Baby Basics

How Do I Wean Baby Off Of A Pacifier?

I think it might be time to think about taking away the binky. When and how do I start?

The weaning strategies are just about endless… as is the related controversy.
Preeti Parikh, MD, a pediatrician in New York City, says that babies should give up the binky by age one, since by that time sucking is no longer an important source of soothing.

One way to wean: Gradually and subtly, so your toddler barely notices the transition. Between six and twelve months, try using it only for naps and bedtime. (And occasionally for teething, by putting it in the fridge first.) By twelve months, eliminate the pacifier from naptime. By time you cut him off in the crib at night, his paci-dependence will have largely passed.

Or, you can tackle the issue quickly and directly.  Explain to your child that he’s a big kid now, it’s time to stop using the pacifier, and you’re going to take it away in a week. (Or five days, or three, or whatever works for you.) As the day draws closer, remind him that it’s almost time to give up the paci, and tell him that when he gives it up he’ll be able to go to the store and pick out a new toy. Play it right, and you might even find him kick the binky and head to the toy store before the deadline arrives. Some parents make it ceremonious, and tie the pacifier to a balloon that their child can let go.

By Preeti Parikh, MD, pediatrician at Pediatrics of New York, Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Medical Director of Programming at HealthiNation.com