Pacifiers & Preschoolers
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Pacifiers & Preschoolers
My daughter is 4 months shy of turning 3 and recently became more
attached than ever to her pacifier. She's simultaneously expressing
some distress about becoming a little girl (i.e., the other day she
said, ''Sometimes I like being a little girl, but mostly I like being
your baby. I don't know why.'')
She sleeps 12 hours a night without a peep, and part of her sleep
success is because she puts herself back to sleep with her pacifier at
night. If we go cold turkey when we take the pacifier away, I feel
like we'd have to let her cry it out. I also anticipate a lot of
tantrums when we don't let her have it during the day.
Also, she really has no other transitional object and we do a lot of
Can anyone offer me advice on this one? I'm terrified of the day we
take that binky away from her!
We had a binky loving boy. The best advice I got was to
get rid of it all at once. Her doctor had told her that
the binky was more important to the parents then to the
child. Kids are SO adaptable.
We used the binky fairy. Child gives binkies to all the
babies in the world, leaves them out in a basket and the
binky fairy takes them to other babies and leaves a
present. We even had a niece be the binky fairy in the
shadow of night.
We prepped him and found out what he'd like. The present
can be a comfort toy or whatever she'd like.
She may have a few restless nights, but the goal is for
her to learn to sleep without the binky eventually right?
I'm sure she'll adapt and you may help her a bit in those
first few nights, but she can do it.
I wish we had gotten rid of them earlier because they
became more of a hassle...make sure we have a few binkies
on a trip, what if they get lost, we were facilitating it
more often then not.
good luck whatever you do, but know that it's not as big a
deal as you may think to her.
My daughter will be 3 in January. Last April when her dentist found out that
she still used a pacifier, he told me that I had to get her to stop before it
started damaging her teeth. I panicked because she loved her paci, but I
knew he was right and that it had to stop sometime. The longer she used
them the harder it would be.
I picked a deadline. I chose the last day of school before summer break. For
the three weeks before we talked about it a lot. We talked about how we
loved the paci, but we won't be able to use it anymore after the last day of
school because it was hurting her teeth. A few times a day I would say
something like, ''Do you remember what the last day of school is? It's the last
day of the paci too!'' When the day arrived we had a picnic dinner on the
floor in the family room to celebrate the paci. We talked about the paci a lot.
At the end of dinner I got a box and we went on a paci search. She put all of
the paci's in the box herself. (I did a big search on my own before. They
were stashed everywhere.) When she went to bed, I took the box, threw away
the paci's and put a Cinderella dress with tiara and jewelry in the box for her
to find when she woke up. That first night she needed a bit more comforting
at bedtime. After that she would ask for a paci and I told her that we don't
have them anymore. Then she asked to wear the dress. She wore the
Cinderella dress over her pajamas to bed for about 3 weeks. Then she was
fine. She still wears the dress to bed sometimes. It went better than I
Good luck! Email me if you have any questions.
Please, please throw out those pacifiers today and bite the
bullet and let her scream. She will get over it.
My niece is 2.5 yrs old and is a full-time pacifier user.
At Thanksgiving dinner, she was trying to sing Old
MacDonald but couldnt articulate anything so it sounded
like mumbling. Her verbal skills are poor and her
pronunciation stinks and her parents boast of reading
her ''1000 books by age 2''. Who cares when she is almost
By avoiding tantrums and cry it out, you are doing a great
disservice to your child. Pacifier kids babble less, and
the pacifier interferes with speech development. Its not
too late, just do it.
Our almost 3-year old was addicted to his binky. Shortly
before his 3rd birthday we started telling him about the
binky fairy who would come and take his binkies and give
them to new babies who needed them and would leave him a
present in their place. It was a disaster. He had
nightmares about the binky fairy, hid binkies, cried at the
thought of losing them.
So we completely backed off. But even after a year, he was
still sad at the thought of losing them. He was down to
just 1, which he used mostly at night (all we allowed at
that point), and once in a rage he threw it somewhere and
we couldn't find it for a few days (really). So he had to
live without it and by the time we found it, he was mostly
over having one so we didn't give it back.
We checked with his dentist and doctor and both thought it
was okay for him to have one, so we didn't push it.
We started with saying he couldn't use it outside, then
only in his bed (though he could lie down and use it
whenever he wanted).
Where's the problem? Does having the pacifier bug you? If
not, let her keep it. She won't use it forever. It seems
to me you have your answer: she uses it to go to sleep, she
finds comfort in it, so why take it away?
Our second child, my three year old son, loves his pacifier.
I don't like him using it all day, because I can't
understand what he's saying, and he ends up with a huge wet
spot on his neckline of his t-shirt. Here's what I do:
if I see it laying around, I casually pick it up and put in
on something - top of the piano, top of the fridge, kitchen
counter. If it is out of sight, then he forgets about it.
Sometimes he asks for it, and I let him have it for one
minute, then I take it away. When he does ask for it,
though, it's a pretty good indication that he is tired.
At times I get really irritated that he uses it, but then I
ask myself why? He uses it, not me. It's not hurting
anyone. Many people have opinions, of course, and tell me
that he is too old for it, but really, who cares? He'll
stop when he's ready. There are so many things to worry
about; why add to the list?
I don't see why she has to give up the pacifier in the day or night. What does it
matter? She'll give it up herself eventually -- it's not like she's going to head to
Kindergarten with her binky. My three and a half year-old daughter still uses
her pacifier intermittently throughout the day and on most nights. She goes to
preschool without it and doesn't miss it there. My older son used his until he
was over four, I forget exactly when. He's fine, his teeth are fine, etc.
I don't see why it matters
Probably, your daughter is going through a developmental
phase, this frequently causes regression as a child is
trying to master a new skill (cognitive, emotional or
physical). Because it is a phase, it will pass!
