By: Katrina Wasserman M.S., CCC-SLP
Pacifiers are wonderful, until they are not! Getting rid of the pacifier is a rite of passage for parents and children. It can be an overwhelming task since pacifiers become some children’s most beloved items. Here are some ideas to help you and your child become pacifier-free!
Cold turkey – It may sound harsh, but within a few days the pacifier will no longer be missed.
Cutting the nipple – Progressively enlarge the hole at the center of the pacifier’s nipple. Many children will lose interest since it does not provide the same sensation. Be careful that it is not a choking hazard.
Limit Pacifier Use – By 12 months, only offer the pacifier during naps and at night. Collect them and put them away during the day so you and your child are not tempted to use them. Progress to using it only at bedtime and then get rid of it altogether!
Pacifier Fairy – For older children, you can collect all the pacifiers in the house and put them in a special box. The pacifier fairy will take the pacifiers and leave a present in return.
Pacifier Garden – You can “plant” the pacifiers in your garden. The next day, a garden of lollipops will bloom!
Give advance notice – Choose a day and tell your child you will be getting rid of the pacifiers that day. You may suggest that they are going to be recycled to make “big kid toys” or “passing the torch” by giving them to a younger family member/friend. Tell the child once a day for a few days leading up to the event. On the chosen date, have a pacifier send-off.
It is best to chose a time when your child is not going through any major life events like a new sibling, starting a new daycare/school, potty training, or moving out of the crib into a bed. There may be a few rough days but when you decide to stop the pacifier, be sure to follow through with it. Within a few days your child will forget that they were once so attached to their pacifier!