I am curious how a child can be helped to move on from his/her pacifier, and what age is a good age to do this?

  • 5
    If you can get them to use one in the first place :-).
    – C. Ross
    Commented Mar 30, 2011 at 13:29
  • A week of throat infection cured our child from using a pacifier when he was 15 months old.
    – Barfieldmv
    Commented Apr 4, 2011 at 12:23
  • 3
    I'd say, the best option is just not start using it. Just put enough care and you avoid pacifier as well as finger sucking. Avoiding pacifier has other advantages, but this wasn't your question and this isn't an answer. Just a comment...
    – Ilia K.
    Commented Apr 9, 2011 at 1:36
  • What country are you in? We (Americans) stopped all our kids at around 12 months. Living in Italy (Napoli), we saw kids around Age 5 to 6 still using them. Could be cultural, but I think 12 months is about right. Commented Oct 21, 2013 at 19:14
  • Super interesting question. New to parenting via a step son who kept his pacifier until around 4 years old and we're still dealing with the aftermath (needing speech therapy, drooling, etc)
    – E.Aigle
    Commented Jan 8 at 20:37

9 Answers 9


In my opinion, I'd have them self-pacifying before they go to school at the very latest. Since you don't know how long it will take to wean them off, it's probably better to give yourself a head start of 6 months - a year before the time you'd like them cut off.

Start weaning them off by having it for exclusive use only: only for bedtime, only in the car, etc...

Other parents have done the following to stop it cold-turkey:

  • creating a scenario like the "tooth fairy", you exchange your paci for a coin or toy
  • having the pediatrician in on it and turning it over to the doctor and the doctor gives them a reward of some sort (lollipop or certificate)
  • having a send-off for the paci via balloons
  • if you have a new addition, you can tell them that the baby needs the paci now and that they have grown to be a "big boy/girl"
  • 17
    before school?? Wow, do some people really wait that long? I don't want to think how their teeth grow, when using a pacifier for so long. The bullet points are good! Commented Mar 30, 2011 at 8:52
  • 1
    @torbengb thats the same exact thought I had.
    – Tim Meers
    Commented May 14, 2011 at 16:17
  • 2
    @TorbenGB: good point: I'd say, at the latest when they start talking much, there is no option for the pacifier (at least during day-time). I've seen some kids who were able to speak complete sentences but you could hardly understand it because of the pacifier in their mouth...
    – BBM
    Commented Jul 12, 2011 at 5:52
  • 2
    @Rhea we did the send of, via postage, to a friend of mine who had just had a baby. My son was 2.5; we discussed and included other things the baby might need - diapers, a blanket, etc and shipped it off together at the post office. Whenever my son would ask for his pacifier, I would say "I dont know - where is it?" and he would say "we sent it to Alexander ...". We also got him a pair of roller skates the same day and told him that part of growing up was sending of your pacifier and getting roller skates. Commented Dec 23, 2011 at 23:09
  • @David - That's great, sounds like it was a success! :) I think it helps when kids are part of the process and the paci doesn't disappear into thin air. I would imagine that would be very stressful to have no control over their security object.
    – Rhea
    Commented Jan 20, 2012 at 15:01

Get them down to using a single pacifier, then cut a sliver off of the pacifier each day, making it shorter and shorter. I would recommend getting them off the pacifier before they are old enough to rationalize missing it; 8 - 13 months old maybe.

  • 5
    We did this for our son when he was just short of two years old. We would wait several days in between cuttings, though. We actually bought a bunch of new binkies, cut them, and left them scattered around the house. That way he couldn't narrow the problem down to just a single one. After several rounds of cutting, the binkies no longer gave him pleasure so he gave it up on his own. No fighting, no crying. My wife devised this after a plan called "bye bye binkey", found (I think) at www.bye-bye-binky.com. Commented Mar 30, 2011 at 11:49
  • +1 from me. We used this with our two daughters - worked with no fuss or crying. We did take a wee while to find all the ones hidden round the house:-)
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Jul 19, 2011 at 12:25

Dummy / Pacifier use should stop between the ages of 6 months and 12 months ...


It's possible that using a dummy at the start of any sleep period reduces the risk of cot death. However, the evidence is not strong and not all experts agree that dummies should be promoted. Don't give your baby a dummy until breastfeeding is well established, usually when they're around one month old. Stop giving them the dummy when they're between 6 and 12 months old.

