Houston, we have a pacifier problem

by Erin L. on February 20, 2013

Miss E is one month shy of two years old. She’s a happy, well-adjusted child and is, what I considerto be, a pretty normal toddler. We have two modes: adorable or heinous. I obviously prefer the adorable mode.

Last Saturday night, I was sitting at a dinner table with a two editors, another writer and a pediatric dentist and his wife. We were talking about our kids, their dental health and showing off some pictures. The dentist (Dr. Todd from Oregon!) mentioned something in passing about how they took their child’s pacifier away when they realized that their mouth was almost always open (something about the way the soft palate was forming.) When the binky went bye-bye, the child’s mouth closed.

As I was scrolling through my photo gallery on my phone, I noticed two things.

1) In 80% of the pictures, Miss E had a paci in her mouth.
2) In the other 20% (minus ones where she is laughing or yelling), her mouth is open.


Of course, as I go into a semi-freak out at the dinner table, Dr. Todd assured me. “When she ditches the paci, her mouth will close.”┬áBut he did advise me to start trying to wean her sooner rather than later.

I’ve read online that most dentists recommend that pacifier use stop somewhere between 3 and 4 to avoid any dental problems. But after talking with several dentists at this conference, I knew I was going to come home and jump right in.

How did we get here?

I honestly don’t know how we got to a point where the paci goes everywhere with us. She doesn’t USE it constantly but we always have it – the car especially. So that’s where I started.

No more paci in the car.

The first day she screamed most of the way to school. That was super fun. Today was better.

Bug was done with his paci at 18 months and really never used it outside of his crib. E is pretty much addicted to hers. Coupled with her lovey, it’s her “calm me down, life is good” drug.

For now, I’m not trying to go cold turkey. I’m not ready to snip it or poke a hole in it. I just want it to be a crib only thing – naps and bedtime – no daytime.

Maybe we need a song? Yes, yes I think we do.

Stay tuned and send wine.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sarah C. February 21, 2013 at 8:41 am

The paci is a tricky thing! We began restricting D’s to crib only at 6 months old except for long car rides. The push to force the end came around 2.5yo when he managed to bite a hole in the end of two. We finally went cold turkey. It was a rough few nights and I swear he asked for it for about 3 weeks. Grateful now he only wants his lovey to have for bedtime and thinks he’s too big to use it for naps at school (made that decision on his own!). Good luck with this transition!


2 Erin L. February 21, 2013 at 9:55 am

One step forward, two steps back. We discovered one in the car today. She was STOKED. I was grossed out as I can’t imagine how dirty it was. She refused to give it up. My girl has a death bite :)


3 Tina @ Life Without Pink February 22, 2013 at 9:28 am

I went through this with my oldest. When he was like 2 1/2 I just got rid of it. I told him I couldn’t find it and luckily he was ok with that! Good luck!


4 Catherine February 22, 2013 at 11:25 am

My oldest was a thumb sucker so we just waited it out until she was old enough to reason with. We talked with her about it and she stopped. My baby is a pacifier addict. She doesn’t use it all the time but like Miss E she uses it to calm down, fall asleep and sometimes just keep herself entertained in the car. We always have it with us. I bought a stuffed animal that holds the binky in it’s hand in hops of transferring some of those good binky feelings to the animal. Hopefully some day she’ll be comforted by the animal as much as the paci. I’m not sure what we’ll do in the future but for now at 8 months, I’m just going to let her have it as much as she wants.


5 Dresden (@DresdenPlaid) February 22, 2013 at 11:37 am

It was a process with W. At around 1.5 we started the “Patsy* can’t leave the house rule.” Then a few months later it was, “Patsy lives in the bedroom.”

W is almost 4 now and he sometimes puts Patsy in while we read stories but that is it. It was a process but all along I wanted/needed it to be collaborative.

The good news is that W just had his 1st dentist appointment and his dentist said everything looked good!

