Giving Up the Pacifier: Tips, Tricks (and Tantrums)

At first, the pacifier can seem like a godsend to both parent and baby: a small, relatively inexpensive object that brings comfort to a child and lulls her to sleep. But doctors recommend weaning your child from the pacifier around the same time she’s weaned from the bottle – at anywhere from 9 to 18 months. So, when you realize your child is pushing 2 and shows no signs of giving up the paci, what do you do?

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The day has come: time to start weaning her off of the pacifier.

We searched for pacifier weaning tips on our favorite advice sites, and these are the 5 that stood out:

  1. “Trade it in. One paci-ditching trick that has worked for several of my patients is to take your child and pacifier to a toy store and let your child pick out a new toy or stuffed animal that will act as a substitute. At the checkout counter, “trade in” the pacifier for the toy. There are many experienced toy store clerks who are used to this little trick and willing to play along!” (Dr. Sears,
  2. “Use peer pressure. Surround her with non-pacifier-using playmates to help her get the idea that pacifiers are not needed.” (Dr. Sears,
  3. Snip the top off without your child knowing. They will immediately notice that it feels different. If they continue using it, snip a little more off. This is usually enough for the child to see the pacifier as damaged and no longer want it, and it’s less stressful to them than you just taking it away. Do this with all of the pacifiers in the house. (
  4. Make it a rite of passage. Have the child help you gather all of the pacifiers to be presented to the “pacifier fairy” who will bring them to younger babies who need them. (
  5. Just be open about it. Tell your child that, on a specific day in the future, he’s going to have to give up the pacifier. Then remind him as the day approaches and assure him that you know he can do it. (

For more advice on weaning and other children’s health issues, use Vitals to find a trusted pediatrician near you.

Sources:,,, and