfort of a pacifier? Here are ten ways to do it.
1. Go Cold Turkey 🦃
Set a date on the calendar and talk about the upcoming transition as you count down the days with your child. Snuggle up and read a book on the subject with your child, such as Bye-Bye Binky, by Maria van Lieshout. When the big day arrives, pack up the pacifiers and store them... until they can be discreetly trashed.
2. Transition to Something Else 🐻
One way to leave the pacifier behind is to transition to another comfort item, such as a special blanket, doll, stuffed animal or night light.
3. Cut It Off 😱
The design of a pacifier is what makes it so pleasant to suck, so some parents try weaning their child by clipping the end of the plug, making it less satisfying.
4. Call the Binky Fairy 👼
After preparing your child for the binky to go away, let her place her pacifier under the pillow and wait for the binky fairy to replace it with something special.
5. Make it Taste Bad 🍋
In contrast to the sweet services of the binky fairy, you can simply make the pacifier taste sour. Ask your doctor to recommend a safe substance (such as No Bite for nail biters) and brush it on the binky. Some parents say this brings relief from pacifier addiction in minutes.
6. Ignore It 😌
Parent expert and author Brooke McKamy Beebe says, “The surest way to get rid of the pacifier is to ignore it and wait. Everybody outgrows pacifiers.”
7. Sleep Only 💤
Some experts recommend restricting the pacifier to sleep times only, starting at the age of nine months.
8. Restrict It ⏰
Another way to manage the pacifier transition is to start restricting its use to certain times of day, such as nap time, quiet time, or just before bedtime.
9. Tie it to a Balloon 🎈
Some parents cut off a pacifier habit by tying the binky onto a helium balloon, saying goodbye, and letting it go. For some children, watching it go up into the sky could be disturbing, so a little preparation and discernment might help here.
10. Wear It Out 💪
Quit buying replacement pacifiers. When the final pacifier gets lost or wears out, tell your toddler there will be no more. Stand your ground, because many determined parents say this works.
It may be helpful to ask the advice of your child’s pediatrician, and if you feel that it’s time to ditch the pacifier, you can do it! Try one of the tips above or make up one of your own -- because you know your child best.