Skip to main content

How to wean a baby off a pacifier

Pacifiers — some babies love them, others prefer soft blankets or rocking chairs. But there comes a time when you must start removing your baby’s pacifier. Fortunately, the American Academy of Pediatrics gives the OK for pacifiers up until about 2 years old when dental development and pacifiers may not go well together. But don’t stress: Here are four of the best ways you can try to get your baby to part ways with their binky.

The classic approach: Cut off the top

This one is popular among parents because it’s easy especially if your baby is toddler age. Simply cut off the tip of their pacifier and let them discover that their binky mysteriously doesn’t work anymore. If they’re unfazed and determined to keep using their comfort object, snip a little more off the top until there’s no more pacifier to suck on. By the end of the week, it’s pretty much unusable.

Most babies will lose interest once they realize it’s no longer the wonderful binky that used to help them sleep, calm down, or pass the time. Offer your little one the chance to throw away their binky because it’s broken. This gives them the power and choice of saying goodbye to their pacifier on their own terms — kind of!

baby pacifier

The extra comforting approach: Substitute with blankie or a toy

One of the biggest reasons why babies need pacifiers in the first place is comfort. If your baby uses their pacifier mainly to help them sleep or de-stress, offer them a snuggly blanket or stuffed toy instead. However, here’s a gentle reminder that younger babies should be supervised when going to bed with a blanket or stuffed toy.

This method is best for older kids who need a stand-in for their favorite pacifier. Giving your little one a different comfort toy also breaks the association between their binky and sleep, so in time they’ll stop asking for it when they want to doze off.

The slow and steady approach: Gradual weaning

This particular method can be combined with other approaches on this list. The idea is simple: Slowly decrease your baby’s dependence on their pacifier by offering it to them only during critical times like naptime or when they’re going through a stressful time like sickness or sleep regression.

A good starting point if your baby uses the pacifier everywhere is by letting them use it at home only. This means no pacifier in the car or in their stroller. Once you’ve narrowed down their pacifier time to a few times a day at home, try to drop it to a few times a week and in a span of a month or so, your house will be binky free.

baby pacifier

The creative approach: Send the pacifier off to Binkyland

An ingenious way many parents have said goodbye to their baby’s binky is by inviting the pacifier fairy to their home. There are lots of great books and videos with the pacifier fairy that can help explain to your little one why they don’t need their binky anymore. Like the good old tooth fairy, the pacifier fairy comes and takes their prized possession in exchange for a small reward.

But of course, the reward is completely up to you! The fairy can leave a simple thank you note or a snack. The main thing is your little one feels safe knowing that their binky is in good hands and that they’re mature enough to say goodbye.

The bold approach: Quit cold turkey

We get it. Sometimes you don’t have mental or physical energy or time in your schedule for gradual weaning. In this case, going cold turkey might be the best bet for your baby. Stash away their binky someplace safe and explain that their binky is no longer here. You can say that the binky must have gotten lost and that you’re sorry, but you both just have to move on.

In time, your little one will forget and stop looking for it. Chances are they will cry, beg, and give you irresistible puppy dog eyes, but do resist! It will take at least a week or two, but soon they’ll grow out of their pacifier days.

If your little one took a pacifier when they were young, they’ll be ready to let it go anytime between the ages of 1 to 3 years old. If your baby uses their binky throughout the day and night for comfort, you’ll need to step in and try any of the weaning methods we went over above. Luckily, you’ll be there to support them and give them words of encouragement during this transition.

Editors' Recommendations

These potty training tips will save your sanity
Helpful tips every parent needs to know
Toddler with stuffed bear on potty training seat.

The price of diapers alone is enough to make a parent wonder when their child will be potty trained. But when it comes time to teach your little one how to use the bathroom like a big kid, it could feel like an overwhelming task. This is a huge milestone for both of you, and if you need a little help getting through it, here are the best potty training tips to have handy.
Before potty training starts, keep a few things in mind

Potty training begins before you ever put your little one on the toilet. Parents, you need to be in the best headspace so the first training session doesn't end with everyone in tears on the bathroom floor.
Parents need patience
There will be setbacks. There might be wet pants, wet beds, or soiled underwear. As the parent and adult, you need to have patience. This is a big transition for your child, and they need a parent who will help them at every step without judgment.
Parents shouldn't force potty training
Each child is different and goes at their own pace. If you try to force your child to potty train before they're ready, you could cause emotional damage and scare them from wanting to learn.
Don't forget to let everyone know training is happening
Once you decide to start toilet training, let anyone who would be helping know. If your child goes to daycare, stays at a relative's house, or someone other than you watches them, talk with those people about the routine. Potty training will not happen without everyone being on the same page. 
These are the best potty training tips 

Read more
Can toddlers drink almond milk or other plant-based drinks?
How safe are milk alternatives for your toddler?
Toddler girl drinking milk through a straw while lying on the grass

Milk is an important part of the diet of toddlers. Milk, along with other fortified dairy products or soy beverages, plays an integral role in helping toddlers grow strong bones and teeth. Generally speaking,  milk helps your toddler's body grow. Almost all cow's milk has been fortified with calcium and vitamin D, crucial nutrients for your growing child. But what's a parent to do if they are vegan or have children who are allergic to cow's milk? These parents often wonder if their toddlers can have almond milk or other plant-based drinks as an adequate substitute for cow's milk.

With the recent increase in the popularity of plant-based drinks and almond milk, parents have been confused about whether their toddlers should be drinking these beverages instead of cow's milk. If you've been curious whether toddlers can drink almond milk or other plant-based drinks, this should help clear up any confusion.
Why is milk so important?

Read more
Why do babies growl? Understanding your little one’s weird sounds
We'll help you navigate this little animal stage with your baby
Mom holding her baby up to her face

There is no sweeter sound to a new parent than listening to their baby cooing and babbling. While you're waiting for those first words, those early squeals and giggles are simply delightful. With each sound, your little one is communicating with you even without saying their first official word. But have you ever sworn you've heard your baby sound more like an animal than a human? There are reasons why babies growl sometimes, and parents need the heads up.

If your baby has added growling to their language skills, you may be wondering why they chose to sound more feral than human. Turns out, it all depends on when and how they growl. Even though it might be unusual, it is pretty adorable to witness. Here’s how to decode why babies growl and what those noises mean.
Deciphering your baby's new sounds

Read more