However, I would like to as you why you would feel the need
to take the binky away anyway? Are you afraid she's still
going to be wearing it around her neck as she walks down the
hall in high-school? Trust me, she won't. Your daughter will
eventually give up the binky all on her own, with no drama
or trauma, probably sooner rather than later. In the
meantime, it is causing no one any harm for her to have it,
so why make it an issue if it doesn't have to be?
Pick Your Battles.
We let our little one use a pacifier. She loves it and doesn't have any other lovey.
We have tried transitioning her to another lovey with all the methods out there--
swapping it at more and more sleep/comfort times, etc with a blanky/stuffie, hyping
up and trying out the ''binky fairy'', gradual, but strict just not letting her have
so on. But no go, she just loves that binky. Something stressful would happen and
I would let her have it back (she has been weaned from it 3 times). I have spent
hours on the internet trying to find out why it is so bad for her to just keep the
pacifier until she gives it up on her own. The absolute worst thing I can find is
she will need braces (since both her parents had braces, this is probably inevitable
anyway). So the problem is the expense of braces, as far as I can see. Many people,
even complete strangers have incredibly negative reactions to the binky. Is there
some scary reason I'm missing? Has anyone out there just let their kid use the
pacifier and regretted it? Have misaligned teeth from using a pacifier severely
impacted your child's life? I have spoke to many parents who have regretted taking
it away, but no one has ever told me or written on a website that they wish they had
got rid of it. She has no speech problems and is very articulate for her age. Please
be aware that I have no qualms taking it away and keeping it away-despite the
history of giving it back to her in the past may make it seem-if there is real harm
being done. I just can't find a real reason. I personally don't have a problem with
her having it. It makes her happy and doesn't seem to be causing any harm. Is this
a problem in the long term?
How long term are we talking here? I really think that 3 is too
old and I would also have a very negative reaction if I saw a 4
year old with a binkie. I think you are confusing your child by
weaning her off it and then giving it to her when ''something
stressful happens''. What is happening? What child would not be
soothed by having her mom just hold her? You will have to find
other ways to calm her down, yes. As for the consequences, I
think it must impede speaking if it's in her mouth a lot.
While you are correct, the biggest physical problem is braces
this is not a small one. You are only considering the cost but
it can be painful from time to time. So what are you going to
do when she has braces and it hurts and she doesn't want to get
them tightened? you can't protect her against everything and
this is causing her physical harm...becuase it's damaging her
teeth. My friend just went through this with her daughter. at
2, her teeth had already shifted. the dentist said if she
stopped using it they can go back. So she went home, explained
t to her and took it away. She asked for it all night long.
Interestingly enough she did not cry at all, she was pissed off
and wanted it. because that's what she is used to. At the end
of that night she NEVER asked for it again. And when she sees
one she points at it and smiles.
There are going to be MANY more instances in life when things
like this happen...you might want to prepare her and you for it!
Well, my daughter cannot bite well with her front teeth because
they won't meet -- the top teeth are pushed forward from the
pacifier. She gave up her pacifier (by our enforcement) a few
months ago (she's four) and she won't be able to bite an apple
until she gets her adult teeth. I would hate this to happen with
her adult teeth. Braces are not only expensive but are painful
to the kid, involve MANY appoitnments at the orthodontist, and
are sometimes socially/body image-wise painful as well. When I
compare that discomfort with what my daughter went through (and
occasionally still goes through when she misses her binky),
giving it up now wins out, even if it only reduces the time in
braces. However, I can understand your thinking, which is
similar to mine about giving up a bottle...
Ah, yes, the binky wars. My son also had a binky as his only
attachment object until he was over 4 years old. But by around
age 3 we had restricted its use to sleeping only, and for the
last year, we even plucked it out of his mouth once he was
asleep. His teeth ARE misaligned, confirmed by the dentist, so
damage was already done by the time we started restricting
binky hours. However, the dentist was on board with the 1 hour
a day we got him down to.
I have to admit, I don't like the look of older children with
binkies, either, even though I had one. I was at a wedding this
weekend and there was a 5 year old in attendance (even though
children were expressly not invited and we had secured a sitter
for ours.) This kid had a dirty face, messy hair, was
inappropriately dressed in a character t shirt and sweatpants,
and was sucking on a binky the whole time he wasn't screaming
during the ceremony or otherwise wildly misbehaving. This just
kind of goes along with the stereotype regarding binky use - of
parents way too lax with their kids. It's the first thing even
I think when I see it. And yes, I had one! Although he never
walked around with it in public.
For what it's worth, my son gave up his binky in a flash this
year when he wanted a Transformer toy. I suggested a trade and
he agreed. He was just ready. Never asked about it again.
My kids, now 4 & 5, both used a pacifier until they were four. We
limited use to naps and night sleeping only between 1&2 years,
and for comfort at Dr. visits, airplane rides, long car rides
(when we wanted them to sleep), etc. We started trying to limit
use of the pacifiers to night time sleep only with more success
with the older child. We'd usually take the pacifier out when
they were asleep, but it was nearby if they woke up and wanted
it, although usually they'd be out for the night. At some point
with the oldest we said when you are four you will have to say
goodbye to the pacifier. We told both our kids this and even
said, you can give it up any time, but when you turn four, it
will be then end. Since they had heard about the end for months,
when they turned four, both kids amazingly gave up the pacifier.
We had asked our pediatricians and dentists about tooth damage
from using the pacifier, and not one of them told us the
pacifiers would damage their teeth. They also told us that the
pacifiers are absolutely better than thumb/finger sucking when it
came to teeth. Our kids are also big water drinkers, rarely have
juice, and they have excellent teeth. Good luck.
