Tuesday, August 25, 2009

How to Wean Your Toddler From a Pacifier

Let me start off by saying that I am NOT an expert. I just thought I would share what has worked for us on 2 children. My oldest son, W, is now 4.5. When he was 2, he was using a pacifier for sleeping - both nap and nighttime. I wanted to get rid of it before the twins were born, just a few months later. A few moms had told me that cutting the very tip off and then cutting a little more off every day would do the trick. I had no idea if it would really work, I just knew it wasn't going to be fun.

So on day 1, I cut the tip off, a very small amount, and brought W to bed for nap time. He went to put the pacifier in his mouth, then pulled it out said "mommy its broken" and threw it on the floor. He napped just fine with no complaints. I thought to myself "well that was way too easy." The calm before the storm as they say. That night, was HARD. I still had the pacifier with him, but he wouldn't use it since it was "broken." He went to sleep without it, but had a difficult time staying asleep without it. He woke up a lot and it was had to calm him down. Once we got through that first night though, we were set. I have to say I can't remember if the next night was hard or not, but I'm thinking no since I have no memory of it. Either that or I blocked it from my memory.

Now lets fast forward to right now. L and J are 27 months old and J uses the pacifier for sleeping. I've been procrastinating doing this because I knew it would be harder this time around. The twins both have speech delays and are in speech therapy. J really has no words. So with the communication barrier there, I expected this to be just awful. Night one was last night. I did the same thing and cut the very tip off the pacifier. I put it in the crib with him and he took one look at it and started whining. He handed it to me and started saying "Bu Bu Bu" - his way of saying its broken. J didn't want it anywhere near his crib so i put it on the nightstand next to it. He then pointed towards the door as if to say "go get me another one." I told him there were no more and that he needed to lay down. he shook his head no.

This is where the super hard part comes in. If you are against CIO (crying it out), then stop reading right now. I kissed J and walked out of the room. The whine eventually turned into a cry and then to a scream. I kept myself busy. First I read a book to W and put him to bed. Then I loaded the dishwasher and cleaned up the kitchen. All the while listening to the screams over the monitor. I'll admit I went in there once, just to make sure he was OK and not hurting himself. After about 35 minutes of total crying, it just stopped. Not another peep. after it was quiet for a little while, I went back in and sure enough he was sleeping. He woke up once at about midnight. I made a mistake here by attempting to rock him back to sleep, I just wanted to comfort him. But when i went to lay him back down he was upset again and crying. I left the room and he cried for about 10 minutes and went back to sleep. never woke up again until morning.

As hard as it was, it was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be. As I type this I am in the midst of night two with no pacifier. Considering how last night went, I figured tonight would be the rough one. Much to my surprise, he went right to sleep without it. No crying, no complaints. Just sleep. I anticipate he will probably wake up at some point and cry, but at least we got over the hump of the initial falling asleep.

Ironically, he literally just started crying right now at 11:30pm. I shall end now to check on him. So that is my experience with pacifier weaning. take what you can from it and hopefully it can help you someday.


  1. With pacifiers and sippy cups and bottles, I always just chuck them one day into the garbage and then bear through the tough days. Usually it's about 3 days and then, that's it, all is forgotten!

  2. Wow, that is such a great idea! I have never heard of that one before only throwing them away, but thanks for this idea. I may just have to use it once my little one gets there.


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