...and they should only be used at night time before then


Restrict use of their dummy to when it's time to sleep. It’s hard to learn to talk with a dummy in your mouth.

As for how to stop, you could try "PANTLEY'S GENTLE REMOVAL PLAN"


  • 1
    +1 for "Pantley's Gentele Removal Plan" & other resources. Commented Aug 12, 2011 at 11:42

Our first daughter used to leave her binky everywhere. Eventually we started telling her that the dog would eat it if she left it laying around.

Then, one day, "the dog ate it." She howled for a while the first night, had a minor meltdown for the next couple nights, and then that was it.

Our second daughter gave it up on her own with very mild prodding.

My youngest son has decided that he likes his thumb better. I'm not sure what I'm going to do if he doesn't stop on his own -- it's not like I can take that away from him. :-)


Why do children suck pacifiers? Answering that question helps unravel the weaning puzzle. Infants are born with a sucking reflex and sucking is a natural and effective calming strategy. They are born with a NEED to suck. As their motor, vision, and attending skills develop, healthy children should be encouraged to learn more age appropriate calming strategies. It is so important for our children to learn self-regulation of their emotions so they can calm themselves appropriately as they develop.

Weaning from nursing/bottle feeding is possibly the best time to wean from the pacifier because they no longer NEED to rely on sucking.

Even if it does not change their teeth (OFTEN it does) it always changes their swallow pattern which OFTEN leads to muscle weakness, facial changes, and later speech problems. I see soooo many children with these problems. Here is a link to the International Association of Orofacial Myology that has a good overview of swallow development and possible complications/consequences.

A really cute book that kids enjoy about pacifier weaning is "The Last Noo-Noo." Parents find this helpful with the pacifier rite of passage.

  • Just be careful with those holes: you're in effect damaging the pacifier and the child's sharp teeth can make some bits come off. As with all equipment, parents should regularly inspect and replace damaged parts. Commented Jul 19, 2011 at 7:18
  • I like the book suggestion. +1 for that. By any chance, can you provide any sources for the changes in swallow pattern, and the associated problems? It is rather out of scope for this particularly question, but it would make for interesting additional reading.
    – user420
    Commented Jul 19, 2011 at 15:59
  • @TorbenGB thanks for the reminder! Safety should always be our first priority! Commented Jul 26, 2011 at 2:08
  • @Boefett Edited with link on changes in swallow pattern. Commented Sep 10, 2011 at 17:46

I had a pacifier until 5 years old. An aunt of mine promised to give me the big present I wanted only if I'd get rid of it. And it worked.

I heard that you don't really need to worry unless the teeth get deformed from the too intensive sucking. When the child will go to school, the mockery of other children will quickly make it uninteresting.

  • 1
    but if the teeth get deformed, its too late! Commented Dec 23, 2011 at 23:05

Getting our twins (almost 3 at the time) off pacifiers during the day came about naturally, but before bed/naps, they just had to have it. We couldn't manage spending hours trying to get two babies to sleep twice a day, so we cut the end of the pacifier off (not in front of them).

Then when they asked for it, we acted all surprised "Oh no. It's broken!" etc. For a while, they would still ask for it, but we would show/tell them that it's broken and that we can't do anything about it. Eventually they stopped asking and forgot all about it.


My daughter is 12 and she still wants to use a pacifier. I tell her no, but recently I've caught her sleeping with one and I also caught her buying a packet of Tesco loves baby 2 pack butterfly soothers. So I would say anytime they stop wanting to use one. I have spoken to her, but she says they are for her reborn she is getting for her Christmas, so I let her away with it but secretly I know they are for her. She never used one for 8 years. Personaly I would let them do what I did, stop them at 2-3, then if they want to start using one again at 10-12 let them.

  • 2
    Welcome to Stackexchange! At 12, your daughter has adult teeth. Aren't you concerned about tooth alignment?
    – MJ6
    Commented Oct 18, 2013 at 22:52

I say get rid of it around 6 months to a year for sure. If your child is 2 years old and still asking for his pacifier, I say tell him he's a big boy now and it's time to throw it away. Encourage fun activities because he is a big boy (or girl)! Deal with the crying for a couple of days, and bam they are over it! I assure you they will be fine!

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