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How to Drop the Pacifier

Updated: Mar 2

Child sucking a pacifier

Remember those sleepless nights when the only savior was that little piece of silicon?

Yes, I'm talking about the pacifier, or as some affectionately call it – the bobo, chupo, soothie, or dummy.

As a parent, I've had my fair share of battles with this tiny object, and I bet you have too!

So how do you know it’s time to drop the pacifier?

There is so much conflicting information out there! The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends the use of pacifiers up to 12 months to prevent the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, especially early on.

The La Leche League cautions breastfeeding mothers to wait until breastfeeding is well established, or at least 4 weeks of age, to introduce a pacifier to avoid nipple confusion.

For you, it might be when your pediatrician or pediatric dentist advises it to prevent dental issues, or when you find yourself tirelessly reinserting it throughout the night. Sometimes, it's just your parental instinct telling you it's time. Trust that feeling – you know your child best!

But HOW do you get rid of this devilish piece of silicone that your child has grown to love and adore?!

Well, lucky for you, this will be the shortest sleep article you read from me because there's no way to sugar coat this one.

If you prefer video content, check out my latest YouTube video on How to Drop the Pacifier below:

Have you tried to drop the pacifier?

  • Yes

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How to Break Up With the Pacifier

The No-Sugarcoating Approach

As a certified sleep consultant, I advocate for the cold turkey method for pacifier weaning. You could purchase the weaning pacifiers they offer on Amazon, but you'll just be delaying the inevitable and it's likely that your child won't take to a new pacifier, increasing their frustration unnecessarily.

To prep for the pacifier being dropped, be sure that they have completely independent sleep established. This will make your lives much easier as they transition. Check out my articles on using the Chair Method or Timed Checks for sleep training.

Age Appropriate Strategies

If your child is under 12 months old, it will be easier to drop the pacifier because there likely won't be much attachment to it and they will more easily forget about it. Simply take the pacifier away completely OR only allow it during non-sleeping times.

Once your child is between 12-24 months and can replace the pacifier reliably on their own, if they are not playing paci-pong with you, then I recommend waiting to remove it until they are a little older. This is the time to work on independent sleep skills, if you haven't already done so. By the time they will be required to drop if through dentist recommendation, you'll have a solid sleep schedule and a toddler who may be easier to reason with. Start to associate other objects with sleep, such as a lovey or stuffie, so it will make the transition easier later on.

If your child is well into the toddler years (2-4 years old), you may need to get creative by giving the pacifier away to the "pacifier fairy" or to a younger sibling. Consider using some kind of positive reinforcers on the nights that they sleep through without crying for their pacifier. Incorporate other objects that allow them to self-soothe, such as a lovey or stuffie.

Are You Playing Pacifier-Pong All Night?

If you're struggling with pacifier weaning and facing sleep challenges, you're not alone. I've been there, and so have many other parents. If you find yourself replacing your baby's pacifier multiple times per night or if your toddler throws the pacifier out of the crib, hoping you'll come in for a midnight visit (sound familiar?) don't have to live like this! You can get help with dropping the pacifier and establishing independent sleep habits.

Need a Helping Hand?

I'm here to support you on your journey to better sleep.

If you're curious about how I've helped families teach their babies to sleep 10-12 hours through the night in 2 weeks or less, feel free to book a call.

Let's make those sleepless nights a thing of the past!

Have you been trying to drop the pacifier?

Let me know how you got on in the comments below!

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