My older daughter (now 5) was also IN LOVE with her pacifier (we
called it a passer). I mean truly attached. I feel like I
missed my window to get her to give it up easily around 2, so at
over 4 she still had it (for sleeping mostly). Her dentist
insisted that he could see changes in her bite as a result, but I
wasn't totally convinced. Still, we did finally get rid of it
when she was about 4 and 1/2. HOWEVER, she almost immediately
started sucking her thumb, which I predicted she would do.
Basically she is a kid who has a lot of oral needs (she actually
will still put many things in her mouth, absent mindedly, straws,
paper, her blankie, her sleeves, etc), and quite frankly I have
to agree with you. I really don't think there are too many
downsides to letting your kid have the pacifier for as long as
they want - I mean, MAYBE the teeth thing (my daughter's dentist
doesn't know about the thumb sucking and he goes on and on about
how her bite is improving, so who knows), but since you are not
that concerned about that, I'd say let your kid soothe him (her?)
self as long as he/she is able. I'll be curious to see what
others post, but I would definitely support you. I am glad we
got rid of the pacifier mostly b/c it was disgusting (got dirty,
hair wrapped around the nipple, got lost, etc.) and a piece of
rubber. But I don't care at all about the thumb/blankie, I
figure she'll give it up when she's ready.
The big deal I'm aware of is the phathalates in the pacifier.
Phathalates are used to soften plastic.
In response to one post - most (though not all) pacifiers are
either latex or silicon, which contain no phthalates. See
Don't believe the hype. The idea that pacifiers cause a child to need
braces is not
supported. (Thumbsucking yes, but pacifiers no). My daughter was an
pacifier addict (even though she also had other loveys) until she was 6!
She is now 8
and the orthodontist said she doesn't need braces. (My husband had them
as a child
but I didn't.) The worst effect is not on your child's teeth or other
health but the
judgement of others. We weaned her off them at age 3 but the other
were so severe (chewing clothing, sucking thumb, etc.) that we gave it
with my 4 year old ''lolly addict'' we just try to limit her use of it
in public and keep it
just for bedtime. (She doesn't use it at preschool, only with us.)
However, even in
public people will prefer a quiet child with a pacifier to a screaming
one. I think
some kids just have stronger oral needs than others. Don't stress about
--people can be so judgemental
My 3 year old stays with my in-laws 2 days per week. It works really well for us, but
now that he turned 3 two months ago, the grandparents want his pacifier to be
gone. I feel like when he is at their house, they are in charge and can do what they
feel is right. The problem is that they say what I feel are mean things about his
pacifier, such as, ''You don't need that--that's for babies, babies can't have treats,
only big boys who don't use pacifiers'' and ''Other kids will make fun of you'', and
''You don't need that stupid thing''. They don't take the pacifier away when they say
this, but say negative things if he uses it. Now he says he doesn't like grandma
because she won't let him have his pacifier when he asks for it at naptime. I ask him
if he wants to leave it at home when he goes there and sometimes he does. I have
decided he can take more time to give it up when he wants to, and I told the
grandparents this. When I asked my husband to talk to them with me he said, ''Just
do what you want about it'', so no support from that side. I have told them if they
don't want him to have it, just take it and don't let him have it at all, but to please
not let him have it and comment about it. This has been going on for 2 months or
so without any change. Does anyone have experience or advice how to handle this?
I do not think your in laws have any right to bully, belittle and
shame your son. I think you should talk again to your husband
about your strong feelings about this and hopefully he'll fight
the battle (as he should). If he continues to refuse, you need
to tell them to stop (again). If it continues, stop leaving him
with them. He's your child, you need to protect him.
Mother to another paci addict
It *does* sound like an ideal situation to have your kid with the
in-laws two days a week. I'll bet it really takes the pressure
off you and your husband. But this is seriously not cool.
You don't say why or how the kid stays there. Is it necessary for
you guys to go to work, or is it just to take the pressure off
you? If the answer is the latter, would you consider playing a
little game of chicken with your in-laws? I'd tell them ya know,
the pacifier thing is really making the kid unhappy, and making
YOU unhappy because you're the parent after all, so maybe the
two-day-a-week thing has outrun its course.
The hope is that this will make them upset and convince them to
stop acting this way so they can have the kid for those two days
again. Of course, they might say ''Oh, great!'' and then you've
lost this great arrangement, so I don't know if it's worth the
risk to you.
But man, would this make me mad. I can totally affirm your
feelings about it. I've got a bit of a temper so I'd probably
have ruined the whole deal by now if I were you! They've got some
dang nerve IMO!
your in-laws are lucky you're so patient
Well I agree with your parents that 3 is too old for the
pacifier. But it is mean to say demeaning things to him. It would
seriously be better if they just took it away. I think you should
institute a no paci at granny's rule. Limiting it to your house
at nap time would be a good first step to getting rid of it for good.
I'm looking for advice on how to get rid of my 3.3 year old's pacifier. She uses it
taking a nap and sleeping at night. She also has it in the car. And, now that she is
she sometimes finds it during the day when she is at home. We are going through a
major transition this summer (moving countries) We'll be on the east coast this
summer for about 2 months visiting family before moving overseas. I was thinking of
leaving the pacifier in Berkeley and with the support of family doing it this
Looking for feedback around how you did it, ie, rituals, ceremony, whatever! Please
help. I don't want to schlepp these things around any more!
My niece was a pacifier junky, it was actually a little scarey to be honest. She
start shaking when she saw them. Anyhow, when she was almost four my sister and
her family went to Mexico for the winter. My sister told my niece that she had
pacifiers left and if she lost then that was it, they couldn't buy anymore. She
within the first couple of weeks. She would get a little upset at bedtime, but it
lasted for a few days. Then my sister actually found the pacifiers, but my niece
stopped asking for them, so she never gave them to her again. I think the total
of routine helped her to not notice their absence. good luck.
