Weaning from the pacifier can be a tough transition for parents and toddlers. It was a stage I had been dreading, which is why I put it off for months. I was most nervous about my son’s sleeping habits changing so I kept telling myself “we’ll try taking it away next month”. Finally, after my son’s first visit to the dentist, I decided to take the plunge.
The dentist had confirmed what my husband and I already knew and that was that J’s pacifier was causing one his front teeth to stick out quite a bit more than the others. When he broke the news that the pacifier had to go as soon as possible, my heart sunk because I knew it was my fault for holding on. That night my husband and I made a pact to work on phasing out his pacifier right away.
So, just like everything else— swaddling, breastfeeding, and the bottle, I decided to slowly wean my 2 and a half year old from his Wubanub pacifier and within 2 weeks he said bye-bye to his paci. Feeling like my baby had officially moved out of the “baby” phase, his accomplishment was a tad bittersweet for momma.
Related: 11 Must-Have Potty Training Tools to Make the Process Easier
Here’s how I was able to Slowly Wean from the Pacifier:
Pierce (with a needle) a small hole in the tip of the nipple and let your little one use it like normal. The hole in the nipple will slightly disrupt the sucking sensation and your tot will not get the same satisfaction. Some may abandon the pacifier all-together at this stage.
Day 8 & 9
Cut just the tip of the nipple off. This is where it’s gonna get messy. If your child is fully dependent on their pacifier to fall asleep, which mine was, then this is going to be the toughest day/night for everyone. When bedtime came and my son realized that his “guy” (a name my husband called J’s Wubanub pacifiers and somehow got it to stick) was broken, all hell broke loose. He cried for his guy for over an hour until he eventually passed out. It felt like the longest hour of my life and I laid in bed crying, watching him on the monitor.
Nap and bedtime the second night were a bit easier but still a lot of crying from a boy that normally went straight to bed without a fight.
Related: DIY WubbaNub Nipple Replacement
Cut off the entire nipple off the Wubanub animal and let your little one keep it as a “lovey”.
The next few days and nights were followed by lots of questions regarding what happened to his guy. Sleep time got a little easier but only because this is where “the talk” came in.
My husband sat down with J just before bedtime and had a serious conversation regarding his guy (a.k.a. the pacifier). He explained to him that he was a big boy now and that he didn’t need his guy anymore. He told J that he could keep his guy but only as a friend. He cut right to the point and told him that only babies use guys. J seemed to agree that this was true, and he said he didn’t need his guy because he was big.
He lied down and with a little less crying he again eventually fell asleep with just the stuffed animal part of the Wabunub.
It took a few more days of restless sleep but eventually, J became less dependent on his pacifier and learned to soothe himself to sleep with just his blanket and stuffed animals.
My advice is to stick with it no matter how tough it gets. After a few days, the pacifier will be nothing but a distant memory for all of you.
Related: 5 Tricks to Navigating the Dreaded Teething Years
What’s your pacifier weaning plan? How many times did you abort the mission? I’d love to hear your stories. Please share in the comments below.
This post contains affiliate links and advertisements. Affiliate links and affiliate ads help support From Under A Palm Tree and help pay for web hosting, email delivery, domain registration, and other various fees that help keep From Under A Palm Tree operational. We appreciate your support!
Meagan is in her mid-thirties and has been married for almost 10 years. She is a proud boy mom, happily navigating her way through the toddler years. She met her husband 20 years ago in high school; they got married 10 years later after graduating from the University of South Florida. Meagan currently helps run a family business with her parents and sister, while blogging about her life and taking care of her three-year-old son full time (at work)!
When she isn’t chasing her son around and constantly picking up Matchbox cars, she enjoys spending time with her family on a beach anywhere. She also loves decorating and organizing her home, delving into fun DIY projects, bargain shopping, and eating at unique restaurants. She also loves Barbecue anything and a good show or movie on Netflix.
My oldest was 2.75 years old when we weaned him from his binky. It was right when our youngest was born and we simply told him binkies were for babies and another baby needed his binky. This was after he only got it for naps and bedtime.
Rhonda Albom says
I remember those days of thumb sucking and pacifiers. It is hard to get the little ones to let go. My dentist said the same thing about the sucking causing the teeth and palate to shift. I like your idea of slowly making the pacifier less “enjoyable” to ease the little guy out of the habit.
Mary Yowell says
I will pass this along to all of my mom friends!
None of my kids ever liked pacifiers so I never had to deal with this myself. But my friends have told me what a nightmare it was.
Cori - Sweet Coralice says
Oh the days of weaning my little ones always felt like they’d never end! It was hardest with our oldest because well, she was the first we had to go thru this with. My hubby hated seeing our her get fussy during the process, lol and I think it was one of the hardest things he ever had to do! Having conversations about why we had to do it is something that I think helped the process though. But gosh what I wouldn’t do to have them this young again 🙂
Hi Meagan, I heard that with this method comes a great choking hazard? I read on another blog – parental-love.com about this method as well as various others. My daughter is 10 month and I want to wean her off right now because I think it would be easier now, than later so every pacifairy method is not for me. Susan Urban is mentionig also a three step method which basicly is slowly limiting time of use of the pacifier. Also there is a flavour method in which you are dabbing binky in lemon juice or some other unattractive taste. Maybe I could combine both of this methods?
I can see how this may cause a potential chocking hazard if your child doesn’t mind sucking on the ripped paci–mine was so aware of the hole and when he realized the sucking sensation was severely diminished by the hole, he no longer wanted it AT ALL. Prior to this method I had tried to slowly wean him by limiting his use but honestly it was easier just to give it to him when he whined for it and as you probably know when he realized that worked, it wasn’t long before his “limited use” just became habit all over again. I quickly found with this method, because my son wanted nothing to do with his paci when he realized it was ripped, that this was going to work for us. I took about a week of hard nights and naps because he had to learn to soothe himself to sleep without it. But once he realized whining wasn’t going to bring paci back, he got over it–and we haven’t looked back! I would say that if you try this method and your LO doesn’t care about the hole and still wants to continue sucking on it–then revaluate. If you’re worried about it, then this may not be the method for you. You certainly don’t need to add more stress because I know that it’s just as hard for parents as it for the child to wean from the paci. Good luck, I hope this helps!