Last Updated on December 17, 2020 by Creative Parenting
Are you trying to figure out how to get rid of a pacifier?
If you have a toddler, it might be something that you’ve had to deal with (or are anticipating).
Raise your hand if you’ve ever wondered to yourself:
Hmm, how to get rid of a pacifier?
Did you raise your hand?
I know my hand’s up!
This is a topic that can create a lot of angst and frustration for parents.
After all, we’re talking about removing a prized loved possession from your child’s life…
And so the MOST important thing to know is there are 3 steps: weaning, reducing the time during the day, and your kid losing their you know what and meltig down, screaming, and running around the house (we’re kidding lol; this is actually exactly what we’re trying to avoid).
But it’s a good question:
Why does this have to be such a frustrating topic?
If you’ve ever considered taking it away…
It seems like there isn’t a simple solution that’ll both comfort your child and prevent a long-term habit.
Now, a lot of that research, like this article, is helpful and provides a scientific view of the physical challenges.
But in our opinion?
It ignores the emotional attachment the child has to their lovey.
You see, much of the common advice doesn’t acknowledge the deep attachment our little ones have to their pacifiers.
So it falls short!
Because when it does give strategies for how to get rid of a pacifier? In our opinion, they don’t sufficiently acknowledge a child’s emotional connection to it.
For example, a lot of the advice that’s out there tells your to do crazy fast breaks – like just taking the pacifier away.
Now we don’t know about you…
But it doesn’t seem like the emotional attachment of our child is acknowledged by those giving advice like this.
He SUPER loves his pacifier. Taking it away abruptly would break his heart.
He would be devastated if we did this.
Plus, between working, keeping the house clean, managing different schedules, and everything else that happens in life, it’s hard to find a good time to make these kinds of transitions happen.
we’ve cooked up a few ideas to help both us and you (if you’re reading this) get through this transition.
Let’s get into it:
Idea #1 For How To Get Rid Of A Pacifier
Reevaluate your bedtime routines.
…When was the last time you thought about your bedtime routine?
It can be so easy to do the same thing over and over every night.
But if you’re like us…
…you might not have thought about your bedtime routine since your toddler was a baby.
When you’re going through transitions, it’s good to look at what’s working and what’s not working.
For example, when we did this recently, I realized I was rocking him longer than he really wanted to be rocked.
So when you’re looking at transitioning away from big things like a pacifier: Think about your routine as a whole, and whether or not it’s working for you.
Because sometimes, what worked in the past doesn’t work anymore.
Or even if it is working, it might not be the most optimal routine.
You don’t have to keep doing the same thing over and over just because it’s your routine. By making small adjustments now, you can make it easier for yourself later when you finally take away the pacifier for good.
OK let’s talk about the next idea.
Idea #2: Reduce your evening TV Time
Ok, now, of course, this isn’t some revolutionary idea.
But hear me out because I’ve got my own take on this. Now you might be wondering:
What’s this got to do with a pacifier?
Well, consider a few ways that too much TV time can throw off your bedtime routine for your toddler:
- It can get everybody worked up
- it shifts the energy level
- Depending on the show, it could wind up your child’s brain
And when they get thrown off? The meltdowns start. And if a child has a meltdown…they’re going to want the pacifier.
Plus, a lot of research that we’ve seen indicates that blue light is NOT good for us (and negatively affects our sleep routines).
TV time can be a HUGE time suck during an already very short evening.
Rather than watching TV, consider if there are other activities you can do with your toddler that help her wind down before bed. Things like reading, doing simple breathing exercises, or singing can help them relax.
Regardless of which activity you chose:
Try to spend some time on activities that won’t wind them up, so they don’t have a meldown, and don’t want to rely on a pacifier then to calm down.
Now, we’re not saying don’t watch TV. All we’re saying is that instead is think about it and maybe instead of an hour of TV, watch 30 minutes and then use your new free time for other winding down activities.
OK let’s keep going.
Idea #3 Limit Pacifier Time During The Day
When we first read about this idea, we thought it was great.
Because our little guy loves his pacifier so much, he would grab it anytime he found it laying around.
And after a while, once his teeth started coming in, we realized that letting him have it during the day was a problem.
So we started thinking about times during the day that we could shift away from always using a pacifier.
We started with limiting the time he was allowed to use it in the car and house during the day.
We were pleasantly surprised…
He adapted faster than We thought. We started by throwing his pacifier in his crib we when first got up in the morning.
Then he was allowed to have it again close to bedtime. And you know what? That simple strategy seemed to do the trick!
And this approach has had a couple of benefits…
It’s set some boundaries and habits for when it’s appropriate to use the pacifier.