*Patsy = Patsy Cline (the name of all of his pacifiers)


6 HipMamaB February 22, 2013 at 1:13 pm

Both my kids had binkies until 3… when we ditched them, they had an issue for a day or so then got over it… she will be fine. Stop stressing mama – she will need orthadontia either way. LOL


7 Jo-Lynne {Musings of a Housewife} February 22, 2013 at 1:21 pm

my kids never took a paci – not for lack of trying, but it just never was something any of them cared for. they weren’t thumb suckers either. I am so glad I didn’t have to take anything away. I’m sure that is going to be no fun. :-) Good luck!!!


8 Jessica @FoundtheMarbles February 22, 2013 at 2:37 pm

We got rid of my son’s paci on his 2nd birthday. We told him that he was a big boy now and we were going to give his paci’s to the new babies who needed them. I thought it was going to be super traumatic because he was so addicted to it. On his birthday we packed up all the paci’s and gave them to a teacher at his preschool. She made a huge deal about how nice it was of him to “give” his paci’s to the new babies. He was so proud. (She got rid of them, of course.) That night he asked for it a couple of times and we reminded them about the babies. He had one or two nights of restless sleep and never asked again.


9 Lolli @ Better in Bulk February 22, 2013 at 2:38 pm

My kids didn’t take pacifiers, just like Jo-Lynne’s. I wished they could…while they were little. And then I was glad they didn’t when I didn’t have anything to take away.


10 Rajean February 22, 2013 at 3:54 pm

We called them binkies. Funny enough, my son, who nursed the longest of my four – two years, never used one. He went from breast to nothing. My girls all breastfed from 4 months up to 16 months and all wanted a binkie when not nursing. Each person is different. I did try to take it out of their mouths when I snapped photos. We went cold turkey – all were ‘lost.’ A rough few days and nights but we got through it.


11 sherry February 23, 2013 at 9:47 am

My kid never had a paci for this reason..plus my son used me as a human paci My sister would cut the end and say there were broken and make the child depose of them. I heard someone else who was driving and make them fly out the window (littering).
I wish you the best.


12 Grace {Formerly Gracie} February 23, 2013 at 4:56 pm

We just got rid of my daughter’s bink after a year of slow and painful weening. We made it a “nap/bedtime only” thing before finally getting rid of it. Along the way, I made the process as much as possible “her choice”. She was in charge of putting in her bed so that she would know exactly where it was for nap. I repeated “binks are just for bed” over and over until it sunk in.

She finally got rid of the stinkin’ thing when we moved to a new house. I don’t recommend moving… However, maybe you can time the paci’s departure to coincide with some big event like her next birthday or a family trip. We built it up and got her excited about all of the changes weeks ahead of time. My mantra changed to “no binks in the new house” and once we moved, it was no big deal to give it up.



13 Carol February 24, 2013 at 12:04 am

We are in the same boat, almost 2 and totally addicted to it AT HOME. Somehow her teacher got her to give it up at daycare. Part of me thinks its not a huge deal and she’ll give it up when she’s ready.


14 ConnieFoggles February 24, 2013 at 1:48 am

Each child is different. My older daughter ditched her “uh oh” as soon as she went to daycare and saw that no one else in her nap area had one. My younger dd never used a paci, but sucked her thumb. Imagine having something attached to your body and needing to give it up? The magic age was 5 when she was ready. Good luck!


15 Jessica @Bkeepsushonest February 24, 2013 at 4:54 pm

Jude used a paci until about 1 then we restricted it to the crib, then he ditched it around 2. Ironically, he has awesome teeth. Noah never used a paci and his teeth are all kinds of crazy. Don’t worry too much about it, give her time to adjust and whatever weaning technique works for you works.


16 Lisa Frame February 26, 2013 at 8:20 am

Peanut never took a paci, however I helped with my nephews. We told him there were babies without paci’s and we were going to give his to them so they’d have one. We counted down on a calendar and he put them in a box. It took about 3 days after that — with a few meltdowns, etc. But 3 days.


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