5 Tips to Wean Your Child Off a Pacifier


After days (perhaps, weeks) of deliberation, you’ve finally decided that today is the day to start weaning your child off the pacifier!

Although reasons for weaning a child off of a pacifier vary, most child development experts agree that families should adopt a process to transition their child from using their pacifier (it won’t happen overnight -- and that’s OK).

Here are five tips to support you and your child in saying “bye-bye” to the pacifier!

Limit Access

Some experts recommend the “cold turkey” process for eliminating pacifier usage. If you aren’t a fan of this process, try limiting access to the binky. 

Explain to your child that she can have binky at nap time and bedtime ONLY. After a couple of weeks, eliminate offering at nap time. Allow for several weeks to pass before eliminating at bedtime. 

There may be some fussiness and crying when working through limiting access to the pacifier, but remember this is part of the process and this too shall pass.

Alternate Choice

There are many reasons why children use pacifiers. But the most common reason is for self- comfort. Have several alternate choices available for your child to use as a replacement for binky. A soft blanket or cuddly stuffed animal are good alternatives for your child to use for comfort and to ease into relaxation for sleep.

New Sleep Routine

Often, the pacifier is a communicative trigger that “it’s sleepy time.” If this’s the case with your child, introduce a new sleep routine to prepare for nap time and bedtime. Reading a book, singing a lullaby, or playing soothing music 5-10 minutes prior to laying down for sleep are good replacement ideas to communicate to your little one that it is time to calm your body and ease into sleep.

We Are in This Together

Make sure all caregivers are aware you’ve started to wean your child off using a pacifier. Parents, grandparents, childcare teachers, babysitters, and anyone else who may care for your child need to know the weaning process you are using with your child. 

Communicating the details of when your child can have the pacifier and providing access to an alternate calming item, like their blanket or stuffed animal, to replace the pacifier are essential for all caregivers to understand. This will help with being consistent and will decrease weaning time.

Timing Is Everything

There are times in your child’s life that starting the pacifier-weaning process is just not a good idea. 

Periods of significant change like moving homes, graduation from crib to toddler bed, a caregiver change (i.e. divorce or changing childcare center), a recent sickness like stomach bug, or other temporary stress like immunization shots are examples of times when getting rid of the binky could have unsuccessful results and increase anxiety in your child and your child’s caregivers.

You will experience some cranky and frustrating moments while weaning your child off the pacy. But being prepared, consistent, and trusting the process will be the ingredients needed for permanently saying “bye-bye” to the pacifier!

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