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Pacifier. Binky. Soothie. Plug. Mute Button. Whatever you call it, this little plastic contraption has become a staple in your little one’s life, comforting them since infancy. Now that they are getting older, you’re finding that the pacifier isn’t a convenience anymore, it’s actually becoming a nuisance. It’s time to conquer the parenting trial known as the pacifier wean.
Have you ever had the joy of tearing apart your house mid-toddler tantrum to try to find a pacifier? Or the pleasure of deciphering your toddler’s already confusing vocabulary with a binky hanging out of their mouth? If so, it’s probably time for it to go. You can always just go cold turkey, tossing all of them in the trash and winging it, but here are some fun ideas that make the pacifier wean a little bit easier on your child. And on you.
Just like when weaning from breastfeeding, cosleeping, or swaddling, we recommend slowly weaning your child from their pacifier. Start with only allowing them to have it at night/nap time before going through with any of these ideas. It will make the final step of the pacifier wean easier.
5 Ways to Master the Pacifier Wean
Cut It, Literally
Take your toddler’s beloved binky and snip just a tiny bit off the tip of the nipple. Your child will instantly realize something doesn’t feel right when they can’t get the suction on it that they are used to. One little snip may be enough for them to lose interest in it alone, but if that doesn’t work, try snipping off a little bit more each day until there is hardly anything left for them to put in their mouth.
Slowly, they will lose interest in it. If they ask what’s going on and seem upset about it, just tell them that it is broken and that they are becoming a big kid now and don’t need a baby pacifier anymore.
The Binky/Paci Fairy
This pacifier weaning technique is similar to the tooth fairy. Prepare your little one in advance by informing them that the binky fairy will be visiting while they are sleeping. Explain to them that she will be coming by to take away their pacifier and will leave a surprise in return.
Before your little one wakes the next day, throw away any pacifiers you have left. Put them in the trash outside your house, so you aren’t tempted to give them one later. And make sure you find them ALL. Your toddler will absolutely find the one you couldn’t.
To assist in your pacifier weaning endeavor, check out these adorable children’s books: Goodbye Binky: The Binky Fairy Story and The Paci-Fairy.
Then, you can make the morning as elaborate of an event as you want. Decorate their room with balloons from the binky fairy and set out a present and a thank you note from the fairy herself. The excitement your toddler feels will drown out any sadness over losing their pacifier. Once the excitement wears off and they start requesting their paci again, you can remind them that the binky fairy took them all away. You’re not the bad guy this way!
Trade It In
Explain to your toddler that they are getting big and that pacifiers are for babies, so it’s time to trade it in for something new. Take them to a local toy store, along with any pacifiers they still use and let them pick out a new toy (obviously steering them to an affordable section of the store).
When it’s time to check out, explain to the cashier that your toddler is a big boy/girl now and is trading in their pacifier for a new toy. Have your toddler hand over any pacis you brought to the cashier in exchange for their new toy, all while you are paying. Have the cashier throw them away right then and there. This way there really is no turning back.
Give it To A New Baby
Do you have any friends or family members with new babies? If so, take advantage of the opportunity to explain to your toddler that pacifiers are for babies. Let them know that the new baby really needs some pacifiers and encourage them to pass their pacifier on to the baby.
Help your toddler decorate a gift bag or box and wrap up the pacifier. Put it in the mail or hand-deliver it to the new baby. Make sure you let your toddler know how nice it was to share with the baby and how happy the baby is to have their beloved binky.
Read More: 5 Rules for Safe Cosleeping
Throw a Bye, Bye, Binky Party
Make saying goodbye to the binky a celebration by throwing a going-away party in its honor! Get a cake, some party hats, some balloons and make it fun and memorable for your little one. This party can be used in combination with any of the above tactics after the pacifier wean is complete. It acts as another positive association with the loss.
Whatever your pacifier weaning method of choice, make the loss of your child’s dear pacifier have a happy twist. Within a couple of days, they won’t even miss it anymore.
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Photo Credit: Pixabay, Rebecca Alwine