Our kid had the lungs of the century - couldn't be LOUDER if we
couldn't find the pacifier. So, I thought - yeah, sure, this
transition to no pacifier is going to be HELL. Nonetheless, we
prepared him that ''when these are gone/lost, there will be no
more, honey. The doctor says its not good for you anymore
(true, teeth...)''. But, of course, my head and MY emotional
balance was dreading it terribly. I still remember the night -
we couldn't find ''old blue-y''. He was so prepared that after a
brief, home-rolling scream that he just went to sleep. still
seems hard to believe. No rituals...just Lots of reminders
ahead of time, lots, lots. And empathy during the missing of
it (''I know...good old bluey...darn...'') but not giving it.
May the force be with you :)
A few months before my daughter turned three, I told her that when she was three
there would be no more binky. (At that point she used it for naps and bedtime and
occasionally to calm herself during a tantrum.) We talked about the binky going
away almost every day. When her birthday got closer, I told her the binky fairy
would come when she turned three, and take away all of binkys and give them to a
new baby that needed them. When the day arrived, I left a window in her room open
and then told her that the binky fairy may have come by. We went to her room and
she found a small present on her pillow from the fairy, and all the binkys were
She missed the binkys for a couple of days, and then stopped talking about them
altogether. We have a one year-old who also loves the binky, and the three year-
old never takes it from her, she seems to understand that binkys are for babies, not
big three year-olds. As an aside, when we were trying to get her to give up her
bedtime bottle, we told her that when we went on vacation to visit grandma, there
wouldn't be any bottles at bedtime. After a two-week vacation, she had forgotten
all about the bedtime bottles, so using a transition can also be effective. My
nephews were big binky lovers, and they both had little ceremonies to get rid of the
binkys, whatever works. Good luck!
Mom of binky lovers
I had a similar problem with my son and his ''bottle''. This
sounds too simple, but it worked! I told him that he was a big
boy now and big boys drink out of cups, ''Let's throw away these
bottles''. We pulled out the trash can and threw them all in,
said ''Bye-bye'' and he started drinking out of cups! No kidding!
I can tell you what worked great for us:
When our daughter was approaching 3 yrs old, we started talking
about the ''Pacifier Fairy'' --similar to the Tooth Fairy,
the ''Paci Fairy'' comes when little girls or boys are 3, collects
all of her bottles,pacies, nipples etc, that have been collected
the night before and left by the child's bed. In exchange, the
PF leaves a big stuffy. ''Kiah'', the big brown bear our daughter
found in her bed the next morning has given her comfort ever
since. We, and she, never looked back.
I do recall just throwing them out one day. No ceremonies...
I have some advice about getting rid of the pacifier, but before that I would ask
important it is for you to get rid of it now? Are you ready for her to give up her
naps? That's what our 3.3 year old did when the ''Lolly Fairy'' came to take the
and give them to new babies. And even though we ended up giving her pacifier back
to her a month later, she never went back to napping, which I thought she still
needed. She also started other troubling behaviors like sucking on her shirt, and
sometimes sucking her thumb, and had difficulty getting to sleep for a while.
Especially since you are going through a major transition, it seems cruel to take
away one of her main coping/self-soothing tools. Has a dentist said that it is
harming her teeth? Even if so, a pacifier is probably better than sucking her thumb,
which she may take up as compensation. Anyway, if you are determined that she
needs to give it up, I do recommend the Lolly Fairy (or Binky Fairy or whatever you
call it). She is like the Tooth Fairy, and she comes when the child is no longer a
but is a ''Big Girl'' (or Boy) and no longer needs the pacifier. In its place she
Big Girl things (toys, gum, etc.) Our daughter got very excited about the Lolly
and swore she was ready, even though it turned out she wasn't. I would also start by
strictly adhering to the ''only for sleeping'' rule, i.e. not in the car or walking
and see how that goes.
--my 3 year old still needs her pacifier
I LOVE the book ''The Last Noo Noo''! It's a beautifully
illustrated, engaging, and really fun book about a little
monster who finally decides to give up his pacifier (but he
plants one in the ground so a noo noo tree will grow).
My son's almost seven and he STILL likes to re-read the book
and still giggles while doing so (even though his pacifier is
very ancient history now).
Our son, almost 3.5, is still
using a pacifier for sleeping (naps and nighttime). When he
visited the dentist just after his 3rd birthday, the dentist
said he really had to stop using it, as it is affecting his
teeth and jaw. We still haven't managed to help him to do that,
and I'm looking for ideas or suggestions. I read in other
postings that people picked a targeted date, and talked it up as
the date was nearing, and then when it arrived, the children
pretty willingly said goodbye to their pacifiers. I've tried
that, but when our date arrived, our son became pretty
distraught, and suggested a new date (a year away!). (We even
had a new baby all picked out to ''give'' the pacifiers to, but he
just couldn't do it!) I don't know if I just have to be mean and
take it away, and we'll all suffer for a while, or if he really
will be ready at some point, and I should just wait for that
time. He doesn't have a blanky or favorite stuffed animal for
comfort (I've tried to encourage both and it hasn't worked) so
his ''pacie'' is his one comfort item. It makes the transition to
sleep easier for the him and for us. I've also heard of kids
being forced to give up pacifiers who then take up thumbsucking
which is supposedly worse for teeth. Any insights or suggestions
from anyone out there?
I've had 2 children passionately attached to their ''pacies'' and
the only thing that has worked for us is going cold turkey.
