How do you stop a pacifier addiction?

This is definitely one of those situations I said I’d never be in. You know, those things you say you’ll never do before you’ve actually become a parent?

My daughter never liked pacifiers as an infant. Oh how I wanted her to. But she just spit them out. Always preferring to use me instead.

We ended our nursing experience about gosh… Four or five months ago. Could it be that long? I think so.

Even still, since then, from time to time she’ll give me hints that she remembers the experience–and even seems willing to give it a go again, if I were open to it. Which I’m not. Eew.

The last time she nursed I knew it was time to be done because it just didn’t feel right anymore. She had gone days without it, then sporadically she tried again and that sweet feeling I use to feel was gone. And I knew we’d never do that again.

Sometimes she’ll watch me changing and open her mouth like “yea mom, I remember that!” and I’m thinking “child, you crazy.” But I know at certain times she misses it more than others. Like when she’s sick.

She likes to stand up on the counter tops and choose what snacks she wants to eat from her cupboard. A few weeks ago, the day she threw up before we were leaving for work and school, I stayed home with her. She had opened the cupboard next to hers with the bottles and pacifiers and reached for a paci.

I thought nothing of it. It was cute, and she wasn’t feeling well so I let her play with it. She mostly chewed on it and didn’t seem too extremely amused so I let her hang on to it the whole day.

She was able to nap in my arms and stay relatively calm the rest of the day. At first I thought this was because she wasn’t feeling well, but I later learned it was a symptom of the binky.

It quickly became an addiction of ours more than hers. I’d hand it to her while I prepared her lunch, or if I just wanted to snuggle with her in bed. Otherwise she’d be busy and all over the place, or giving us orders. My husband would use them to get her down for naps so she wouldn’t need to cry.

The pacifier was good but oh so bad.

It’s only been a few weeks but this casual toy has turned into a full blown addiction.

The other day when my husband and I picked her up from school Lil’ J asked:
“Binky? Binky?”
“Your binky is at home baby, we’ll get it after we go to the store ok?” I told her.

Second later…
“Binky?… Binky?!! BINKYYYYYYYY!!!”

Within moments she was hysterical and my husband was detouring to our place to get her dang pacifier so she could calm the freak down.

We have become this thing’s slave.

I had no idea kids could get hooked this late in life.

While this is adorably cute, I know something needs to be done. It won’t be good for her pretty teeth, and she’s almost two for heaven’s sake.

Luckily I already have ground-rules in place so this isn’t a complete worse-case-scenario. For one, she doesn’t get it at bedtime, at school, or when we’re playing outside. Basically she only uses it for a little while in the morning (it’s the first thing she asks for) and on the ride to and from school. Sometimes she’ll sneak in some more paci time on our days off but I’ve tried to limit that.

Now I’m ready to be done completely and I’m thinking our move this week is a great time to kick this bad habit to the curb.

Here are my ideas:

Plan 1: Throw them all away the day we move. Once we’re in the new place and she asks for it, explain they’re at the old house and that there are no binkies here.
Suffer through a few days of whining.

Plan 2: Blame it on the dog. She’s seen Snoop go for her toys before, and she knows he’s capable of toy destruction. She may understand better if I tell her Snoop ate them and they’re all gone.
Sure, she may be bitter at him for some time but he can take one for the team.

Plan 3: Cut off the nipples. Ouch, that no only sounds painful, it seems the most cruel. She’ll get her hopes up only to be completely deflated by a broken binky. I’m not sure I could do this unless I felt like this was somehow humane.

Plan 4: Let her trash them. She loves throwing things in the trash and maybe if I tell her to throw them away and that they’re “all gone” she’ll get it.
Then again she may be obsessed with the trash after that and keep getting into it months later thinking her binkies are still in there.

Plan 5: “Donate them” to another baby. Let her help me give them to either a neighbor, or a doll, or some baby so she feels like she’s a big girl helping someone younger than her who needs it more than she does.
I’d like to think she gets some of my sympathetic attributes and that this technique would solve all our problems, however I have a feeling I’m being extremely optimistic.

What do you think? Have you had experience with dumping pacifiers? I’d love your advice!

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  1. We are currently in the same boat. We have a 10 month old and we started giving her the paci at bed time when she was cutting teeth around 9 months. She used it as a chew toy at 1st but now she screams if she goes to bed without one. I know she’d take it during the day if I allowed her. We never wanted to use them and now we’re stuck. I think one day we’ll just quit cold turkey and suffer through a few bad nights.

