I’m not a parenting expert by any means, but I do know a thing or two about breaking the pacifier habit. What works for me might not necessarily work for you, but these tips should help you get started on this battle! If you want to try the slow and steady approach, go for it! I think it’s easier (and less painful for all involved in the long run) if you go at it “cold turkey”, but it’s up to each family to do what works for them.
Pro tip: Once you decide to take the pacifier away completely, do not make the mistake of giving in, even once. If you do that, your child will expect you to do it again and again. This will make it ten times harder to complete the process.
1. Cut the tips off of the pacifiers and your child won’t be able to suck on them anymore. Don’t leave them unsupervised with the cut pacifiers — show them that they are cut and tell them they’re “broken”. Time to throw them out.
2. Poke a hole instead of cutting the tips off. When they suck on the pacifier, it won’t be the same sensation and probably won’t be as soothing. They might give it up willingly at this point, or maybe they won’t, but this way should be less “traumatic” than cutting the tips off.
3. Binky Fairies are a less harsh way to get the kids to (hopefully) willingly give their pacifiers up, and receive a trinket in return. You can give them something small like a teddy bear, or go all out like this mom did and transition to a “big girl bike” while getting rid of the pacifier.
I personally like Goodbye Binky, the Binky Fairy Story. It’s a cute book! Make a big deal about giving the pacifier up for the Binky Fairy (or Paci Fairy, or whatever you want to call it). Leave glitter behind so they know the fairy “really” visited.
4. Trade it in. If your child is old enough to understand a simple barter system, set up shop in the kitchen with different toys, trinkets, etc and have them “buy” the fun stuff and “pay” with their pacifiers. Maybe a related book, such as No More Pacifier for Piggy, could be a good trade?
5. Build-A-Bear workshops will let you put a pacifier inside the bear, kind of like they do the little cloth hearts. Take your big boy/big girl to Build-A-Bear, have them pick out a special new friend, and let the magic work!
6. Throw a “going away” party for the pacifiers! If your friends have toddlers around the same age that are getting rid of their pacifiers as well, have them over for a play date. Everyone brings their pacifiers, has some fun snacks, plays games, and ties them to helium balloons at the end of the party. Farewell, binkies!!
Getting rid of the pacifier is a personal decision that each parent has to make at the time that is right for their child. Don’t feel pressured to get rid of it because your friends are, or because a blog post told you to. Get rid of it when it’s time for you and your little one – not everyone else.