So later, if he’s asking for it, we reiterate that the pacifier is for sleeping and that’s why we have him put it in the crib.
So far, this seems to be working!
So consider this strategy if you’re looking for a way to gradually transition away from using a pacifier all the time.
The benefit here is that it’s not an all or nothing approach. It’s a more humane strategy that works well if you have a sensitive child attached to his pacifier.
Idea #4 Don’t Forget This Potential Health Consideration
And it’s the one that we found most helpful…
Because it stems from one of the biggest problems that we were having that let us want to get away from letting our son uses a pacifier.
We started to get concerned about how the pacifier would affect his teeth.
Now it really didn’t become a concern until several of his front teeth started to come in.
It was then we realize that continuing to use his pacifier could really affect the alignment of his teeth.
So I felt a sense of urgency with figuring out a new approach.
I did some research online and found an intermediate pacifier option we could try since he’s sooo attached to his.
It’s just designed a little bit differently for a toddler with teeth.
After thinking about it we realized that nowadays he really only sucks on the pacifier for a few minutes at bedtime.
For most of the night the pacifier falls out and then he’s just sleeping with it cuddled up.
With the transition pacifier, it gradually phases out to smaller and smaller pieces on the part the child sucks on.
Plus it has a similar look and feel as the pacifier he used to have.
It’s really helped us make this transition in a way that we feel it’s more humane than throwing it away entirely.
Idea #5 Keep it In This Special Place
If it’s time for the lovey to go, you gotta limit where they take it.
A good way to start with this is to set physical boundaries.
Here’s how: You can make a simple rule:
The pacifier stays in the room.
Be firm with it, and you’ll be able to cut down on daytime use immediately.
No more will they be allowed to have it with them at all hours of the day.
Whenever they take it out of the room?
You simply say: “Pacifier, in the room” and have them take it back.
By making this simple change, you’ll reduce the amount of time they are spending sucking on it right off the bat.
This is an important step towards getting rid of it altogether!
Idea #6 If They’re Still Using It, Don’t Do This
Our biggest takeaway from the NIH article mentioned above surprised us.
In fact, it runs counter intuitive to a lot of the parenting advice these days.
And yet in hindsight, we wondered why he hadn’t thought of this tip ourselves.
One reason we didn’t think of it as first is this:
Our son would have a meltdown every time we tried to take it away, so it didn’t feel like we were in control.
But the NIH article reminded us that:
Letting your child use a pacifier is the parent’s choice.
That’s right. You read that correctly!
So if you are choosing to let your child use one…
Remeber, that when it comes to how to get rid of a pacifier, you’re in the driver’s seat!
And if it doesn’t happen overnight?
Don’t go around also beating yourself up!
Cut yourself some slack.
Especially in times like these, we are living through unprecedented challenges. The pacifier might be giving the comfort your child needs.
On the other hand…
If you are feeling like you want to start the process of weaning them off of it, remember that you are in control of the situation! That doesn’t mean you’ll suddenly be able to take it away cold turkey…
And that isn’t to say you don’t want them to stop using it eventually, only that if they don’t do it overnight then we don’t think you should beat yourself up.
Ok, next tip. (We’re almost done with our tips on how to get rid of a pacifier).
Idea #7 Start Saving for This Future Expense
This tip is a bit tongue in cheek, and a bit not…
Do you know the average cost of braces in the United States?
Not to stress you out…
But you can takeaway two lessons from this reality. These just might motivate you if you’re feeling a sense of ennui about how to get rid of a pacifier.
#1 You’re going to get your child to wean off of the pacifier eventually
You don’t see a lot of college kids walking around and still using a pacifier.
There’s a reason for that. They’ll quit eventually, so you can relax about that.,,
#2. It doesn’t hurt to start saving for the future today
Time has a way of flying by.
Whether you start saving today for this or another big goal…
A little bit to start can pay off handsomely in the future!
And on top of that, by forcing yourself to start saving for future braces, it might be the motivational kick in the butt you need to wean them off the pacifier.
Conclusion: How To Get Rid of A Pacifier
Pacifiers are as old as civilization itself! You’re not the first parent to have to figure this out. But it’s important to strategize to get your kid to wean off of it.
And yet there are benefits to letting them use it…
So if it doesn’t happen overnight, don’t fret!
We wish you the best with healthy helping your little one transition away from using a pacifier.
Take heart, and know you’ll get there eventually.
P.s. If you have a strong-willed child when you’re trying to figure out how to get rid of a pacifier, you might end up with one of these later.
What strategies do you find helpful to get rid of the pacifier?