    I think the moving idea is great!

  2. I’ve had an experience that is worse. My daughter sucked her thumb. And that was very hard for her to break. She was still sneakily sucking her thumb as late as the beginning of 5th grade.

    One of my student’s sister had a collection of pacifiers. She was about 2 and carried them around in a backpack. When she was needing one, she would lay them out on a table and decide which one she was going to use that day. It was the cutest thing to watch.

    I tell you this because eventually, she will outgrow the need for a pacifier. Right now, Lil J needs to have something to comfort her. My daughter needed her thumb, my brother had a clown doll, and my nephew had his blanky.

  3. Cooooold turkey! We did it just a few months ago, when my son turned 2, he threw them away. A few nights of fussing and he was over it.

    When I start noticing teeth changes, I freak out and know I have to do something, did that with all three of my kiddos.

    I think it’s really hard on you the parents, you want to go back to it and “pacify” her, but you’ll be happy when it’s all said and done.

  4. Now I must say…my daughter was addicted to her binky from day one. As soon as she turned one it went from an anytime she wanted it habit to an only in her crib habit. She was 2 1/2 when I finally bit the bullet, here is my blog post about what we did to get rid of it In your situation I think your number one plan is the best idea. New house, oops! forgot all the binkys. She IS going to cry and throw a fit about it for a few days, just stay strong and show her you mean business. You can do it!

  5. My daughter was around 2 when we weaned her from pacifiers. We tried only letting her have one at nap and bed time but that was hard on her. Then we actually though cutting a tiny hole in her pacifier would make her think it just didn’t work right anymore and she would give it up herself. Then each day I cut a little bigger hole, for a few days, then she just stopped using them. She didn’t cry, just looked at me like what happen. I liked this method because it was her idea to be done with the broken pacifier.

  6. We did the cold turkey method when Paisley was 8 months. A rough couple of nights and then it wasn’t an issue. Good luck – I know you will figure out the right solution!

  7. 2 out of 3 of my babies used paci’s. For my oldest, we “lost” them all. (which is funny bc 3 yrs ago when my grandmother passed away, I found two of my sons paci’s that we lost lol) and for my current little one who is about to turn 2, we got rid of them about 6 months ago. We simply told him he didn’t need them any more, comforted him in other ways, and then suffered at night for about three nights. (mostly my husband because I was in the hospital for two days and he death with this) He has never asked for it since. I think it all depends on the little one. Hugs and good luck 🙂

  8. It would probably be easier to make them taste nasty….when she’s not paying attention, dip them in mild hot sauce or something she doesn’t like and let her have it after she thinks there nasty she wont want them any more……. its easier when they think its their idea…….

  9. i have no real advice on this as my son never took a binky (even though i wanted him to so badly!) but i do have a suggestion i heard once i figured i’d share. maybe you haven’t heard it yet – some people tie them to balloons and let them float away into the sky.

    i’m still struggling getting my son off of his bottle at almost two so i hear ya’! let us know what ends up working. or…you can always just let her be – there are worse things, right?

  10. I have never heard of a kid starting a binki habit when they are that old. My daughter loved them from about 2 months on and was definitely obsessed with them. We tried a couple times to just quit cold-turkey. We let her throw one away and we also tried cutting the tip off the nipple. Neither worked. She turned two and I got increasingly worried that we would never see the end of it. But then a miracle happened. She had a binki with her when we went to a store and when we came out it was no where to be found. I even went back in looking for it but couldn’t find it. We were visiting my sister at the time and that was the only bikni I had. I was scared but I told her she lost her binki in the store and that there were no more binkies. She hasn’t had one since, that was about 2 weeks ago. Every now and then she will ask for them but I just explain again that she lost it in the store so the binkies are all gone and she gets over it. I think the reason it actually worked this time is because we really don’t have any more of her binkies in the house, they really are gone so I don’t feel like I am lying to her and I can’t give in and give her a binki just because she is having a rough day/night. Good luck!

  11. We’re in the same boat…Ava is 25 months old, and still loves her binky. It’s only for nap time and bed time, and it has to stay in her crib. But, I still think it’s going to be a tough habit to break.

  12. I definitely understand the difficulty in trying to ween off the binky. I tried everything, so I eventually had to resort to cutting off the tips, that finally worked, she no longer uses them!

