Your kiddo’s beloved binky brings peace and quiet to your house, helping soothe infants and calming toddlers. But, every parent knows there comes a time when your child has to say “Bye bye binky!” Suddenly, your days are full of crying, tantrums, and sleepless nights.
Pacifier weaning is a stressful, sad time for our little ones! For a lot of little ones, saying goodbye to their pacifier is like leaving behind a best friend. That tiny silicone savior has helped them through sleepless nights, overstimulating social events, and even painful doctor’s visits.
And, when our children are stressed out, so are we. It’s tough to see our kiddos go through emotional turmoil, even when it’s necessary. Repeated sleepless nights and tantrums wear the whole family out, too.
So, we’re here to help you with creative solutions to your family’s pacifier-weaning problems! With these options, saying bye-bye binky can be a fun experience for everyone!
1. Put the pacifier in a stuffed animal
If your little one is emotionally connected and dependent on their pacifier, then this can be a great option! Your little one will be able to keep their binky close while getting used to not being able to suck on it.
You can take your kiddo to Build-a-Bear and have their binky added to the stuffing. Or, if you have a crafty family member or friend, your little one can even design their very own stuffed animal to keep their binky safe!
However you go about it, make it a special day! Be excited about their new stuffie and make this method of pacifier weaning a fun memory.
You can explain to your little one that it’s time to say goodbye to their pacifier, but that it’ll still be with them. This is especially helpful if the pacifier is your kiddo’s security blanket. Your little one will be able to hug their plushie whenever they need to feel comforted.
2. Make pacifier weaning magical!
Many parents choose to make this tough time magical and exciting with the Binky Fairy! Just like the Tooth Fairy, a pacifier fairy comes while your little one is asleep and replaces their binky with new, exciting presents!
You can make this even more effective by telling your little one that the Pacifier Fairy only comes for big kids. Then, they can be proud of growing up! A visit from the fairy will be a right of passage for your kiddo.
Some parents even tell their little ones that their pacifiers will become friends for new babies. This helps your little one think their pacifier has a new friend and is going somewhere nice rather than the trash. They’ll be proud that their pacifier is helping other kids!
When you replace the pacifiers with new toys, make sure it’s something they love to ease the transition. Maybe it’s a stuffed animal or a toy from their favorite cartoon! Or, you can opt to give them a little pocket change just like the Tooth Fairy to let them pick their new friend.
3. Choose a special date to say goodbye
You can help prepare your kiddo to say bye to their binky by choosing a special day to do it! Mark it on the calendar, and have your little one help you count down the days.
And, make it a day to remember! Maybe you do it on their birthday and make it a right of passage to growing up. And, they’ll be distracted by cool new presents, cake, and friends!
You can even throw a Bye-bye Binky Party! It’ll be a great way to honor the pacifier, and your little one will feel involved in the process.
4. Make the pacifier unappealing
If you can make your little one say goodbye to the pacifier by themselves, you may have an easier time with the transition! Don’t try any of these tricks unless your little one is out of infancy and into toddlerhood.
You can try putting lemon juice or another unappealing food on the pacifier tip before giving it to your little one. Remember to only do this at age-appropriate times, and never when they’re an infant.
Cutting the tip of the pacifier so that sucking doesn’t feel the same can also help. Go bit by bit, only cutting a little of the tip off at a time, so they don’t notice as fast. Make sure to do this with very sharp scissors and leave no hanging bits or sharp edges.
5. Introduce other soothing techniques
Little ones are still learning how to soothe themselves, so taking away their tried and true soothing tool can be tough for them. For infants, you can try replacing sucking on a paci with rocking or white noise at bedtime.
For older kiddos, pacifier weaning is a great time to teach them emotional self-regulation. Help them name their emotions, talk about them, and practice calming techniques like deep breathing or hugs.
You can also replace the binky with a new soothing item, like a stuffed animal, as they get older. Having a new friend to sleep with can help replace the binkie!
Make Pacifier Weaning Fun!
With some of these creative tricks for binky weaning, you and your little ones might even have fun on this tough journey! Working with your little one and recognizing their needs can make the process much easier.
Remember, have patience and hold firm! Your little one is dealing with big emotions and needs your help to say goodbye to their beloved paci. When you decide to take the binky away, be firm in your decision and help your kiddo through their big feelings!
For an in-depth guide to pacifier weaning techniques and when to start, check out our practical guide!