We too went to the dentist for my 3.5-y-o's first appointment
and he told us her teeth and bite were being affected by the
pacifier. He said we needed to get rid of it, so from the
moment we left the office, she never got one again. It was the
major cold turkey approach combined with some good old
I told her that if she slept the first night without the
pacifier, I would take her to the Hello Kitty store in SF and
she could pick anything she wanted. It was very difficult for
her, lots of screaming and crying, but she did it. We went to
the store and let her pick out 2 gifts. That night when she
started crying for her pacifier, I said ''we'd have to bring
back your beautiful Hello Kitty Bride.'' This went on for many
weeks. The dentist office also sent a package of toys when I
called to tell them that she had given up her pacifier. This
was pretty great for her.
Anyway, she still, many months later, does not sleep as well as
she did with her pacifier One thing that has helped is letting
her listen to a CD when falling asleep. This is a new routine
and has worked pretty well.
It's really hard. I don't know about any other children, but
this little girl was not giving up her pacifier voluntarily -
not for a long time. Good luck!
We too have tried to limit the use of the pacifier in our 3.5 y-
o. And now when she wants it and we don't give it to her, she
sticks her finger right in! So I am not sure what good we are
My son was HOOKED on his pacifier until he was almost four years
old. We tried to limit his use to bedtime and the car and had
told him that when he turned four he wouldn't be able to have it
anymore. About 6 weeks before his 4th birthday he fell and cut
his face and had to have stitches right next to his mouth. The
doctor said the pacifier would irritate the wound, so no more
pacifier. THe doctor also said we'd have one bad weekend and
he'd forget about it. It was actually like 2 bad weeks, but we
lived through it. What really helped was reminding him that the
doctor said NO pacifier -- my son seemed to respect the opinion
of a 3rd party authority figure, and mom and dad weren't
the 'bad guys', we were just following the rules. So you might
try telling your son that the dentist said no pacifier. Also,
my son did some finger sucking when he was stressed or tired,
but that stopped after a few months. It's been about 10 or 11
months since he gave up the pacifier and says he doesn't
remember when he used one.
Our daughter, age 3 and 1/2, needs to give up her "binky" (pacifier)
for her teeth. She's received a reprieve from the dentist for the last
2 visits, but now it's time. We're down to only one very old, funky
pacifier that lives in the "binky" cup during the day, and she only
has it at night or when she's lying down or napping, or going for a
long car trip or stroller ride. We've told her that when it gets lost
or destroyed we aren't buying any more. I'm concerned about the
condition of this one--I also think it may last awhile longer if we
don't do anything. I can't bring myself to "lose" it myself.
I'd like to know how other parents of highly oral children have dealt
with this--we're not into being mean to her (as the binky really is
her main comfort, along with her blanket which definitely plays
second-fiddle), but we're willing to be creative and want to move this
process along. Any suggestions? Roxane
My sister had the same problem with her son who used a pacifier and a
burp cloth for comfort until he was 4. (She was going through a
divorce and she did not feel good about taking it away from him too
early.) Anyhow, she was successful at getting him to voluntarily give
up the pacifier. About 2 months before his 4th birthday she told him
that on his 4th birthday, he would become a little boy (no longer a
baby), and that he had to get rid of the pacifier/burp cloth. She
reminded him of this weekly and then daily during the week before his
birthday. When he woke up on his birthday, she asked him if he was
ready and he, himself dropped the pacifier and burp cloth into the
trash. He never said another word about either after that day.
Obviously, this method may not be ideal for every child, but I
thought you might like to hear what worked for her.
I think weaning from the pacifier is like weaning from the breast or
the bottle. It is best to do it gradually. What we did with my
with my daughter was first limit her pacifier use to only in the
house. Then it was only at naps and bedtime. My husband also
made up a bedtime story about a little girl who wouldn't take her
pacifier out of her mouth and the repercussions. In the story the
little girl used to eat and talk with it until one day she ate a
peanut butter sandwich and pacifier was suck! Of course, then no
one could understand what she was saying. No one could give her a
proper kiss goodnight. Etc., etc., etc...I think it just gave her
something to think about in terms of having it all the time.
A few months before her 4th birthday we discussed the possibility of
her getting rid of it. We didn't put any pressure on her we just
brought up the subject. She decided that when she turned 4 she
would throw it away. Well, lo and behold, she did! Right after her
birthday party (she wasn't even 4 yet for a couple of more days but
I guess the party symbolizes the day more for some kids) with quite
a bit of pomp and circumstance she threw it in the trash. All seemed to
be going well until I realized that she started sucking her thumb with a
vengeance! No more pacifier but I can't seem to limit the thumb
sucking like I could the pacifier. My daughter is still very, very
oral. Everything goes into her mouth. Her clothes, her hair,
jewelry. I'm not sure if my story will help you make a decision
about weather or not to persuade her to get rid of it. If I had it do
all over again, I'm not sure what I would do. Which is worse the pacifier
or the thumb?
I don't know what the experts say, but here's what worked for me,
and with minimum of trauma considering how much my son liked his
pacifier. My son REALLLY loved his "suckie" and never wanted to give it
up. Like you, I managed to limit it somewhat -- night only, etc, but I
finally decided I'd have to take more action. He's the kind of kid who hates
change, and he will often seem to hang on to things (such as toys he hasn't
looked at in years) if HE has to make the choice to give them up. He doesn't
mind if they just disappear, and sometimes I think he's relieved not to have
to be "responsible" for causing this "loss" to himself. I know a lot of
kids are the opposite, feel better if they are in control of the choices.
Anyway, a few months before he turned 5, I suggested that at age 5, he might
be too big a boy for the suckie, that his birthday might be a good target date
for giving it up completely. He actually agreed in the abstract, since it
was a long way off, and we talked about it from time to time. Closer to the
date, he wanted to reneg, but I reminded him gently about our agreement, and I
collected all the pacifiers from the house. I didn't make a big deal
about getting rid of them--just "disappeared" them. For a while after, he'd
say he wished he had his suckie, but it seemed to be rather a nostalgia
thing... It wasn't a major issue. He'd had enough time to get used to the idea,
idea, which with him can take a long time.
