How to phase out the pacifier
without tears?

Children know how to get there. Keep reading to find out what toddlers and preschoolers would tell you on a discussion board if they just had the chance. :)

Aren’t you a little too old for a pacifier? Should I call you a baby?”
“If you don’t take that pacifier away, you’ll ruin their teeth!”
“The kids at school will make fun of you, just you wait...”
All the strangers, neighbors and extended family surely mean well. They want to help. But the parent is thinking – OUCH!

These kinds of statements can really strike a nerve. And also unchain our biggest fear: Have we failed? Are we incompetent parents for not ending the pacifier habit earlier?

What do we do now? Our sweetheart is not a babe in arms anymore. He can ask for his binky and knows exactly which drawer mama takes it from every night before he goes to bed.

Maybe, while looking for a trick to help to fix the pacifier problem, we might forget to ask the most important advisors: our own children.

What? They can’t talk yet? Not a problem.

This is how it would probably look if our children shared their thoughts about pacifiers and parents in a super-secret internet discussion forum the same way we do about them. You’ll be amazed:

Mom is taking away my binky...

Closed group Chitter-chatters > Pacifiers

blog-20170201-matyasMatthew (2)
Hey guys, how did you all stop using a pacifier? Mom keeps taking it away from me, and I just can’t fall asleep without it. I’m having a hard time explaining that I really need it. What worked for you? Do you have any idea why is she suddenly taking it away from me? Did that ever happen to any of you? Just a month ago, everyone was okay with it. Thanks.

January 12, 2017 at 7:27 PM – ReplyLike

blog-20170201-lenaMiss Opinionated (4)
I still use my binky. It helps me calm down before bed. Most of the time, I cannot fall asleep without it. People keep telling my mom to take it away from me. The dentist threatens her I’ll end up with buck teeth or crooked teeth. Grandma takes it away because it looks ugly. Why did they give it to me in the first place? I really didn’t like it to begin with and now, when I do, they are trying to take it away because I’m too old. My parents are on my side though, and they’re leaving it up to me. I really appreciate it. emoticon-smile Try to explain to your mom how important your binky is to you! I’m sure you’ll figure something out together.

January 12, 2017 at 7:30 PM – ReplyLike

blog-20170201-masinfiraChooChoo4Ever (6)
When I was 2 1/2, my grandpa had this super cool toy train at home. I really wanted it! He said it’s mine, if I give him my pacifier in return. It didn’t seem really fair to me (what is he going to do with my pacifier? It felt like he was using something I really wanted to force me into doing something he wanted), and I really loved my binky. But I set my heart on that train and eventually gave in. That evening, I felt sad and couldn’t fall asleep. I almost wished to call off the trade. Of course I eventually managed to learn to fall asleep without it, but as Miss Opinionated said – try explaining it to your mom, I’m sure she’ll understand. emoticon-win  I know it’s a lot more difficult for a 2-year-old to express everything in words, but it’s worth a try.

January 12, 2017 at 7:39 PM – ReplyLike

Oh man, this must have been a tough decision. I understand how hard it is to choose between two things when you want to have both. Grandpa probably thought you wouldn’t miss your pacifier as much if you had something cool to play with. Or something like that. They always mean well even if these misunderstandings come up from time to time. Like when I was 2, I came up with a plan to exchange my pacifier for a tricycle. And since it was my idea, I was completely okay with giving my binky away.

You know what I think, @Matthew? Your mom is just worried that you will still need a pacifier when you start kindergarten, and the kids will make fun of you. She doesn’t want you to end up with crooked teeth and a messed-up mouth... These things can really happen. emoticon-win

January 12, 2017 at 7:49 PM – ReplyLike

blog-20170201-adamekAdammmm (2y8m)
When I was 2 1/2, I chewed through my pacifier and threw it in the trash. I missed it the next couple of days and wanted to fish it out. The nights were really hard, and I was super sad. But I was okay after a few days. So yeah, it’s pretty hard without it, but you can do it. emoticon-glasses I would definitely try to explain it to your mom. She might understand. A calm talk with no tears is always the better way to go.

January 12, 2017 at 7:50 PM – ReplyLike

blog-20170201-mikuldaMikey (3)
I lost mine when I was a bit over 2 years old. Our local store didn’t carry my favorite brand. Mom bought me a different one, but it was terrible. It just didn’t feel right in my mouth. I tried to get used to it. But I couldn’t. Somehow I made it without one, and it wasn’t a problem anymore. Actually, my brother had just been born, so I decided to leave pacifiers for babies, because I’m a big kid now.

I was really glad to see how hard my mom tried to get the one I loved. It was such a relief she didn’t pressure me. She just let me get there on my own. Suddenly, I felt like such a big boy! emoticon-glasses

January 12, 2017 at 7:57 PM – ReplyLike

blog-20170201-vojtisekDanny Boy (3)
When I was 6 months old, I managed to spit out my pacifier in a way that my mommy couldn’t find it. Not even the next day, nor the day after that. But you know what? It didn’t bother me that much. I was really happy that mommy made the effort and looked for it, though. emoticon-smile It would make me sad knowing she hid it somewhere and lied to me.

January 12, 2017 at 7:59 PM – ReplyLike

blog-20170201-stydlinkaAnonymousBaby258 (6)
My parents just decided one day that I was old enough to get rid of it (I think I was 2) and cut a hole right through it. It didn’t work anymore. I was devastated. I really needed to suck on something to help me fall asleep, so I switched to my thumb. Mom freaked out because she thought I would never stop, so she put some spicy gunk on it. But I just couldn’t help it. I still secretly do it. emoticon-sad They say I can get crooked teeth. But my teeth are perfectly fine. So I don’t know.