  13. We are actually in the process of ‘weening’ our daughter off the binky 🙁 We were doing good… she went without it for 3 days (lots of fussing) she had ‘lost’ all three of them. On day 4 which was yesterday she magically found one in the office! So now she’s super protective of that one, LOL I honestly don’t know what to do. My Pedi said we shouldn’t worry until she gets 3+ so we shall see..ugh 🙂

  14. We never did the binky thing but after my daughter weaned we ended up giving her a bottle. Our solution was to cut it down to once a day and then one weekend, we stopped altogether. It was rough for 2 nights and then she gave up.

  15. My first born, Jada, was crazy about pacifiers. It was like her crack! Seriously! She actually sucked her pacifier until like 2 months after she turned 2! One day I decided that it was going to be the last day and it was over. We never looked back. I threw all of them away. I could tell she would remember it when she saw another child with one. I just thought it was weird that big sister had a pacifier always in her mouth and little did not. Always having that thing in her mouth kept her from talking. She never threw fits like I thought she would or had trouble sleeping after the death of the paci. I think the best way to quit anything is cold turkey. Good Luck.

  16. We went cold turkey! On a day that she didn’t use it we just keep going. I learned babies get over it pretty fast. Just can’t give in. Donating is a good idea. They know it’s for babies.

  17. My daughter, who is now 3, was never “addicted” to the nuk, but she still found comfort in them for nap and night time; so before her 2nd birthday we decided it was time to get rid of them since she’d be starting pee wee preschool. Anyways, I did research and someone recommended “the nuk fairy”. I thought it sounded so cute. We told Ella that the nuk fair was going to come and collect all of her nuks to give to new babies. So we collected her nuks and put them in a little bucket just outside her bedroom door. That night, the “fairy” came and took out all the nuks and in their place, left some mini M&Ms! She LOVED it and never ever asked for a nuk. It’s a cute and fun idea that I constantly tell people about and they always shrug off for some reason, but it worked like a charm. Plus, it’s fun to have some magic in a little one’s life!

  18. You can only do the best you can. I held out without giving Princess a paci for almost 8 months. Now she’s addicted. I wrote a post about it a while back.

    I had to give in after realizing that she’d try to put everything in her mouth. I gave in because she had teething pain, and the binky calmed her cries.

    Do you think Lil J picked up the habit from kids at daycare? You’d be surprise at the things they get from other kids. Princess has picked up so many things. She’s still addicted to the binky and the boobies. I have no idea when I’ll start weaning. Please keep up posted. Lil J is so cute with the paci.:) This little baby never takes a bad pic. So adorable!

  19. Our son sort of naturally weaned from the paci at a few months old, so we lucked out.

    One thing to add, though: a move can be difficult emotionally for kids (and adults!) I remember reading that weaning can be rough when a big event is happening simultaneously, and I bet paci weaning can be similar. Maybe consider giving J some time to adjust to the move first? Or just keep that in mind and give her extra snuggles? 🙂

  20. Oh man, did this post hit close to home for me! We’re currently having the paci weaning debate and i really can’t decide what to do.

    Ava is 27 months, and while I know she’s getting old to have her binky, at the same time, she doesn’t have a blanket or stuffed animal that she’s attached to as a lovie – just her binky – ad so I’m hesitant to steal it away from her…

    I’ll be curious to hear what you do 🙂 Good luck!

  21. Because you dont want her to have it, go with your gut. The first one makes a lot.of sense. I would just let her keep it for awhile though. Her teeth are fine for more than another year.

    When my son was 3, we decided we were done.
    He refused to give it up so we cut the nipples off. It wasnt mean. He wasnt sad, just annoyed. That is best to save as worst case scenario.

  22. Sorry, no experience there. My baby loves her Mr. Bink and part of me just wants to let her have it until she decides she is old enough to get rid of it. Then part of me thinks, what if she is like me and doesn’t get rid of the dang thing for years and years? Ugh, I don’t want to think about this anymore.

  23. All three of my kids have given up the binky after a couple months. Mr Adam (4 months) won’t take a binky any more but is a staunch thumb sucker.

    I’d prefer the binky. How can I take his thumb away? (I sucked my thumb until who knows how long.)

    ANYWAY, beacause Adam and Lucas (turns 2 on Monday) share a room, Lucas has been stealing binkies from Adam’s crib and sucking on them when he can. It’s SO tempting to let him keep it, but then I’ll have to break him of the habit, so we take it away as soon as we see it. He won’t ask for it (but then he doesn’t ask for many things since he’s a delayed talker) but he’ll throw a fit if we take it away.

