A pacifier has many different names; binky, dummy, dum dum, bink, suckie and literally TONS of others. One thing is for certain though, you are going to go through hell trying to stop your baby or toddler from using it!
Oh, my Son called his a Dur Dur by the way!
There are so many ideas you can use to get your baby to stop using the dummy and so many reasons why you need to stop them using it.
I am also pretty sure that no-one on this planet followed the process I used to wean my Son off of his pacifier! Whilst there are plenty of alternatives to a pacifier, his choice was bizarre!
Why Do Babies Use A Pacifier?
For most babies, it is because they need pacifying….hence the name! Being born and getting used to this strange world is difficult, and when you are scared, 1 week old and can’t talk to anyone, you just end up crying, right?
You as a Dad are lacking sleep, lacking peace and need an answer. Try a pacifier. Not you, give it to the baby!
When a baby has a pacifier, it gives them comfort, and for the most part, will stop them crying.
In my case, my Son was in intensive care for the first few days of his life and the only way they could get him to stop crying was by giving him a pacifier. We took that on!
Why You Should Stop Your Baby Or Toddler Using a Pacifier
There are two main reasons why you will need to wean your baby off a pacifier:
1 – You want their teeth to develop correctly.
When using a pacifier for extended periods of time, your babies teeth may start to grow outwards, instead of straight up or down.
2 – You do not have to search under their bed at 3 am anymore
I have been there. I am woken up by the sound of a pacifier hitting the floor and it is not going to be long before you are in there on your hands and knees looking for it. Save yourself the both, and get them to stop using a pacifier!
Stop Your Baby Or Toddler Using a Pacifier
1. The Big Bang Approach
Simple – they wake up, you tell them they are not using their pacifier anymore and throw it away.
For the next few days, life will be tough and sleep will be a challenge. After those few days, it is plain sailing!
Your kid might surprise you though, and the problems could stretch out for weeks….or could end straight away, who knows!
If you go for this approach, you are a braver person than me!
2. The Pacifier Fairy
This did not work for my Son, but it has worked for many people I know.
Tell them to put it in a box by a door and tell them a fairy will come and collect it while they are asleep so they can give it to a small baby who needs it because they have grown out of using a pacifier.
Obviously, they will need to be an age where they can understand what all that means. Telling a 6-month old that a pacifier fairly exists is just a waste of words.
3. Tell Them Santa Is Watching
I warmed my Son up with this one and I am pretty sure this stopped daytime pacifier use!
It is easy – Santa thinks they are too old to use a pacifier, so if they get rid of it, Santa will bring an extra special present this year.
You are better off trying this around Christmas time when they are getting excited about Christmas. January just won’t cut it!
4. Cut The Ends Off
This also did not work for my Son. In fact, it cost me money because I gave up and bought a new one.
Cutting the end off works ok with Babies, but I left it too long, he knew what I had done!
If your kid is 6-months old, it might work as it has worked for many people I know. When a child is over 1-year old, they know what you are up to!
5. Appeal To Their Compassionate Nature
This is almost the same as the pacifier fairy but it differs slightly.
Buy a box and decorate it together. Explain to them that inside this box will be a present for Babies that are not very well…..this works for slightly older kids.
You could start by saying ‘Is there anything you want to put inside the box?’ That way, they will begin to think about things that will comfort a poorly Baby. Maybe they will remember when they were not very well and think about what helped them.
If they do not say pacifier, you could guide them into suggesting it. The key thing here is THEY suggest putting the pacifier in the box. That is really powerful.
Assuming they do not suggest putting the pacifier in the gift box, you will need to suggest it. If they agree, then you are in with a really good shot at getting rid of it!
Simply put the pacifier in the box and get them to say good-bye. Get them to say ‘go and help the other children’.
7. Built It Up Over Time
The opposite of the big bang approach! Drawing out the weaning process will give your child time to process what is going to happen and will act to prepare them for the big day when they finally give us using their pacifier!
Start by telling them ‘This Saturday, we are going to get rid of your pacifier.’
As each day passes, remind them of how many days are left until Saturday. Use the first few days to drive the point home before suggesting they stop using it during the day in preparation.
As the big day approaches, use constant reminders. When Saturday (Or whichever day you chose) finally arrives, you should have a child who is well prepared for life without a pacifier!
Get Your Child To Lose The Pacifier – What Worked For Me
To get my Son to stop using his pacifier was a long, drawn-out process.
It started with some failed attempts at the big bang approach. It would have worked if I did not back down, but I did. I learned from that too.
The following process worked for my Son:
Step 1 – The big bang theory for daytime pacifier use.
I removed access to his pacifier during the day. That was a little easier than I expected, but it was still pretty tough. I had to stand firm this time. He learned that I would back down and this was my chance to put him straight. The pacifier was removed.
Step 2 – Build him up to total removal, immediately after removing day-time use.
It was after Summer, and he was getting used to not having it during the day. I gave him 1 month to get used to the idea, which in hindsight, was probably too long!
Every day I would remind him that he will soon be getting rid of the night-time pacifier.
Step 3 – Remind him that pacifier use is for Babies only.
During the month, I would remind him that Babies are the only ones who should be using a pacifier. Those comments were backed up with reminders about him growing up, such as ‘Babies can’t do that, can they!’ and ‘Wow, that’s great, you are a big boy now!’……I was attempting to embed the whole growing up thing, obviously!
Step 4 – Figure out the ‘giving up the pacifier’ gift.
Towards the end of the month, we would sit down and figure out what present he was going to be receiving when he went a whole week without his pacifier in bed. As he was 2 at the time (I know, I left it too late!) each day there was something new he wanted – it was going to be difficult pinning him down for one present!
Step 5 – Get it done!
The month is up, and it just so happened that he was big into boxing that week. He wanted his own boxing gloves because he was bored of using mine to hit me around the head with!
I sat him down and reminded him the month was up. I said I would go and buy him some boxing gloves that day, only if he promised to go to bed without his pacifier.
That night, he went to bed shortly after saying to me ‘I don’t want my dur dur tonight Daddy, I want to wear my boxing gloves.’
The next day, I threw his pacifier away and we have never looked back!
You have so many tools in your arsenal when it comes to weaning your child from using their pacifier! I have been through my 7 favorites above and I hope one of them works out for you.
It is going to be a tough time for you all, but learn from my mistakes and do not give in!
Kids are clever. They do not look it, but they are. As soon as you begin to give in to their whims, they know that have you by the short and curlies. They know you are going to give in, and they expect it.
When it comes to throwing away the pacifier, stand firm, do not give up! Even at 3 am when they are crying out for it, be an Oak tree.
If they start to make you angry, I have some tips for keeping you cool!
I wish you good luck in your battle, and I hope they surprise you and it all goes better than expected.
You should aim for the best, but expect the worst! You can’t go wrong.