Getting Rid Of A Pacifier
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A pacifier can be a real lifesaver when you need some peace and quiet. However, it can become a real problem the older your child becomes.
Pacifiers are a simple tool in any parent’s arsenal that can be used to help calm and quiet a baby down. It’s pretty incredible how quickly a pacifier will get a baby to stop screaming. They’re wonderful.
On the flip side, pacifiers are nightmares as your child becomes older. They may scream and scream to have their pacifier, and it may be the only way to calm your child down. Pacifiers, while not necessarily dangerous, can certainly lead to possessive and disruptive behaviors in your child.
The question then becomes: how do I get rid of a pacifier?
For newborns, or young babies
You’re lucky if your child is still young - this will be the easiest time to remove the pacifier from your child. The longer you wait to start the process, the harder it will become to get rid of it.
The number one thing about a pacifier is to only give it your child when and if they need it. There is absolutely no reason to force your child to use a pacifier if they don’t want it. Some children simply don’t need a pacifier like others kids. Similarly, forcing a pacifier in your child’s mouth when they are happy and smiling is a sure way to get them hooked on their pacifier.
If your child will go to sleep without the pacifier, then let them. I’ve seen far too many parents eagerly jam a pacifier in a baby’s mouth to sleep when they’re not even asking for it. If you put your baby down to sleep and they can’t calm themselves down, then give it to them, but otherwise don’t force it.
As your child grows older, try different tactics to not give your child a pacifier to calm them down. While a pacifier can be a lifesaver for your ears quickly, it will also mean it’s the first thing your child will want as they get older if it’s the first thing you give to them. Rock, sing, or hum to your child to try to calm them before resorting to a pacifier.
The only time that we would immediately give a pacifier to our kids was when we were at someone else’s house, or in public, and the baby started to scream. Otherwise, the pacifier rarely would go into our child’s mouth, even when screaming at home. Obviously, after being unable to calm a child, we’d resort to a pacifier, but those occasions became rarer as the child got older. Once our child was calm, we would take the pacifier back - no reason to let them suck on it for hours on end if they’re happy without it (this doesn’t always work as they may start screaming again).
By the time the child turns one, the only time you should be using the pacifier is in the bed. Do not let them have it when playing around the hose or outside. Let them know that a pacifier is only for babies in their crib, and that’s where it stays. They can get it when they go to sleep.
To wean your child off their pacifier, do not offer it to them at night. If they ask for it, you can give it to them, but otherwise there’s no reason to force them to use it. If your child doesn’t stop using it on their own, then set a specific date and tell them that the pacifier fairy needs to take the pacifier back (or some other tale that your child might believe). While this will be painful for a few nights, it will be worth it in the long run. Let your child cry themselves to sleep. Over the next few days and nights, it will get better (the second night will probably be worse though).
For children over the age of 1
If you’re late to the game of getting the pacifier, and your child is used to having it at more than just night time, then your journey will likely be a bit tougher. Your child will be used to having their pacifier in their mouth, and it will be what they’ve found to comfort them.
The first place to start is by removing the pacifier during daytime hours. This may have to be slow at first, but each morning you should tell your child that the pacifier needs to stay in the crib as it’s only for babies. Give them the chance to leave it there. If they don’t, you’ll need to do so yourself. Leave the pacifier in the room.
You may have to get the pacifier at times throughout the day, but don’t let your child control when they have it. Give it to them to calm them down, and then work on getting it back from them by trading with them for something else. Your goal is to cut down on how long they have the pacifier in their mouth each day. This is not an easy task, and there will likely be plenty of screaming and crying to go along with it.
Once you’ve weaned your child off of the pacifier during the day, the next goal is to get them off of it at night. Much of the same advice from the younger babies applies here. Don’t give them the pacifier if they don’t ask for it; Don’t force them to take it; Set a date when the pacifier will no longer be allowed; Let them cry it out.
For an older child, this process will likely take longer as they will really have grown accustomed to the pacifier, and it will be very calming for them. Be patient and consistent, and realize that you’ll invariably get tired of the screaming.
Removing a pacifier from your child’s life is just one of the many steps that must occur as your child grows. It can be a lot of work, but the sooner you can get it over with, the sooner your child can learn other ways to comfort themselves.