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Breaking Your Child from the Pacifier Habit

Updated on March 25, 2013
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The Dreaded Binky

The decision to give your small infant a pacifier is not a bad parental decision. All newborns and infants have a natural desire to suck. Sucking is the only action in life that a young infant has control over; it is the only way a baby knows how to soothe and calm it's distress. The pacifier allows the child to soothe oneself without overfeeding (either from the breast or through a bottle).

The issue of the pacifier is not the question of whether or not to give your child a pacifier, but the fact that taking the pacifier causes a dilemma within the family. Breaking a young child of a dependency on the pacifier can be very difficult, stressful and time consuming (or one may discover is to be more easily achieved than once perceived).

When to Take the Binky

The answer to the question of when to begin to wean a child from the love and support of the pacifier is very vague and unclear. There are many different answers, options, tips, and advice on this topic but the ultimate decision is made the parents (and/or family) of a child. The family will have to endure fits of crying, screaming, kicking, and even head banging.

Most advise to take the pacifier from a child around the age of two, by this time they have lost the initial need to suck for about a year, and they are beginning to grow emotional attachments on other things and learning different soothing techniques instead of using the pacifier.

It is also advised that a parent break the child of a pacifier habit before the age of four. This is the time where a pacifier will start negatively impacting the child's teeth and speech.

There are many different techniques a parent could adapt to (use) to take the pacifier from the grip of the young child within the household.

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Reasons to Take the Binky

There are many reasons that should concern parents enough to whether the tantrum storm of taking away a child's pacifier.

  1. Sucking on a pacifier all day will limit your child speech, ultimately affecting the development of his/her language skills and speech.

  2. Your child will not be able to learn proper and healthy coping mechanisms for his/her emotions.

  3. Sucking on a pacifier could also affect how ones teeth grow in, possibly making braces necessary later on in life (to correct the damage caused by a pacifier).

Real Life Stories on Taking Away the Pacifier

  • “Take all of them but one. Then tell her big girls don't use pacifiers. If she is in a big girl bed already explain to her that she is a 'big girl' who sleeps in a 'big girl' bed and drinks from a 'big girl' cup. Start out with only letting her have it at nap and bed time. Then after a week tell her big girls can't have a paci at nap. Allow the paci at night time for one week, then take it at night and tell her that she is all done with paci's. It is best to replace the paci with something else. Maybe go pick out a special stuffed animal or blanket together. While you pick it out tell her what it's for and that soon her paci will go bye bye. By letting her be part of picking out the replacement attachment she will feel like a big girl. When taking anything from a child that young it is best to have something to replace it with and help her be part of the process. As for the stash, when she finds one remind her that paci's are for babies and that she is a big girl. Thank her for giving it to you. Then find her replacement animal and hand it to her for a trade.” -peeples

  • “I thought I'd never get my son to give up his pacifier. This is how I did it and I'm still laughing today about it. One day my son and I were in the car and as all children do, he fell asleep. Once asleep I noticed his pacifier fell out and was just laying on his chest. At the next red light, I reached back and grabbed his pacifier (putting it in my purse in case of an emergency). When he woke up he asked for his 'bubby' (that's what he called it). I told him that when it fell out of his mouth while he was sleeping it flew out of the window and a truck ran it over. He seemed to shrug it off and never asked for it again. LOL.” -Sarra Garrett

  • “I just told my daughter that they her dummies were old and yucky and that they needed to go into the rubbish bin. I made a game of it by allowing her to throw them into the bin. She thought it was so much fun that she went around the house looking for dummies to throw away. She did ask for her dummies for a little while afterwards but I just reminded her that they were in the bin because they were dirty and old. She just accepted it and quickly forgot them. I don't know how well it would work for your daughter so just have a spare stash to give her just in case it doesn't go down too well once the novelty of throwing her dummy in the big rubbish bin wears off.” -sleepylog

  • “Take it away....I hid my sons from him and it took about a week or 2 for him to actually forget about it.” -Mac31

  • “Get rid all of them without letting her know. However, reserve one and poke some holes into it. Tell her the the rat came to bite the pacifier and it is dirty, bacteria, if she sucks it she will get tummy ache. Let her throw it away in the bin. She may ask for another pacifier when she goes to sleep, pat her to sleep and give some hugs and kisses. She will gradually get use to it. That's how i did to my 3 year old kid.” -peachpurple

  • “I am a mother of two. My goal was to free both of my children of the "binky" demon by their first birthday. My oldest was content with the binky disappearing. My youngest was not so easy. We had a battle for the binky until he was 18 months. A friend of mine told me to let him have it and then every week cut a slice off the top of it. The first week, I don't think he noticed it too much. By the second week, he was a bit fussy that he had to suck extra hard so it wouldn't fall out of his mouth. But by the third week, he was so irritated that he could no longer keep it in his mouth without holding it, he got annoyed and threw it out himself. I hope this works for you and your daughter. Good luck!” -Bionic Jawn

  • "Just make the pacifier taste bitter." -filipinofoods
  • “I rounded them all up from around the house, and stashed them on top of the refrigerator (a place where she can't see them). The first day I gave it to her at nap and at bedtime only, and after she woke up I took it back, and placed it back on top of the fridge. The next day I only gave it to her at bedtime. The next day, I snipped the nipple off of one of the pacifiers and when she went to bed I gave it to her, when she went to put it in her mouth and the sucky wasn't there, she threw it out of her crib and looked at me funny, I told her, "what happened? did you get to old for it and the sucky part disappeared?" she shook her head yes and lied down, fussed for awhile but eventually fell asleep. I haven't given her a pacifier since (and she hasn't found any lying around).” -Jami Johnson (JamiJay)

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After the Tantrum Storm

After the pacifier has been taken from a child, there are many benefits and positive behaviors that are quickly adapted and recognizable.

  1. Once the pacifier is taken, a child will begin to talk more and better develop speech and communication.

  2. Once the pacifier is taken a child will begin to learn how to sooth and control ones emotions in a healthier manner.

  3. Once a pacifier is taken a child will begin to put more effort into personal social skills (when one no longer relies on a pacifier for comfort, one will begin to search for comfort elsewhere, usually in other people).

A Special Thanks

A special thanks goes out to the seven people who told me their personal stories and inspired this hub.

peeples, Sarra Garrett, sleepylog, Mac31, peachpurple, Bionic Jawn, filipinofoods

Thank you so much guys, you're awesome!

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    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 4 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      Wonderful tips. I break my kid's pacifier habbit when he was 3.5 years old. It was quick and short. Luckily everything went well. Voted up

    • That Grrl profile image

      Laura Brown 4 years ago from Barrie, Ontario, Canada

      I raised my nephew during his early years. When it came to the pacifier it was simple because I had never relied on it very much. If he got fussy I just distracted him. He was a pretty easy going baby. My younger sisters were tougher when it came time to let go. One of them was a thumb sucker for awhile after. But, we did it cold turkey with them. Sometimes you just have to tolerate kid's bawling in order to let them get past the change. It did help to do things with them to take their mind off it. Luckily they weren't trained to have it at bedtime so that wasn't an issue, just during the day. My sister did give pacifiers to her children, all day and bedtime too. She had a lot more trouble getting rid of them. When I looked after her kids I put the pacifiers in the dishwasher - the kids couldn't find them and the things got washed.

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