Thinking about getting rid of pacifier, binky, soother, dummy baby implements or whatever that thing is called? If so, then it might be time to prepare for battle.
When it comes to getting rid of the pacifier at night, nothing beats consistency, good timing and maybe even a good story line. So, if you’ve been wondering how to get your toddler to sleep without a pacifier, you’ve come to the right place!
When to Get Rid of the Dummy
Generally speaking, the pacifier can be good for both you and baby, at a certain age. Studies have shown that pacifiers can reduce the risk of SIDS, can give mom and dad a break, and can, well…pacify your baby!
But, despite their many benefits, there is going to be a time when you’ll have to start thinking about getting rid of the paci. But when should you take away the pacifier?
Experts seem to agree: The earlier, the better.
Once your child hits that independent, “You can’t tell me what to do!” phase, you may be up the creek. That’s not to say that it can’t be done, just that you’ll likely have a more difficult time getting rid of binky now, than if you had done so earlier.
The ideal age to start thinking about taking away the pacifier is typically between 5-6 months old. By that time, your little one may have finally settled into a sleeping routine, and you can slowly begin to remove the pacifier by implementing whatever method you prefer.
With a baby this age, though you may have to suffer a few nights of loud wails and unrelenting protests, he or she will likely forget about it over time, and things can get back to normal again.
If you’re already past that point, however, don’t panic. We’ve got a few suggestions that’ll hopefully help with getting rid of the pacifier at night, for good!
How to Get Rid of the Dummy
There are a couple of different ways you can go about getting rid of the dummy. Depending on the age of your child, some techniques may work better than others.
One technique is called the “pull-out” or “Pantley” method. This involves you allowing your child to fall asleep with the pacifier, then, ever so gently, pulling it back out of his or her mouth once they are asleep.
As time goes on, you’ll begin to do this while your child is “drowsy but awake”. The idea is that, eventually, your child will learn to fall asleep on his or her own without needing the pacifier.
Another technique is to transition your toddler towards getting rid of the pacifier at night by providing him or her with a replacement object. The goal is that your child becomes so distracted by what you have given them, that they eventually forget all about that silly old binky.
Note: A word of caution here. Be sure that whatever you give your kiddo as a replacement for his or her pacifier is safe and age-appropriate. If implementing this technique, you should not place any objects, stuffed animals, toys, blankets or the like in a crib with infants under the age of 1.
One final technique we recommend you try, is to tell your children that other babies “need” the pacifiers they currently have.
Make this fun! Have your child gather up all of the pacifiers around the house in a bag. You can even have them decorate their bag. Then, take the bag outside and set it on the porch. Do this close to bedtime, so that they aren’t seeing the bag on the porch throughout the day. Remove the bag while they are sleeping, and throw those pacifiers away!
Whoo hoo, you did it!
How Do I Get Rid of the Pacifier at Night?
Now, are we saying that any of these methods are fool-proof? No.
Are we saying that they’ll absolutely work? No.
What we are saying, however, is that if you use these methods, you’ll likely have better luck with getting rid of the dummy than if you had not.
But what if your toddler won’t sleep without a pacifier at night? Then, what?
The best thing to do when your toddler won’t sleep without a pacifier at night is to remain consistent and to prepare yourself mentally ahead of time. Although the aforementioned techniques have proven helpful to many mamas, the truth is that you may have to cross over hell and high water at night to get to where you want to be. And that’s okay!
In addition to the methods provided, it is also recommended that you talk to your toddler a few nights prior to prepare them for what is about to take place. Tell them you think they are getting older, “bigger”, wiser, more mature…whatever it is that you think will give them the confidence to give paci the boot. Then, choose one or two of those methods and brace yourself.
It won’t be easy, but getting your toddler to sleep without the pacifier will totally be worth it!
How to Get Toddler to Sleep Without a Pacifier
If your toddler won’t sleep without a pacifier no matter what you do, you may wish to try these techniques.
- “Cut the Tip” – That’s right! Go ahead and just snip the tip on that bad boy! But, don’t do it while your child is watching. Leave it somewhere where your child can find it, and when they show it to you, calmly explain that it must be “broken”.
