Trying to get a toddler to give up their pacifier really is a real battle for parents.
I know that out of my 3, one never took a paci; one we had to get rid of at 2 (per the doctor’s direction); and well, #3 will be 3 in a few months and she is still crazy obsessed with it.
With a little bit of crowd-sourcing from other mamas – here is are tips to get rid of the pacifier:
1. Cold turkey. I’m going to be real here. I don’t know how successful that is and I am 100% certain, it would not work in my case. When it comes to my kids crying – I’m a softy. I would be a bigger mess than the child! If it works for you though – great!
2. Weaning. I have heard this a few different ways.
One suggestion was to talk to the child about it and restrict times when they can have the paci – only in the car, first waking, just before bed. After a little time, then cut out one of those times (for me, it would be cutting out the morning before cutting out the car ride or bedtime!)
Another suggestion is weaning where they are only given it at bedtime and nap time and then reduce use from that stage.
Either way you choose to wean (if you choose to wean) – once the paci is lost or ruined, there is no replacing it! (Which I have been on for a few months now – she was told that I won’t buy her anymore so once she chews through the last handful she has hidden in my house – I’m not buying more!)
Unfortunately, some children are as stubborn as their parents and weaning does nothing but make them find other ones that were once “lost”.
3. Strategically start putting holes in them. They still have access to the paci but they won’t work as intended and hopefully will become less satisfying. (I know A hates holes in her pacis and won’t use them if they have holes so it may be a successful plan for us!)
We were told when we had to get B off the paci that when he set it down somewhere, quick pick it up, cut the nipple off and then place it back where he left it. When he went to retrieve it, it would be ‘broken’ and he wouldn’t want it. I can say that worked and after maybe 2 nights, it was done and over with.
We have tried this with A and she manages to find “lost” pacis shortly after one gets a hole so this is still a work in progress.
4. Stories. I have heard a few different stories…
Leaving them on the window sill for someone (angel? fairy?) to pick them up and take them to other little babies who need them.
The birthday fairy comes on the third birthday to take all the paci’s for new babies who need them, because turning 3 means they are a big kid/boy/girl.
A deceased loved one takes them for the babies who need them.
Whatever story you think might work with your kid – try it. I know A was all about giving her paci to a baby on television the other night but then took it back after a few minutes! With the upcoming holidays, we have been trying get her to give it to Santa.
5. Create something special. A friend of mine said she took her son to Build a Bear Workshop where he picked out a bear to stuff. They put all the pacis inside the bear before stuffing it so that once it was stuffed, he could hold on to the pacis via the bear, but not actually suck on them. It was a comfort for him to still have them (but a relief to mommy that he wasn’t sucking them!) I think this one will be our next step with A!
No matter how you do it, if you do it, it’s a success!
If you have any ideas that we missed, leave us a comment or join in on the pacifier conversation on our Facebook page! We would love to hear what nickname the pacifier has at your home and how you successful lost the paci for good!