Maybe it's like giving up smoking. I did that many, many years ago, and
the temptation is still there sometimes, but I know it's not in the realm of
possibility, so I get over it.
We weaned our son from his binky at 2 years old. We had a Binky Going
Away Ceremony. He was old enough to go and get all of the ones he had
hidden, we put them in a box, and we threw them in the trash. I
explained to him that he was a big kid now, and didn't need them, and he
didn't fuss or fight it. He agreed. We said good-bye to all of them -
he gave a few last "sucks", and they were gone. For two days he would
ask for one, and then I would ask him "where are they?" He'd answer,
"in the trash". That was it. We didn't have any crying or anything.
Good luck, I think it's harder for the parents than for the kids! Melissa
My son had a pacifier for three years. He "gave" them away on his third
birthday. My son has had one ear infection in his life, so the ear
infections/pacifier correlation might not apply not all children. My son
loved his pacifier at bed and nap time as well, but when he frequently
wanted it in the car as well, and threw a fit when we left it at home, I
decided to put an end to it. We talked about it two weeks before his
third birthday, and that he was going to be such a big boy that he did
not need the pacifier anymore. I did give him the choice of throwing
them all away, or "giving" them to a little baby we knew. So when the
day came, we gave them to the friend with the baby (who of course gave
them back at a later time; I still have them as a souvenir). My son felt
in charge, and he had no problem giving them away. That night, he went
to bed without it. He did wake up twice in the night, but did not ask
for it at all. Early in the
morning, he finally asked for it but when I explained that we had given
them away, he was fine. It was a lot easier than I thought. I think he
was ready to give it up. I did not read in your posting that your son
actually has a lot of ear infections. If not, you might want to wait
until your son is ready to give it up himself. It might be easier that
way. Good luck.
My son was given a pacifier in maternity ward. The "passy" was his
security blanket. At 4.5 yrs old he has had 2 ear infections.
I mentioned this recently but it's worth mentioning again because it was so
effective. Our 2.25 year old has self-limited her pacifier to bedtime after her
dentist told her that it was not good for her teeth and should be limited to bed.
Try having a third-party - a pediatrician or dentist - discuss it with your child.
My older daughter is about to turn 4. For months, we've been
talking up her upcoming birthday as a theoretical line in the
sand with regards to her pacifier use--errr, addiction. We're
tried to do this in a positive way; i.e., ''We know you want to
get a big girl bike for your birthday, and we'd like to get you
one. However, you first need to show us that you are a big girl
by giving up your pacifiers. We know that's going to be very hard
for you, but we believe in you and feel certain you can do it.''
Currently, her pacifier use--and that of her almost two-year-old
sister--is confined to bed (at home and at preschool) and car,
but we feel strongly that it needs to go altogether now. (She's
developing an overbite and our dentist is urging us to dump the
passie.) The complicating factors are: her nearly obsessive love
for her pacifiers; her little sister's continued pacifier use;
parent weakness. Can anyone offer any tips, success stories, or
other info on handling this transition as best we can for all
Boy oh boy, do I feel sorry for you!! Why? Because I've just
very recently been there and done that. My daughter is about to
turn 2 and will be starting a preschool next week that doesn't
allow pacifiers. I found out about this recently so I was faced
with having to make a decision regarding my approach very fast.
I solicited opinions from my various yahoogroups and got lots of
good advice. My favorite advice was to take the child to the
Make-a-Bear place, put the pacifier inside the bear and then
name the bear after her pacifier (my daughter had named her
I didn't do any of those things. My daughter went cold turkey.
That first night was horrible. She cried mournfully for hours,
begged me to ''find Boo mommy'' and neither of us got any sleep.
For the next week, I kept thinking about giving in and giving it
back to her just so we could get a normal night's sleep. After
that, she was fine. She never asks for it now. She does have a
new addiction however. Everytime she asked for the pacifier, I
would say ''no, how about a book?''. I now read her about 20
books every night before she falls asleep. So, you might want
to think about something you can offer her instead of the
pacifier that will comfort her during sleeptimes.
I would also consider going the cold turkey route with both
kids. It will be so tough if one kid gets the pacifier and the
other one doesn't. Hopefully the 2 year old will be less
Good luck - it ain't easy!
I sympathize with you. My 3.5 yo loved his pacifier and we were
too weak to attempt the separation for a long time, even with
the dentist's urging. Finally our pediatrician had a little talk
with him and we told him that he had to find all the pacifiers
in the house and take them to toys r us and trade them for a
toy. He was sad for a couple days after we did this, but he was
also very proud of himself. It went amazingly easily. I don't
know about your 2 yo, but I might just bite the bullet and get
rid of all of them.
We had a similar situation with our son. At 3.5 (after the 2nd
visit to the dentist in which he had told us we had to get rid
of the pacifier)we had the pacifier fairy come. I didn't think
i! t would work, but it did. Our son decorated a bag that we hung
from his doorknob, and he put his pacies in it. We helped him
get to sleep that night (laid with him until he fell asleep).
The pacie fairy left him a couple of really nice toys and packs
of gum, and he's never had a pacie since. It was a little hard
for the first few nights, but then it was okay. Good luck!
The only tricky part I see in this whole thing is that there
will still be pacifiers around with her sister? That may make
it harder for cold turkey. When my sister was four she LOVED
her passie. She was down to her last one and we went away for
the weekend and my parents ''left'' her passie at the hotel.
