Getting Rid of the Pacifier, Part 2


Paci, binky, soother, nubby, dummy, nuk, plug…whatever you call it, it can be your saving grace or your worst nightmare.  After refusing to give my first baby a pacifier in the hospital and first days at home, I finally gave in and it instantly soothed her.  With baby #2, I knew right away that we would be offering a pacifier, and again, it soothed her.  According to Dr. Harvey Karp, author of The Happiest Baby on the Block, sucking is a soothing reflex in infants.  BUT, what about those 5 and 6 year olds still attached to the binky? There is a point in life when the pacifier must go. In Part Two of Getting Rid of the Pacifier I am going to tell you about what I did right when taking away the beloved bink, as we call it at our house.

After the horror of my first child’s binky extraction, which you can read about in Part 1, I swore that I would let my second child have her plug until she was 18.  When she turned 18 months, we limited her to nap time and bed time by distracting her if she asked for it.  When she woke up in the morning, we would put the pacifier away and only brought it out for naps.  I think limiting the binky is an important first step and kids should adjust after just a few days (although he/she may still ask for it from time to time).

Then we decided to put Josie in charge of her own binky.  She was just over 2.  She had to be the one to remember where she put it and she had to get it for naps and bed.  I didn’t remind her unless we were going somewhere in the car for the long-haul and I knew I would need it for sanity.  There were a few nap times where she forgot the paci and went without it, but overall she remembered it.  One day, she lost her blue bink.  It was her favored one so that was a little sad for her, but I reminded her that she still had her pink bink.  She used that for a month or so (still being in charge of it herself).  One evening at bedtime, Josie couldn’t find the binky.  As a family, we helped her search, but couldn’t find it.  We simply said, “Sorry, you lost your binky.  We’ll look again tomorrow.”  Realizing that she had lost the binky on her own made her less inclined to blame mom and dad for “taking it away”.  She did fine the first night with the exception of a few whines followed by a few reminders that she had lost it.

The next evening I found the binky in the washer.  Just as I was about to give it back to Josie, my husband mouthed NO behind her back.   That’s when I realized, she is fine without it.  We didn’t need to give it back to her because she weaned herself!  It was lovely and beautiful and SO MUCH simpler than the fiasco we went through with our first child.

In a nutshell, here are my tips of what to do when getting rid of the binky:

  1. Do not force it. Guide gently.
  2. Wait! If you feel it out and it feels contentious, overwhelming, or it is a stressful time in life, just wait a few months.
  3. Cut back to only nap time and bed time to begin the process.
  4. Put the child in charge of his/her own binky. Really make them feel responsible for it.
  5. If the child doesn’t lose the pacifier on his/her own, test out “losing it for them”.
  6. If the child loses the pacifier, don’t go buy a new one.
  7. Still enforce naps (assuming your child still needs them) even if it involves a little whining/crying.

I’d love to hear your pacifier success stories!  What worked for you? Comment below!

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