My toddler had a MAJOR pacifier addiction and I had to figure out the best way to get rid of a pacifier! We were able to break the pacifier habit! We got rid of a pacifier in just 3 days!
How to Kick the Pacifier Habit
Every toddler has that one thing that they love more than anything in the entire world! For some, it’s their blanket. Others kids love a favorite stuffed animal, and then there are those kids that love a certain toy. Comfort items are super important for a child’s development and coping skills.
My daughter’s comfort item just happened to be her pacifier!
To say her pacifier was her favorite thing is a huge understatement! I’m pretty sure she would choose her pacifier over food if she had to. In fact, there were times when she would take her pacifier out just long enough to eat a small piece of food in her mouth. And then that pacifier would go right back into her mouth.
The Pacifier Addiction
We could not go anywhere without making sure Talie had her pacifier. We also had to have two spares just in case she lost one. It was really bad and super stressful! And if we didn’t have one or couldn’t find one, a tantrum ensued! I’m telling you, this pacifier habit was out of hand.
My 2 ½-year-old was addicted to a pacifier and I had NO IDEA what to do about it! I was mostly just going along with it to keep the peace.
How I Finally Came Around to Tackling the Pacifier Addiction
At our Wandering Wednesday Link Up party, where bloggers come and share great blog posts, I found an idea from Have Twins First on how to ditch the pacifiers and get rid of the pacifier addiction in just three days! It was an idea she found called Bye Bye Binkie: Ending the Pacifier Habit. I read her post and sort of laughed because I thought to myself, “YOU HAVE NO IDEA JUST HOW ADDICTED MY TODDLER IS… I mean that thing is in her mouth for at least 20 hours a day,” but I decided it wouldn’t hurt to try it out!
How to Get Rid of a Pacifier in 3 Days
Step 1: Start By Prepping Your Toddler to Break the Pacifier Habit
From what I read from Have Twins First and Bye Bye Binkie, the process starts three days before you actually take the pacifiers away. Start the conversation about your toddler’s pacifier going away. I told Talie that she was getting so big, so she was able to do fun things because of that. She would agree that she was a big girl. Then we talked about how there were babies that really needed their pacifiers because they were little. I emphasized that the babies really, really needed those pacifiers. Again, she agreed!
Believe me, I was laughing inside thinking that it would never work.
We had a variation of this conversation 5 to 6 times a day for the next three days. Each conversation lasted less than 30 seconds.
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Step 2: Get Rid of All the Pacifiers
It was the big day, Day 3! This is the day I had been dreading. I went through the entire house and gathered ALL the pacifiers. This is what worked for us. Some people do let their toddler find all of their own pacifiers and give them away or bury them in the yard. But I knew if Talie had to find them she would have a major meltdown when it was time to give them away.
You know your child best! Do what you know will work for you.
The last one was in her mouth, so I distracted her with some candy and shoved all of them in the bottom of a dresser drawer so she would never be able to find them.
Then it happened, she asked for her pacifier!
I told her that we gave them to the babies cause they really needed them. This totally satisfied her! What?! Was this working? I was in awe! How?!
Throughout the day she continued to ask for her pacifier and I continued to tell her that we gave them to the babies. Telling her that we gave her pacifiers to the babies worked every single time! We didn’t have any crazy meltdowns the entire day.
No Pacifier at Bedtime? Send Help!
Now that we had made it through the day without any major meltdowns I was really dreading bedtime because I knew it was going to be really difficult for Talie not to have her comfort item.
RELATED ARTICLE: Must-Have Items for a Successful Toddler Bedtime
It was time for bed. We got ready like normal. We sang and gave kisses, and then it happened… She asked for her pacifier. I reminded her that the babies had it and she totally lost it. There was no comforting her. She sobbed. I talked to her about how happy the babies were. It didn’t work.
She cried herself to sleep and my heart was breaking. I was so tempted to go give her a pacifier, but I didn’t!
RELATED ARTICLE: How to Establish a Toddler Bedtime Routine that Works!
Did the Pacifier Habit Come to a Close?
The next morning Talie came downstairs and asked for her pacifier. I reminded her that the babies had them now. No tantrum! Whew!
She still asked for her pacifier throughout the day, but not as much as she had the day before. And bedtime was still a struggle, but not as bad or for as long.
After a few days, she was no longer asking for it during the day, unless she got hurt doing something. Nap time and nights became easier too and got to the point where she was laying down without crying.
Right now writing this, it has been one month of no pacifiers for us. And our life is so much better without pacifiers!
Our toddler is happier (I never thought that would happen!), she talks and plays more. Honestly taking her pacifier away was the hardest thing I have had to do as a mom with her, but it has also been very rewarding.
Other Ideas to Break the Pacifier Habit and Provide Pacifier Alternatives
There are lots of different ways you can break up with the binkies. You could try a send-off. Have a goodbye party for the pacifiers! Have your toddler pick their favorite food for dinner and celebrate getting rid of the pacifier….it might be Mac N Cheese, but if it helps them with this big milestone…Do It! We need to encourage them by celebrating breaking the pacifier habit.
Have your toddler pick a replacement to love, one that isn’t a pacifier. It could be a stuffed animal, a special blanket that they pick out, a pillow that they choose to go on their bed each night. If your toddler loves books help them pick a new book that you can read together each night! These are great pacifier alternatives for toddlers.
There are videos and books written for toddlers, to help them break their pacifier habit and help them celebrate that they are “getting bigger”.
I heard of one mom who had their toddler help put all the pacifiers in a box and had the “mailman” send them to other little babies.
Make it fun!
Let’s be honest, there were many times where I thought, “this isn’t worth it”. Other times I thought “if I gave it to her she would just stop crying”. Trust me there were so many tempting thoughts. Much of the time I just wanted to give in!
With all that being said I am SO glad that I was strong enough to stick to the plan to get rid of a pacifier because we are so much better off without them!
It can be heartbreaking to take your child’s pacifier away. This goes for them and for you! If you stick to the plan you will be able to get rid of a pacifier and be free of them in no time!
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Michele is a Family Life Educator. She is a mom to 5 kids and loves helping others strengthen their families! When she is not blogging she is spending time with her family and running around drinking Diet Coke trying to get everything done!