- Strengthen Sleep Routines – Not every parent will love the “cut the tip” approach. So, if that’s you, you may wish to strengthen what remains in regards to your bedtime routine. Don’t have a bedtime routine in place? Now is a great time to establish one. Activities like eating, bathing, reading, praying or anything else, in a consistent and predictable manner, will bring a level to security to your child as you attempt to wean your toddler off of the dummy.
- Read Books and Discuss – As a part of strengthening your bedtime routine, you could add a children’s book or two that discusses the topic of letting a pacifier go. Can’t find a book that specific? Opt for one that deals with becoming more responsible, leadership or becoming a “big” boy or girl, instead.
Dummies For 2-Year-Olds
Many will ask, “Should a 2 year old still have a pacifier?”.
Of course, our answer to that is no.
But how should you go about taking a pacifier away from a 2-year-old or an 18-month-old?
It probably goes without saying, but this won’t be easy. Two-year-old children are well-known for their outlandish behavior, all of which is understandable, albeit frustrating. At this age, your child is exploring his or her newfound independence, and may be flexing their oppositional muscles quite often. As such, you can expect that a pacifier for a 2-year-old won’t be given up easily, and you’ll likely be met with tears, tantrums and screams.
As frustrating as it may sound, don’t give up. If you give in to your 2-year-old’s tantrum, you are likely to be met with the same tantrum over and over again. Over time, it’ll wear you down.
Instead, pick a method for trashing pacifiers for 2-year-olds, and stick to it. Empathize with your child’s emotions, but don’t cave in. As time goes on, you’ll find that your toddler has forgotten all about their beloved binky, and will likely have moved on to the next big thing.
Should a 3-Year-Old Still Have a Pacifier?
Okay parents, now it’s really time to put your foot down!
Pacifier weaning for a 3-year-old is crucial, as he or she will soon be entering preschool. At this point, you can expect the removal of the pacifier to be heart-breaking and emotional for your child, but not impossible.
For this age, try tapping into your 3-year-old’s desire to take responsibility and try new things. Tell your child that he or she is “so big now” and can begin to do things they don’t normally do! Have this pep talk a few days before you attempt any removal methods.
Then, purchase your child an item or two that will help bolster a sense of responsibility such as a brand new hairbrush set, a new toothbrush, or simply give them new tasks to do with you around the house.! They’ll likely gladly trade-in that pacifier for all of the new items and activities they’re being introduced to.
It’s certainly worth a shot!
Our Best Tips for Getting Rid of the Pacifier
- Make it Fun: Taking away the pacifier cold turkey may sound like a drag, but it doesn’t have to be! If your child is old enough to understand and follow a simple story line, go ahead and make it fun using the methods we mentioned earlier. Encourage them and celebrate their efforts. Make it as enjoyable as you can!
- Be Unyielding: Along with making it fun will need to come a level of resilience from you. There will be times during the process when weaning from a pacifier for sleep will be anything but fun. Put a plan in place that will help you to stay firm, even when you don’t want to. Whatever you do, don’t give in. Over time, caving in will only teach your toddler that he or she can manipulate you, and it’ll only become more difficult for them to get rid of the paci.
- Take a Progressive Approach: Rather than taking away the pacifier cold turkey, you try a progressive approach like the Pantley or pull out method. You can also consider slowly beginning the process by restricting the pacifier only to night time hours, before you carefully begin weaning from the binky at night, too.
- Find What Works For You: This brings us to our last point. You have to do what works best for you, mama! You know your child best, and the pacifier alternatives for toddlers that may work for one parent, may not work for another. So, stay flexible and be sure to take your child’s needs and personality into account before selecting the method that is the best fit for your family.
All in all , getting rid of pacifier at night is no easy feat. Pick a method suitable for your little one, their age and their circumstance. Though annoying to you, try to understand that this is something that your child has grown accustomed to. As a result, getting rid of the dummy is bound to be a little stressful. But, who knows? With a little effort, you may be pleasantly surprised at the ease of the process!
Wondering if you should even start your child on a dummy in the first place? Take a peek at this article to determine if the introduction of the dummy to your baby is the right option for you.
You’ve got this, mama! Be strong and carry on!
By the way, if you’re looking for how to wean your baby off the breast, we’ve also got just the thing for you! Read more on introducing the bottle to your breastfed baby.