    So, yeah, he got “addicted” past 18 months old. Awesome.

    Since Adam’s not taking them anymore, I need to actually find them all and put them away.

    If I were you, I’d definitely do option 1. But then that’s added stress on top of a move, which is stressful enough on it’s own.

  24. My baby hated pacifiers- but I had a plan in place incase he did– the Binky Fairy– i don’t know if she’s old enough to undertand- but its basically like the tooth fairy– you leave your bink under you pillow and it brings you toys in place!!

    or I saw a cute one where they float them away on baloons!! good luck!

  25. Both my girls were addicted to the pacies.

    First of all I don’t think you should do #1. That is way too many changes in her little life and she doesn’t fully understand what is going on.

    Both my girls gave it up when they were 3 (when they could understand what was happening). On their third birthday the paci fairy came and left a present in exchange for the pacies. It worked perfectly – we never looked back. And my first was a hard core addict!

    By about 18 months we did have restrictions in place like you do now.

    I think you have to remember that the paci is her strategy to self-soothe. And we want to teach children how to self-soothe. It is much better than them releying on us (which probably happened a lot when you were nursing). Until she is old enough to self-soothe without it then let her keep it.

    Oh and the paci usually doesn’t have an effect on their teeth because they are not pushing against their front teet like they do when they suck their thumbs. Try it yourself and you will see the difference. I am sure there are unique circumstances, but for the most part pacifiers are designed to not harm their growing teeth.

  26. well none of my kids took the paci (even though I wanted them to) but my niece did and when we were getting rid of hers at 18 months we just sniped the tip on one of hers and would always giver her that one first and we would throw away the good ones until she only had the sniped one left. It didn’t take more than a week to get rid of all of them and she didn’t have any trouble. and when her new baby brother came along right before her 2nd birthday she didn’t look twice at them. We did deal with bottles with our three kids but I just started out with the rule that only formula or pumped milk went in the bottles and water and juice and regular milk went in the cups so when we stopped formula at 1 so did the bottles. We just went cold turkey with them and none of our kids had any issues with this. Mind you we also don’t give them any cups or bottles in their beds so they have learned how to self sooth without anything in their mouths.

  27. I have heard, don’t know if it is true, but you have to take it away before they turn 2 or after they turn 3. Otherwise they take it really personally.

  28. We did the “cut off the nipples” with our twin boys and then our daughter and it worked MAGNIFICENTLY! I cannot tell you how stressed I was anticipating the process, but we had our toddlers go around the house, gathering and trying out their binkies and, wouldn’t you know, EVERY SINGLE one of them was broken! It look one naptime of reminding them that their pacifiers were broken and that was it. I’m not kidding. It was that simple…..I say go for that option!

  29. My family used the Binky Fairy someone mentioned earlier as well. The toddlers put all of their binkies in a decorated box or envelope and we talk about how binkies are for littler babies and now that you’re big the Binky Fairy needs to come collect all of your binkies to give to the new babies. Then toss them out overnight and put little presents or whatever in there (along with some glitter, because fairies are sparkly!) for them to find when they wake up.

  30. I didn’t have time to read all the comments, so I apologize if this was already suggested – How about a balloon send off? Buy a few helium filled balloon and tie the binkys to them. Write a note with J, and explain to her that another little boy and girl needs one and you’re doing a good thing. Then take her for a special treat for being such a big girl. It worked wonders for a friend of mine. The send of was a visual sight that they were no longer around.

  31. I just want to say please don’t tie them to balloons and let them go! This may be a cute idea, but it is not good for the environment. The balloons will litter and so will the pacifiers, and often when they land in the ocean some poor animal will eat them. There were a lot of other sentimental type suggestions that would not contribute to this problem. There is a huge patch of garbage floating in the pacific ocean called The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. It is basically an island of waste. You can read about it ( and I wish you the best of luck with getting her off the pacifier!!!!

  32. My son held on to his binky like it was a lifeline! We actually started out by only giving it to him during naps and when he was real fussy, but as time went on, he seemed to want it more (it went from a suckle need, to a want). My mom found the bye bye binky method (, printed it and suggested that we go with it. At first I was a bit mad at my mom, but I soon got over it. The method worked amazingly well. My son stopped sucking on it after 4 days! He proceeded to carry it around for another week, but never put it in his mouth. He then got tired of carrying it and simply lost interest. Mom was right, it worked, highly recommended!

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