They explained that it was accidentally thrown away and they
couldn't get it back. She handled it pretty well, and had a
couple of hard nights but then was fine. Now my son is two and
loves his passie just as much. He only gets it when he sleeps
but likes to have one in his mouth and one in his hand. We
were thinking of doing the cut the nipple of trick when we are
ready to lose the passie. Maybe this would work for your
daughter and you could let her sleep with one in her hand (my
son like to rub the passie against his nose while easing into
sleep for some reason :-)
I completely understand. We just got my 2 year old to stop
using the pacifier. It was tramatic. I thought it was never
going to happen and she was clearly addicted and actually need
3+ binkies at night (one for mouth, and two to play with in her
hands). Finally, one morning, I just took them away (per
doctor's advice) and she screamed and writhed and basically
freaked out for 20-30 minutes. Within a day of cold turkey, she
was able to live without them. She asked about them all the
time, and we'd say something like ''I don't know. Did you lose
them?'' Or, they are at Grandad's house. She'd then forgot for a
while. I would never have believed it if someone told me this
would work so easily just by not allowing her to have them at
all. I'm not sure about your child since she's older, but I
don't think there ! is an easy way. I'm expecting baby #2 in 2
weeks and are hoping not to use a pacifier. I'm afraid it will
bring up all of the issues with my two-year old again. Good
luck! It is hard for us parents to see our kids in such pain
but it truly is the best for them.
It's been a while, but we went through the same thing, although our
in the sand was our daughter's 3rd birthday.
I remember getting good advice from the website archives. To prep her,
we talked CONSTANTLY about how after she turned three she was not
going to use her binky. She used it only for naps and nighttime, so
time we put her to bed, we talked about how after her birthday she
wouldn't have her binky. We kept saying how fun her birthday would be
and how big she will be, and, oh yeah, no more binky. We knew we
were getting through when she would meet people for the first time and
say, ''When I turn three, I'm not going to use a binky any more.''
On her birthday, we got a little box and put her current binky (all
had been surreptitiously destroyed) and said goodbye to it and put it
The next weeks were tough as going to sleep without sucking herself to
sleep was so foreign, but she did great. We made a point of staying in
bed with her and resting for a while so that she had something to
herself with. She now is VERY attached to a particular blanket and
stuffed animal, but has never used a binky since.
Well, technically, a year later when I had another baby and tried to
introduce a binky (no luck, I'm her binky), I caught her hiding in the
corner sucking on the baby's binky saying she wished she could have
one again. We talked through it and since the baby didn't need it, I
able to avoid a relapse. I think this will be your biggest hurdle. We
kept saying, ''Binkies are for babies because they like to suck so
just like breastfeeding and bottles.'' This might be harder for you
is not really a baby, but maybe you could do a variation.
Our daughter gave up her ''binky'' on her 4th bday too. We did not
have the complication of another binky user in our home but it
all went better than expected. As bedtime approached on the eve
of her 4th bday she said she wished she'd said she'd give it up
at 5 instead of 4 and then said I might have to sleep with her
for 2 or 3 nights and then- went to sleep with me and never woke
up and never asked for it again. We were all sooo excited the
next morning (her 4th bday)and I fell asleep with her again the
next night and that was it. She was ready though she didn't know
it and we weren't sure! Try not to be weak and stick to it. It
may be a miserable couple of days but then she'll be so proud of
Been there, done that and survived
When our daughter was 3, her friend had a visit from the ''Lolly
Fairy'' (or pacifier
fairy) who comes and takes all the pacifiers from the big kids and
gives them to the
babies. In exchange she leaves a big kid present. We were interested
in getting her
to give up the lolly, and she was very interested in the lolly fairy,
so we scheduled a
visit from the lolly fairy. We talked about it for a couple weeks
beforehand and she
swore she was ready (although she started using it more and more as the
approached). The night before we gathered up all the lollies and put
them in a bag
under her pillow. That night the lolly fairy took the bag and left a
under the pillow and a 2 wheel bike in the living room (which we were
ready to get
her at that time any way). The first 3 days were kind of hard and she
asked for her
lolly several times, but then she stopped. That would have been the
end of it,
except! that without her lolly she started developing a lot of
For one thing, she stopped being able to nap so she was frequently
afternoon. Also she started sucking on her shirt collar and sleeve,
and other things
like this. After a month of this, with no relief in sight, we decided
that even though
she had felt really ready to be a big girl and give up her lolly in
fact she still needed
it. The Lolly Fairy decided that she had made a mistake and brought
back the lollies
(but let her keep the bike of course.) So now our dear daughter has
just turned 5
and is as addicted to her lolly as ever, and even more so since her
sister was born
last summer. She talked about giving it up when she turned 5
(yesterday) but when
that day came she said she wasn't ready. She says that she will give
it up when she
starts kindergarten in the fall, and ! we will encourage her to
gradually reduce her
use as that gets closer (just in the house & car, then just for
sleeping, etc.) but we
are not going to make a big thing out of it. She already doesn't use
it at preschool
or other places where she wants to be a big girl. Basically we have
decided not to
make a big thing out of it; she will give it up when she is ready. I
don't want to turn
it into a big power struggle or for her to have some unmet oral need
that she ends
up filling by sucking her thumb or later on smoking or something. So
experience, for what it's worth. For you, I would say that if you are
her to give it up, the Lolly Fairy is a great way to go. It's fun,
motivating, and takes
it out of your hands so to speak. However, I would encourage you to
why it is so important to do this now, what effects this m! ight have,
and how you
could help her deal with those (i.e. trouble sleeping, other ways of
herself, better ways of meeting her oral needs, etc.)
A Lolly Fairy backslider
Remember the Binky Fairy!
She came to our house -- with lots of fanfare -- when our child
was five. The child hid her binkies all around the living room,
and the next morning the Binky Fairy had replaced each one with a
lovely (& inexpensive) paperback book. It was a great day, and
far more successful -- not to mention less traumatic -- than we
had dared to hope.
