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

9 inexpensive baby shower favors people will actually like
Baby shower favor ideas that won't get tossed in the trash
Baby shower favors

Planning a baby shower comes with a pretty big to-do list. Between trying to keep the impending shower under wraps from the mom-to-be, there's the guest list, food, decorations and let's not forget those baby shower favors.

The first baby showers were held in the years following World War II. All the fun traditions like games and those baby shower favors started in the late 40s and early 50s to celebrate moms-to-be. Think of a baby shower favor as a thank you from the mom-to-be for the gift and for helping her celebrate and prepare for the baby's arrival. Over the years, those little thank you gifts evolved into something bigger. Recently, baby shower favors have become cute posts for social media.

Read more
Bizzare behavior alert: Your baby constantly kicking legs and moving arms is actually totally normal
Should you worry if baby is constantly flailing their limbs? What about those other quirks?
Parents smiling while holding newborn.

Bringing home your first baby is a wonderful time, but joy and love aren't the only feelings new parents have when it comes to getting to know their new mini human. Babies, though soft, snuggly, and sweet-smelling beings, are known to be confusing and stressful little creatures sometimes, especially if you are on your first. In between the diaper changes, nighttime feedings, and recovery from childbirth, it's easy to be overwhelmed and stressed out, especially when your baby is doing things you never expected them to do. Like, is your baby constantly kicking legs and moving arms? Where did that come from?

Don't worry. Many of those bizarre movements and strange quirks of behavior no one covered in your parenting class or prenatal appointments are totally normal and most of the time they're nothing to be concerned about. Here are a few of the strange and wonderful things babies do that may seem odd but are actually completely normal. If you see your little one constantly kicking their legs and moving their arms, it doesn't mean something is wrong. Here's what your little one's quirks mean.

Read more
How many calories should I let my teen eat per day? The answer is complicated
How to understand your teen's calorie needs
Teenage boy taking food from fridge

From the time a child is born and through the elementary years, a lot of focus is put on their nutritional health and ensuring they are growing, gaining weight, and hitting their physical milestones for their age. But, as kids get older and become teens, their nutritional needs change from when they were younger. Teens can go through a variety of different phases where they never seem interested in eating at all, or they can't seem to eat enough, leaving many parents to wonder how many calories should a teenager eat in a day.

Just like every young child is different, so too are teens, which means their caloric needs are also different. This also means there's no one answer as to how many calories a teen should eat in a day. Diet culture and disordered eating are also things parents need to be aware of when discussing a teen's diet, especially if obesity or weight is an issue. Helping teens focus on healthy eating habits is the key to ensuring they are eating enough calories a day, as well as maintaining a healthy weight, and ensuring they are developing a good relationship with food.

Read more