Bye Bye Binky! How to Part With The Pacifier

Bye Bye Binky! How to Part With The Pacifier

Ready to help your child give up a pacifier? Here are some tips for navigating the tricky transition.

Whether they’re crystal clear, neon-bright or covered in rhinestones, pacifiers are the modern baby’s accessory of choice. Thanks to studies showing that they reduce the incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), most pediatricians have given pacifiers the green light. A study in Pediatrics found that a whopping 68 percent of parents give them to their babies before 6 weeks of age.

Babies aren’t the only ones who love them; parents quickly become addicted to the pacifier’s soothing effects on their offspring. Unfortunately, it often becomes a habit that overstays its welcome.


Why wean?

While some children give up non-nutritive or comfort sucking on their own, others cling to the habit well into the preschool years. According to Lotus Su, D.D.S., of Pediatric Dental Associates, using a pacifier too much or for too long can contribute to dental problems, including deformation of the palate and shifting of the teeth, as well as mouth breathing and dry mouth, which may increase susceptibility to tooth decay.

Many doctors and dentists recommend ending the habit before permanent front teeth begin to emerge, which can happen before kindergarten. “I recommend stopping pacifier use by age 3,” says Dr. Su. “The earlier a pacifier habit is stopped, the less likely that there will be any dental problems.”


Potential problems extend beyond the teeth.

Pacifier use is associated with otitis media, or middle ear infections. Minor health upsets like gastrointestinal infections and oral thrush are also more commonly seen in pacifier users.

Parents may be swayed by medical data and dentists’ recommendations, but kids often need some coaxing to give up the long-held habit. Guilt-inducing lectures about dental problems or germs may be counterproductive, causing them to dig in their heels. Instead, help them become confidently pacifier-free with these tactics.


Literary loss

Before embarking on a pacifier-purge, check out some children’s books on the topic. After listening to stories like The Last Noo-Noo by Jill Murphy or Pacifiers Are Not Forever by Elizabeth Verdick, your child may be more receptive to the idea.


Pacifier Bear

When 3-year-old Violet was ready to give up her pacifier, mom Bec Marcher took her to a popular build-your-own-stuffed-animal store. Violet deposited her last pacifier safely inside the teddy bear before it was sewn up. The bear now serves as both a cuddly friend and a unique reminder of Violet’s younger days.


Baby Charity

Your child may be willing to donate her pacifiers to a good cause. Gather up the pacifiers, and pay a visit to a friend with a young baby. Have your child “gift” the baby with the pacifier collection, and shower her with praise for her generosity. Then, your friend can dispose of them for you.


The Paci-Fairy

Steal this idea from Supernanny Jo Frost. Have your child place her pacifiers in a large envelope to mail to the “pacifier fairy.” Put the envelope in your mailbox together before bed. Once she’s asleep, swap the envelope for a new toy. When she wakes up, excitedly take her to the mailbox to find her new treasures.


Make the Cut

Snipping a small hole in a pacifier can help it lose its appeal quickly, encouraging a child to give it up on her own. Be sure to dispose of a broken pacifier promptly, because it can harbor bacteria or become a choking hazard if a child continues to use it.


Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Parents seeking the quickest route to pacifier-freedom can simply throw them all away.     Kelly Stallings opted for the cold-turkey approach with daughter Taylor. “The first night was rough, but after that, she didn’t care,” she says.

Just make sure to get rid of each and every one, so your child isn’t tempted to relapse (and you’re not tempted to cave).

No matter how stubbornly your child clings to a beloved binky, eventually it will be a thing of the past. Once she’s confidently pacifier-free, you’re free as well—from relentlessly searching for them, washing them and buying them. Enjoy your well-earned liberation. At least, until the next must-have item comes along.

------------------
Malia Jacobson is a freelance writer and mom to a former binky addict.

Valentine’s Day Events and Activities for Kids in San Diego

Valentine’s Day Events and Activities for Kids in San Diego

Share the love at these local events that celebrate the month of hearts! FREE Make Your Own Collage Valentine with artist, June Rubin. Feb. 2, 5:30-7:30 pm. All ages welcome. June Rubin Studio, 269 . . .

Read more

Valentine's Day Round-up

Valentine's Day Round-up

Find Valentine's Day recipes, DIY crafts, cards and art projects, and fun ideas for parents and families in our Valentine's Day Round-Up. Visit our Valentine's Day Pinterest Board for m . . .

Read more

Family Valentine Fun

Family Valentine Fun

A candlelight dinner, a wrapped gift waiting next to my plate—has my husband finally gotten the hints I’ve been dropping? No, I’m just remembering Valentine’s Days of my childhood. My mom al . . .

Read more

How to Make a Valentines Day Braid for your Daughter

How to Make a Valentines Day Braid for your Daughter

Send your daughter to school with this fun Valentines Day braid.  She'll look adorable with this fun hair style for the holiday. What You’ll Need: Wide-tooth comb Fine-tooth comb Hair c . . .

Read more

Fun ideas for Making Valentine's Day Special

Fun ideas for Making Valentine's Day Special

14 Fabulous Valentine’s Day Ideas! Need some new, fun ideas for making Valentine's Day special?  We've got you covered! Growing up, I always looked forward to Valentine’s Day. I loved maki . . .

Read more

Valentine's Day Treats

Valentine's Day Treats

Quicklinks: DIY Crafty Gifts   |   Valentine's Day Cards  |   Meal Ideas       Edible Valentine's Day Treats Strawberry Nutella Poptarts from t . . .

Read more

Valentine's Day and the Single Parent

Valentine's Day and the Single Parent

by R.J. JaramilloCertain holidays and celebrations can be a little bit more difficult than others for a single parent. Valentine’s Day used to be one of those holidays for me, but I learned some f . . .

Read more

San Diego Family Magazine Logo

Be Family Informed – Sign up for our Newsletters below!