6 days before Evelyn’s third birthday, I made the decision to get rid of her pacifier for good. Her third birthday was my deadline, and I knew I should have taken it from her sooner. She was getting to the point where she was starting to become really dependant on it. She would cry and whine for it all the time and because I didn’t want to listen to her tantrums while I was working, I would give it to her. Excellent parenting huh? Let me tell you why I waited so long to take her pacifier away. For one she, like her brother, has always been a champion sleeper and napper. Since I work from home I really need those 3-hour naps to get work done and let’s be honest, sometimes take a nap myself. I am all for self-care and doing what needs to be done so that we as mothers can be our best. This usually includes an hour nap. Besides the sleeping aspect of letting Evelyn have her paci for so long, it would instantly calm her down if she was upset or throwing a tantrum. I’m sorry but I am not one of those parents that can just tune out screaming and crying kids.
When I get an idea or thought in my head, I have no patience. I want it done right away or I want to do it immediately. There is usually no way around it, so a few weeks ago, I took to my Instagram stories and asked for help, tips, and tricks for successful paci removal. I received so many amazing suggestions and realized a lot of mothers had/have the same fear I did: scared their child would never sleep again and also the worry that their teeth would forever be messed up (hello braces!) I ended up going cold turkey that night, the same way we did for Henry when he was 2. Since Evelyn has really started loving baby dolls, I asked her if she wanted to send her paci’s to the new babies at the hospital and she enthusiastically said yes! Even when I put her down to bed, she was excited and seemed on board with the idea … for about 20 minutes.
I’m not going to sugarcoat it. Night one totally sucked. She screamed and cried for over 80 minutes and chapped the skin around her lips really bad. It was heartbreaking to hear her call for paci and mommy over and over again. After finally passing out from exhaustion, she only woke up once. I went into her room and told her she was okay and reminded her she was a big girl now and paci’s were for babies only. She slept the same amount of time (12 hours) and I was so thankful for that. Day 2 without her paci she totally did not nap. She stayed in her crib for almost two hours, yelling for her paci, talking to her babies, etc but she never fell asleep. I literally thought my day-to-day routine was about to change and I was becoming really stressed. However, things turned around that night. She fell asleep with no paci in just 30 minutes. When she would ask for her paci’s I would reply with “Remember, we sent them to the new babies at the hospital!” and that was it. I didn’t extend the conversation or make it a big deal. I acknowledged her question but was firm in my answer and didn’t drag the topic out. It’s been just over 2 weeks since we took the paci away and she never asks for it now. The second day when nap time rolled around I was hoping for the worst, but to my surprise (and excitement) she ended up napping for nearly three hours. I’ve read before that it takes 3 days to make a habit and 3 days to break a habit, aka the 3 nights of hell. With almost 6 years of parenting a boy and a girl, this has proven to be true. By day 3 of no paci, Evelyn seemed to not even miss it and has been napping and sleeping just like she used to. Since different methods work for different children, I wanted to share some of the suggestions I received from my followers on Instagram, in hopes it could help you if you’re nearing the “Bye Bye Paci” stage.
- I waited until after my daughter was 3. One day when she wanted something at the store I told her she could buy it with her paci. And she said OK! and I told her I took the paci to the bank. Three days later she had a little trouble sleeping and told me she missed it but never asked for it back. After a week without it, I threw her a no paci party and got donuts for a playdate. She’s never mentioned it since.
- Cutting the nipple off worked for both of my kids before 2 years old. I told them they used it too much and it got yucky!
- Freeze them all in a Tupperware of ice
- You can poke a pin sized hole in the top so when she sucks it just collapses. We did that for my daughter and she was able to give it up on her own once she realized it had no use. I’ve also seen at Buy Buy Baby they make transitional pacis that you can try. Each week you give her a new one from the pack and the nipple gets smaller and smaller and it slowly weans them that way. *I have been unable to find them online anywhere, so maybe check your local store*
- I saw another mama blogger cut the paci so her daughter couldn’t suck on it anymore. However, she still let her have it to hold and chew on. She just told her repeatedly all broken. No more. *If the pacifier is an attachment issue and your child doesn’t necessarily need to suck on it, this sounds like a good idea!*
- I told my daughter the tooth fairy would bring her a gift if she gave her pacifier to her (the tooth fairy) … worked like a charm.
- My daughter ditched hers right when she turned 3… it was rough. Then when my son was born we caved and let her have it for a few weeks. Then one day she lost it and that was that! She was sad but we were like go find it and you can use it… we didn’t actually find it for months.
- My son decorated a box that he put all of his pacis in and I “sent” it to his new baby cousin. He had one bummer night of wanting it before he fell asleep and then he was fine. It helped to have a tangible reason for them being gone – “Remember, you gave them to baby Ben!” And he accepted that.
- We literally just went cold turkey and kept her SUPER busy so she’d just pass out at night. It took her 3 days to stop asking for it and about a month for her to be able to put herself back to sleep during the night if she woke up. When she asked for it we’d just say no more, you’re a big girl now. You gotta wear her out so she just passes out: Go to the zoo, a jump house, whatever is going to make her freaking tired. Go drive around in the car and then transfer her.
- There’s an episode of Sesame Street called Bye Bye Pacifier. There is a cute little song and everything about saying goodbye to your paci.
- Just took my 3-year-olds away, during the day when she wasn’t paying attention. She asked where they were and I said I didn’t know where they went. She had 1 really rough day but then forgot about them. I’ve also heard to soak them in vinegar then they won’t want them because they taste yucky.
- Gather them all up (don’t miss any) and “send to new tiny babies” or send to the “paci fairy” who will leave her a new lovey or stuffed animal instead. Then drink lots of wine for the next three days, lol! Don’t give in! It’ll be tough at first but she will make it.
- The moment my sons cracked from him chewing on them, I showed him the cracks and had him throw them out and say “bye bye broken paci!”
- My grandpa pretended to throw my cousins out the window in Yellowstone and said he gave it to the bears. He was too scared to ask for it!!
- My mom bribed my sister and said we could go to Chuck E Cheese if she agreed to never have her pacifier again.
- I used lemon salt on my kiddos pacifiers… they refused to take them after that.
- We lost ours on a family trip and never gave it back. My son was so distracted that he didn’t notice.
- Both of our daughters were addicted to their pacifiers. I for sure thought when we got rid of them they would have freaked out. Oddly they didn’t, and what we did was very simple. We grabbed their pacifier and made them watch us throw it in the trash and kept reiterating that the pacifier is bye-bye. As luck would have it, it worked like a charm for both girls. I would never believe that would work but it did. Simple is normally the best!
- We told my daughter that we must have left it at the grocery store on accident and then just never gave it back. The first few days were hard but she was over it in probably 3 days total.
- With my boys, we always saved it for nighttime and nap time. Once they turned 3 the pacifiers went into the trash. I let them pick out a new toy to replace the paci with.
Overall the majority of people who replied with advice said that nights 1-3 were rough but after that, it was easier and most times their kids forgot all about their paci! I hope these tips help you and remember, there is no right or wrong way. You know your child best! If you have any tips and tricks that worked for you, please leave them in the comments below! xoxo