January 12, 2017 at 8:03 PM – ReplyLike

blog-20170201-honzikJake (3.5)
Wow, I JUST succeeded. I’m so thrilled I can share it with you guys! Mom left it completely up to me. I didn’t want to give it up for a long time, and then suddenly something clicked. And I didn’t want it anymore. I told my mom one night: I want to do this! I want to fall asleep without it. She asked me if there was anything she could do to help me. I asked her to rub my back while I held my stuffed lion. Just to be on the safe side, I was also holding my pacifier in my hand. And I did it! I fell asleep without it. I feel like a super tough dude, and I’m really happy! emoticon-glassesemoticon-glassesemoticon-glasses

January 12, 2017 at 8:15 PM – ReplyLike

Wow, way to go! I can’t even imagine sleeping without my binky! :O

January 12, 2017 at 8:16 PM – ReplyLike

blog-20170201-adelkaAnna Banana (11)
To be honest with you guys, I don’t remember how I got rid of my pacifier. But I can now watch the drama from the other side, because my mom is trying to “pull the plug” with my younger brother. I can invite her to join, she’s really cool! I promise. She will definitely have an idea how you could work it out with your mom. emoticon-win Is that okay with you?

January 12, 2017 at 8:17 PM – ReplyLike

blog-20170201-matyasMatthew (2)
Totally! I appreciate any help. I want to try it without my binky, but I just don’t know how to do it... Thanks emoticon-smile

January 12, 2017 at 8:28 PM – ReplyLike

blog-20170201-sonaSophia Siri Ray (37)
Hi, I’m Anna’s mom. Thanks for letting me in… emoticon-smile I have to admit that it really touched me... What Miss Opinionated said at the beginning gives me the courage to stand behind my son and not to give in to what other people say.

My younger one (2.5 yo) is seriously attached to his binky. It all started when we put him in daycare. I’m really worried about his teeth getting crooked... Our dentist said it’s already starting, so I’ll try to talk to my DS, just like you said. I’ll let you know how it goes.

@Matthew, I know it’s very difficult, but I have a feeling you can do it! You can fall asleep without your pacifier... Would it maybe help if your mom snuggled with you a bit more now? Or maybe held your hand more often? That could help her understand that you really need her by your side during this hard time. Just let her know you want to try falling asleep without your binky... Try to put it next to you, so she can see it and maybe grab her hand. What do you think?

Try to work it out together. I’m sure that, at the end, you’ll understand each other. I’ll keep you in my thoughts. <3

January 12, 2017 at 8:36 PM – ReplyLike

blog-20170201-lenaMiss Opinionated (4)
Break a leg! And please, let us know how it goes!

January 12, 2017 at 9:40 PM – ReplyLike

blog-20170201-sonaSophia Siri Ray (37)
I would love to share with you how we did it…

Jonah has been without his binky for the past two weeks! emoticon-glasses After posting my comment here, I went to him and told him everything. I simply said: “Jonah, I know your binky makes you feel really good. But I’m worried that it will cause your teeth to be crooked and that it will bother you later in your life. I don’t want to take it away from you. It’s your pacifier. So I kind of don’t know what to do. Can you help me?”

He didn’t say anything and just kept playing with the binky inside his mouth for a really long time. I even started thinking he didn’t understand anything I was saying, and it was all useless. Suddenly, he came to me and handed his binky over. He went on playing without it. At bedtime, he was asking for it and started crying. I was determined to be completely honest with him and resolve this naturally. So we made a deal... He got his binky back for bedtime.

So that’s what we did for the next couple of days. He even tried without it, but still needed it for his bedtime and daycare. One night, Jonah couldn’t fall asleep, but didn’t want his binky. He was really unhappy and cried a lot. I didn’t know how to help him, so I just held him and stroked his hair. I felt really sorry because I could see how hard it was for him. After crying to his heart’s content, he grabbed his stuffed musical turtle and fell asleep.

The following day, he took his turtle to daycare, and he won’t let go of it ever since. Just to be on the safe side, I still carry his binky around with me, but he doesn’t ask for it. I know he’s been through a lot of transitions recently, and he needs to grab onto something – and the musical turtle won’t ruin his teeth. So hurray for us! emoticon-smileemoticon-smile

I’m so thankful, guys. I'm sure it wouldn’t have gone so well without your help. I feel good about the fact that we really did this together.

January 12, 2017 at 10:48 PM – ReplyLike

icon-envelope-yellow Private message:

For all the hesitating moms and dads trying to “pull the plug”...

Were you also blown away when reading what your children can take in? (How Danny realized his mom wasn’t playing games with him, and he really appreciated it!) And you’ve most likely got the big message: With pacifiers, it’s not just about the crooked teeth.

It’s about trust. They trust us to stand by their side and not to let them deal with this big transition on their own. They trust us to be there for them, to listen to their fears and troubles, and to find solutions together without tears.

Because we have them, too.

Yup, even those grown-up parents that can fall asleep on their own have their own bogeymen.

And if a chewed-up pacifier is the hot topic in your house right now (and the fact that you yourself might be chewed out by your pediatrician at the next check-up) – simply tell them. Just like Sophia did.

Talk to them in an honest and simple way about why their binky is suddenly a problem. Even if they can’t respond yet.

It may be that your little boy or girl will not understand fully the first time. Maybe not even the second time. But what they will get for sure is the big warm feeling that their parents are on their side. That they’re part of the same team.

And then, in a few days or weeks, yes mom and dad, maybe even at your house, the great and glorious day will come. Just like it did for the hundreds of other Unparenting families: Once you stop pressuring your children, they will wean off of their pacifiers on their own. And they will be walking tall after that :) And so will you <3

With love and great respect for all children and parents,
Your Unparenting Team


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How did you solve the pacifier crisis?