Fan of Binky Fairy
I read a lot of creative responses, but didn't see my rather
cruel one, so I thought I'd chime in. After seeing this
successfully done by a friend, when my son turned 14 months old
I simply cut the tips off all his pacifiers (he had an
impressive collection) and when he tried to use them I explained
that they were ''broken.'' Miraculously, he just accepted what I
said and moved on! He was aware of the concept because he had
chewed through or worn out other pacifiers previously. BTW, the
same technique worked when he turned two and all the nipples on
his bottles ''broke.'' For this, however, we gave him plenty
advance warning that on his 2nd birthday he was going to be big
enough to drink all his milk from a sippy cup from that day
onwards. He wasn't happy about it, but accepted his fate.
My daughter turned 4 in May. She has always loved her pacifier. She
has gone through some self-weaning over the past 9 months, I'm assuming
mostly from peer pressure, eg. she'll pull it out of her mouth and hand it to
me just before entering pre-school so I can put it in the basket where
she'll retrieve it for nap time. She likes it when she's playing at home by
herself, taking naps and sleeping at night. I'd like to hear from
other parents who had late pacifier users who didn't pressure their kid to
give it up. What can I expect as she goes to kindergarten in another year.
Will it be difficult for her to go without it all day (adding more stress as
she transitions to school), will something magical happen this next year
and she'll throw it out herself, or should we be doing something now to
help her get rid of it by then. I've heard lots of firsthand advice about
just taking them away but I don't think I agree with that approach, she
dearly loves the darn thing. Thanks.
Our son gave up his pacifyer on his fourth birthday. The dentist
recommended after he was 3 1/2 that we work toward ending its use. We did
it gradually and gently, as he was very attached. We told him about three
months in advance that was the deadline. We also gave him the choice of
picking out another comfort object to help the transition. He decided on a
special stuffed animal. He was sad a bit for a couple of days, but not at
all as much as we expected. He too started to hide it when older kids were
around, or kids he wanted to be a big boy around. There were two strong
reasons pushing us to find an end to end the pacifyer use. His teeth did
not meet in the front and he was having trouble eating apples and other
foods. Also, his pronunciation of lots of words was suffering from his
talking with it in his mouth. He's almost five now, doesn't miss it at all,
and we're still working with him on his pronunciation. His teeth have
thankfully moved to their proper location.
Our son turned four in June. We thought he would never give up his
BLUE pacifier. We decided to wait it out since he just became a big
brother and because that was his comfy item. We went to L.A. for fun
mid-July and he never asked for it. When we got home he asked for it
2 or 3 times and then hasn't for 2 weeks now. We strongly believe in
letting hiom have what he needs for comfort, although we did insist
that it only got used in the house. By the way, he still uses bottles
and we are just waiting those out as well.
My 5 3/4 YO daughter was extrememly attached to the pacifier. I was
reluctant to stop it's use at 1 year old as the doctor suggested because
she's very high strung and seemed to need it to calm down. Her doctor was
horrified at my reluctance and pronounced that we should then prepare for
braces. The dentist, however, said that as long as she was not sucking when
her big teeth came in, she'd be fine. She quit 1 month before her fifth
birthday, because she had a fall and bumped her front teeth which loosened
them and made them quite sore as well. She had great difficulty giving it
up, but I know it was easier than it would have been at 2 or 3. We gave her
a daily "binky prize" (an idea I got from advice line) which helped a lot.
I had little things on hand and would wait for her to ask for her "binky
prize." I told her she could get something every day, if she needed it.
She continued to ask for a daily "binky prize" for about 3 weeks, which
interestingly, is just about as long as they say it takes to break a habit.
Now I can't believe it was ever an issue! Her new front teeth are about
half way in and coming in straight, although her baby teeth had been pushed
out quite a bit from the binky, so I guess the dentist was right!
The bigger problem for me was shielding my daughter from negative reactions
in public. It was amazing to me how many strangers felt it necessary to
tell her she was too old for a pacifier or, worse, to call her a baby! It's
appalling what some people think is okay to say to a child. I began to
suggest that she leave it in the car, which she often agreed to.
I think you're doing the right thing with the pacifier. She'll give it
up when she's ready and peer pressure will influence that. I sometimes
wonder if part of the reason I smoke is due to being weaned before I was
ready, maybe an oral fixation that was never satisfied. You'll get all
sorts of advice from people, but only you know the actual situation.
It sounds as though your daughter is old enough to tell you how she
feels about her pacifier. My daughter regressed at 8 when her little
brother was born and again at 9 when her next brother was born. She
wanted her bottle again. Rather than tell her, that's for babies. I
took her and held her and we pretended she was that baby for a little
while. We laugh about things like that. She does now occasionally
still use her bottles, with a huge hole cut in the nipple. Of course
this is not something she'd like her peers to know about. I think we
all have something that we wouldn't like our peers to know about. What
better place than at home to nurture whatever needs may arise. That
way, when we have to function in the outside world, we can, without
unresolved issues that affect our dealings with others. Pick your
battles for yourself and not what others determine you should and relax
and know that she'll be ok. Reassure her that's it's ok. I think that
if she knows the choice is hers, she may give it up sooner than if she
feels bad about it.
For the parent looking for advice on a 4 year-old using a pacifier: My son
is almost three and a half and he recently stopped using his pacifier. He
was very attached to it, but had also started some self-weaning (such as not
using it at day care, and taking it out when he wanted to talk to someone).
He was hooked on one particular pacifier---no other one would do the trick
for him----and he lost it one day. He was very upset, but he didn't want any
other pacifiers and very quickly (within a few days) stopped even
mentioning it. We also didn't think it was right to take it away from him
and I'm glad it happened the way it did. IMHO, unless your child's teeth are
really suffering, pacifiers aren't such a bad thing. For us the worst part
of his pacifier use was always having to find it! I'll bet your daughter
will give it up when she's ready.
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