How to Stop Pacifier Use

By Kimberly Dyke
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While the American Academy of Pediatrics encourages parents to give their babies pacifiers at bedtime to help prevent sudden infant death syndrome, there is not a recommendation to continue using pacifiers past the 1st birthday. Sucking on a pacifier can be soothing for an infant and help to calm her down or fall asleep. As your child learns to soothe herself by other methods as she gets older, taking the pacifier away is a necessary task that many parents would like to avoid.

Step 1

Tell your child that it is time to stop using the pacifier and give him a few days’ notice. Say, “This is the last week that we are going to use a pacifier. After Sunday, we are going to say bye-bye because you are such a big boy now.” Cuddle with your child and read stories together about growing up and making changes, like giving up a pacifier.

Step 2

Slowly wean your child from the pacifier if you prefer a more gradual method. Allow your tot to only use the pacifier in certain rooms, such as the bedroom. Say, “The pacifier is only for bedtime. You can only use it if you are in your bed.” Offer other comforting items that your child can snuggle with in the other rooms of the house, such as a stuffed animal or blanket. Remove the pacifier from the bed when you are ready to take it away completely.

Step 3

Let the pacifier stay “lost” if you are unable to find it, or deliberately “lose” the pacifier if it makes it easier for your child to stop asking for it.

Step 4

Talk with your pediatrician or pharmacist about a safe liquid solution that can make the pacifier taste bad. Apply the solution to the pacifier so your child will experience the unpleasant taste and no longer desire the pacifier for comfort.

Step 5

Give the pacifier away to a friend’s new baby or to a baby from the church nursery. Choose a baby -- who will obviously not actually use the pacifiers -- whom your child does not see very often. Say to your child, “You are such a big girl now, and pacifiers are for tiny babies. Let’s give your pacifiers to a new baby who needs them.” Offer a new special item, like a toy or outfit, as consolation for giving up her pacifiers.

About the Author

Kimberly Dyke is a Spanish interpreter with a B.A. in language and international trade from Clemson University. She began writing professionally in 2010, specializing in education, parenting and culture. Currently residing in South Carolina, Dyke has received certificates in photography and medical interpretation.