Does Cutting a Binky Work to Wean a Child?

In the early years, giving your child a "binky," or pacifier, was a convenient way to offer comfort while he was sleeping. As he gets older, though, you start to worry about the future orthodontic bill you may be looking at. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, sucking on a pacifier beyond the ages of 2 to 4 can cause dental problems. Some parents advocate using scissors to cut the pacifier, but this isn't necessarily the best method.

Two Cutting Methods

Making a small snip in the pacifier takes the air out, which decreases the satisfaction your child receives from sucking on it. The other cutting technique is to gradually snip away a little bit every day so that your child eventually doesn't have enough to suck on. Unfortunately, both of these methods create a potential hazard for your child, according to With this small hole, your little one might bite bigger pieces off, which she can then choke on.

Poking a Hole

If you want to create less pacifier satisfaction for your child -- but do it in a safe manner -- poke a hole in it with a needle. This releases the air but doesn't present the same potential for choking. With a needle and a little luck, your child simply won't want to use the binky anymore.

When Cutting Works

If you're willing to get rid of the binky altogether and deal with the temporary tantrums that come along with going cold turkey, you could cut the pacifier to "damage" it. After you cut a piece off, show it to your child and make a big deal out of how the binky is broken now and it's not safe for your child to use. Empathize with him, but let him now that his pacifier is just no good anymore and you'll have to throw it away.


Cutting the binky is far from the only method of getting your child to stop using it. If she's a particularly caring child, you might talk about how there are some babies in the world who don't have binkies, then encourage her to give hers up to these babies now that she's such a big girl. You could also talk about a "binky fairy" who comes to take away the binkies of the children who are too old to use them. Some children respond well to rewards, so giving her a sticker for each day she doesn't use the pacifier might be effective in getting her to give it up on her own. You could also simply "lose" the binky and say that you're not able to buy any more or that the store ran out. Luckily, toddlers don't require complicated explanations.

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