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.

parting with the pacifier sm

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.

Toddler Products Review

Toddler Products Review

Toddler Products! Check out these products designed especially for the growing curiosity and independence of toddlers. Graco TurboBooster TakeAlong Booster Seats$49.99-$99.99; Graco.comProvide sa . . .

Read more

Let the Kids Get Dirty

Let the Kids Get Dirty

A clean freak’s tips for outdoor playAs a recovering clean freak, I often create excuses to avoid going outside. Kids have a knack for achieving maximum grubbiness outdoors. My 3-year-old likes to . . .

Read more

Sunscreen Safety for Kids

Sunscreen Safety for Kids

Common myths about protecting your child’s skinContributed by Sunny Gault of New Mommy MediaWe know skin protection is important—especially in the San Diego summer sun—but there is a lot of mi . . .

Read more

Toddler Product Review

Toddler Product Review

Toddler Products! Check out these products designed especially for the growing curiosity and independence of toddlers. pediped Rosa Gingersnap Shoes$29.95-$45; Pediped.compediped Originals Rosa G . . .

Read more

Confessions of a Mortified Mom: how she handled public tantrums

Confessions of a Mortified Mom: how she handled public tantrums

Temper tantrums from the little ones can strike at any time—unfortunately even when we’re in the middle of the grocery aisle or picking up a coffee to go. It may not be our finest hour, but gett . . .

Read more

Nighttime Potty-Training Tips for Success

Nighttime Potty-Training Tips for Success

Evaluate your expectations. You might expect that the moment your children learn how to control their bladders during the day that will also mean immediate nighttime success, but that scenario is q . . .

Read more

Baby Teeth are Very Important

Baby Teeth are Very Important

Primary (baby) teeth eventually fall out, but until they do, they play a critical role in your child’s development. They are important for biting into and chewing food, speech development and savi . . .

Read more

Lessons Learned from

Lessons Learned from "Toddlers & Tiaras"

Top 5 Lessons Parents Can Learn from “Toddlers & Tiaras” To most parents “Toddlers & Tiaras” is so offensive that we can hardly watch it, let alone relate to it. After all, this is a . . .

Read more

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 . . .

Read more

Potty Training At Night

Potty Training At Night

When my first daughter showed signs of potty readiness at age two, I was more than ready to help her ditch the diapers. Before long, she was proudly sporting Elmo underwear and staying dry all day l . . .

Read more

Food Allergy Alert

Food Allergy Alert

Carol D’Agnese is afraid of cheese, milk and anything else that comes from a cow. It is an odd phobia, but D’Agnese has every reason to fear dairy products. Her son, Luke, was nearly killed by a . . .

Read more

Dropping a Nap Without Drama

Dropping a Nap Without Drama

The road to a single nap can be bumpy. Let us lead the way. The move from two naps to a single afternoon nap is a hallmark of toddlerhood, but it’s fraught with confusion for parents. Your tot kn . . .

Read more

Prepare Your Toddler for a New Sibling

Prepare Your Toddler for a New Sibling

Prepare Your Toddler For A New Sibling You were elated to bring your first baby into your family, and you delight in watching her grow. Now it’s time for your baby to become a big sister! Preparing . . .

Read more

Getting Toddlers to Eat a Nutritious Meal

Getting Toddlers to Eat a Nutritious Meal

How to Get Toddlers to Eat a Nutritious Meal A smorgasbord of secrets for successful small-fry suppers If you are raising a toddler, then you need very few reminders of how it can be a real strugg . . .

Read more

Making Art with Toddlers

Making Art with Toddlers

 The toddler years are the perfect time to make art projects and experiment with different materials. Many parents show their toddler how to color with crayons, but often think that their ch . . .

Read more

The Right Shoe Fit Can Prevent Spine, Back & Foot Problems

The Right Shoe Fit Can Prevent Spine, Back & Foot Problems

A recent study presented at the 2009 annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons showed that 52.8 percent of outdoor shoes and 61.6 percent of indoor shoes were too small for the . . .

Read more

Potty Training Success

Potty Training Success

Prodding, pleading, pushing, punishing—these are the tactics parents use when toilet training their child. But according to experts, it is patience and praise that make potty training really pay o . . .

Read more

When Can you Ditch Your Child’s Booster Seat?

When Can you Ditch Your Child’s Booster Seat?

Don’t ditch your child’s booster seat too soon In the last 20 years, America has seen a 71 percent drop in infant fatality rates from vehicle crashes, thanks to the proper use of car seats. For . . .

Read more

San Diego Family Magazine Logo

Be Family Informed – Sign up for our Newsletters below!