Is it time to say goodbye to the binky? Every child is different, so the right time to wean from a pacifier varies, but there are some basic guidelines and tips that apply to most families.

When To Wean From a Pacifier

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) endorses pacifier use for babies. Beyond 2 to 4 years of age, however, the AAP says pacifier use can cause dental problems. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that you start slowly weaning your child before their second birthday. That way, you have plenty of time to help your child let it go before they are at

risk of changing the shape of their mouth or causing bite misalignment.

How To Wean From a Pacifier

The first step in weaning is to limit the pacifier use to naps, bedtimes, and stressful times, such as after vaccinations. My son had a lot of ear infections, so we also kept a pacifier in the car for long trips to help with any pressure changes.

When you are ready to say goodbye to the pacifier once and for all, your child can send their pacifier to tooth fairy or a relative who lives far away. Many families let older children choose a new toy or stuffed animal as a reward. Your child might have a hard time for a few nights after the pacifier is truly gone. A gentle reminder that they sent the pacifier to the tooth fairy and now have a new teddy bear to snuggle can be really helpful at those times. Be aware that your child may not be sleeping as soundly for a few days, which means you might have a cranky kid for about a week.

Most kids will wean themselves off their pacifiers between two and four years old. If you begin to limit pacifier use before they are two, you will probably have an easier time of it than parents who choose to wait.

This tip was published in the magazine “American Baby” in 2007, but I think it might be a bad idea, what if piece breaks off and your child swallows it. Anyway, I am not recommending it, but it is interesting.

From Kristin in West Chester, OH
“My pediatrician suggested I gradually cut off the tip of my daughter’s pacifier.  I snipped a little bit from the end every few days, and after a week or two, all of the suction was gone.  My doctor was right!  My daughter hasn’t asked for her binky since.”

Ali Smith-Poe is a mom to twins and a freelance writer.

Photo from Les Anderson via Unsplash