Dropping the pacifier can be an overwhelming transition to take on! The Bumblebaby team is sharing their personal experiences with dropping the pacifier. Each child and method was different, but they were all successful at the end!
Finn was a pacifier lover from the start – we gave him a pacifier while in the NICU and he continued to have it at home. I started noticing once we unswaddled him that the wubbanub attachment was wet and realized he was actually soothing with the stuffed animal (we do NOT recommend this or wubbanubs for safe sleep, not to mention they were so nasty from him sucking on them!).
From then on, this was his pacifier! We had “mimi” during sleep and car rides for 3 years. I knew we needed to drop the pacifier at some point but didn’t have the courage – until one night, we couldn’t find any Mimis. We explained to Finn that we didn’t have Mimi and that we could look more in the morning – and he took to it. He cried and was worried, but we sat with him until he fell asleep and he did great! We offered him a lovey which he still sleeps with.
The next few days were a little more rough – naps were definitely harder. But we pushed through and he eventually stopped asking for Mimi.
Bee dropped the pacifier herself at 8 weeks – she had a cold and a stuffy nose, and ever since that point, she refused the pacifier. We offered a lovey at 1 year of age since she would “cluck” on her sleep sac, and she still is obsessed with her “nannies”!
Roey was a BIBS pacifier lover from the start – I was nervous to drop the paci with her because she was SUCH a good sleeper. Her teeth had started to shift from the pacifier and I knew the time had to come soon. But similarly to Finn, one night we couldn’t find the pacifier and that was that – COLD TURKEY! It took her 10 minutes or so of crying to get down to sleep and she woke at 3 am for 3 nights. I did soothe her and rock her back to sleep, which she eventually did. On night 4, no wake ups. And she never looked back! She now loves this Cuddle + Kind mermaid and snuggles with it every night and nap.
In summary – both pacifier lovers did a cold turkey method and it worked well for us!
Palmer was OBSESSED with her wubbanub pacifiers from birth (we do NOT recommend wubbanubs for safe sleep) and around 15 months I made it a rule that they were only for naps and bed time and had to stay in her crib (she had 3 of them). This of course was a struggle for a few days but then she got the routine down and left her wubbanubs in her crib during the day. She has always been a great sleeper, so I didn’t want to disrupt that by taking her pacifiers away. She had them up until she was almost 2.5 years old!
She started to bite off the pacifier nipples (in hindsight I should have taken them away since that is a choking hazard) but one-by-one she started to get upset that she couldn’t pacify on them as she normally had since they were bitten off. I told her that she wasn’t getting anymore pacifiers once the last one was bitten off and the day came when the last one was ripped. She threw a little tantrum before one of her naps and cried and I told her that she didn’t need the pacifier to sleep and she started sucking her thumb instead without my direction. She never looked back and still has the wubbanubs in her crib to sleep with but she doesn’t use them at all to suck on. Her pediatric dentist isn’t thrilled that she’s sucking her thumb now, but it’s how she soothes herself!
In summary, my method was similar to how some parents cut the pacifier nipples little by little, until the nipple is gone and the child doesn’t want it anymore!
My oldest daughter, Delaney, was addicted to her wubbanub pacifier. She wouldn’t go ANYWHERE without it and we were terrified if we ever left it at home unexpectedly. There were many times we had Amazon Prime Now deliver us pacifier back ups if we misplaced any, looking back now I find this hilarious but at the time it felt like life or death. Her pacifiers were so comforting to her that I felt horrible when we couldn’t provide that same level of comfort, therefore we never left home without one.
Fast forward to age 2.5 when I found out I was pregnant with our second baby. I instantly thought “we need to get Delaney off of this pacifier or she will steal every single one from this new baby!” I also knew it was time because our pediatrician and pediatric dentist advised that we drop the pacifier by the time Delaney was 3 due to the pacifier affecting her teeth and also muscle development in her mouth.
To start dropping the paci, we bought and read Delaney books on getting rid of her pacifier and also talked to her about it A TON. We talked about it constantly and came up with a plan, which we shared with her, for saying goodbye to her pacifier.
After about 1-2 weeks of talking about getting rid of her pacifier we started to limit her pacifier use to only in her bedroom and at nap/bedtime. If she ever felt like she needed it at other times she would go into her room, grab a “hit” of her pacifier and then head back out to play. She did really well with this transition and it didn’t seem to bother her too much to only have them during sleep times.
We decided to drop the pacifier right around Christmas time so our plan was for Delaney to leave her pacifiers under the Christmas tree and Santa was going to take them to the baby elves and leave her a present in return. This seems like a silly story but it actually WORKED and Delaney was all on board.
After Santa took Delaney’s pacifiers we had a rough morning/afternoon of missing them but by bedtime she was totally OK. We tried to introduce a new “lovey” to Delaney during this process but she really wasn’t that interested so we let it be. She would cry on and off about her pacifiers for the next couple of weeks but nothing that affected her mood or sleep too much. Overall, I don’t think the transition to no pacifiers could have gone any better! I was feeling very guilty and overwhelmed by this task but kids are so resilient and I was very proud of how Delaney handled it!
Margot never once took a pacifier even though I did try to offer it quite frequently when she was a newborn….complete opposite kiddos!!
With the twins, Ashton and Beckett, we offered the pacifier right away in the hospital, desperately needing sleep from the start. They took to the soothies and the Wubbanubs but had a hard time keeping them in their mouths because they were born a few weeks early, meaning their mouths were small and their suck was not as strong as a term baby. We kept practicing and eventually they got the hang of it and were able to keep the pacifiers in their mouths. Phew! Knowing that babies suck to self soothe I was pro-pacifier from the start and wanted a tool in my toolkit to stop the crying and calm my babies, especially since they outnumbered me!
When they were about 3-4 months old they both stopped taking the pacifier consistently which made me very nervous knowing that I was about to sleep train them soon. Them stopping makes sense to me now because babies lose their sucking reflex somewhere between 6-12 weeks. I frantically went to Target and scoured Amazon looking for pacifiers in all shapes and sizes! For the next several weeks I started trying different pacifiers and I finally found one that worked for Beckett but Ashton never went back. They have been so different starting in the womb!
Beckett then continued to use that pacifier from 6 months to 2.5 years old when it was time for the Paci Fairy to come and take the pacifiers away. We got this idea from Lauren! He had significant teeth shifting and being pregnant with our 3rd son it was time to get rid of it. Leading up to the fairy coming we had many conversations about what was going to happen and limited use to only sleep times.
On the departure day, he put all his pacis in a bag and then there was a present on the doorstep for him (I had to shut them in their room as I made the swap). Nap time was ROUGH that first day. He screamed and wanted his paci back. Bedtime was not great either but each day got better and better and by day 3 he didn’t even ask for it anymore. I would say it was a successful method and as long as you stay consistent and don’t give in, knowing their reaction will lessen each day, they will do great!!
Hudson also self quit the pacifier like Ashton but not until around 6 months. He preferred the BIBS pacifier from the beginning but eventually just stopped taking it. I don’t know if because he was nursing he would soothe and comfort himself that way or just that he is an easygoing kid but this time around once it happened I just let it go and he was totally fine!
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Other helpful blog posts:
- When to transition to a toddler bed
- Potty training tips and how to know your toddler is ready
- How to know your baby is ready for one nap per day
- How to travel with kids
- 10 common illnesses babies + kids get
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