Parting with the Pacifier

Most parents have experienced the struggle  that goes along with weaning a child off his or her pacifier.  Some children might be easier to break than others, but one thing is for certain, it is a big step in any child’s life.

It is important to remember that just like any habit, it takes time to break, especially for a child.  Have you ever tried to stop smoking or drinking coffee overnight? It’s not easy!

The pacifier is a soothing, calming device for your child and there are certain steps involved that will make it easier to wean your child off.

Step 1: Determine whether it’s time to get rid of the pacifier

Step 2: Introduce the idea of pacifier weaning

Step 3: Cut back on pacifier use

Step 4: Make plans to get rid of the pacifier

Step 5: Pacifier Gone!

However, if these steps are not detailed enough for you, or if you have already tried and failed, then all is not lost!

Allana Harkin, a writer at, recently wrote a column titled, “Diary of a Pacifier- A Step by Step Guide to Banishment”.  In the article she introduced seven steps for helping your child get rid of his or her Pacifier.

“Here’s how you do it:

Step ONE:  Know that the only thing keeping you from ending the soother reign is your own fear.  Fear that your child will always be using a soother. Forever. This fear is REAL, but most likely unfounded if your child walks, talks and has the ability to use or at least identify a toilet. If your child can actually write “pacifier” on a piece of paper you need to get help.

Step TWO:  Realize you have an event planned and have not yet booked a babysitter. Realize that every single babysitter you know is unavailable. Have friend who is hosting ‘said event’ to recommend a *new* babysitter who is lovely and reliable and actually works for her and is only babysitting because she thinks it will produce “brownie points”.  Make a mental note that this person hasn’t babysat in about 15 years. Feel confident and reassured because she’s an adult and is only being asked to chill out at your house for a few hours. Make additional mental note that a side job of babysitting sounds tempting. Leave cell # for any questions she may have.

Step THREE: Leave home and realize that you didn’t tell her about giving your child a soother. Know that even if you called, you couldn’t give her an exact description of where the soother is anyway because you suck at this. Assume that texts from the sitter will be forthcoming.

Step FOUR: Drink alcoholic beverage at party to ease guilt of more or less making a stranger break your toddler of pacifier habit. Get in immediate and intense conversation with a new stranger to momentarily distract oneself.

Step FIVE: Notice that it is well after bedtime and there has been NO texts about a soother. Check quality of phone and ask stranger to send text to be sure that phone service is working. Notice service is working. Start considering using *new* babysitters to break children of all unhealthy habits.

Step SIX: Acknowledge that a woman with no children and little to no babysitting experience did a better job than you at making your child forget her pacifier habit. Carry on ‘soother avoidance technique’ for 3 days. Do not for the love of all that is good in the world allow anyone to come near your house with a soother and do not use the term “soo soo”.  In fact, avoid using all “S” words until “No-more soother” download is complete. If you call your pacifier another name then the above still applies.

Step SEVEN:  When other parent friends notice your child is no longer using the pacifier, do not make casual comment like it was an easy transition or that you “just stopped”.  It doesn’t matter if this is true.  We all need to lie to each other to survive. And besides, you’re still potty training and no one can be that smug when in constant proximity to poop.”

Good Luck!