Pacifier Weaning a Toddler Without Frustration

It’s common that parents start to plot and plan how they attempt pacifier weaning their little one. You may call it a paci, bink, pacifier, or any other number of cute names. Here’s how we are handling the topic of the bink.

I remember clearly that I never even wanted to give my son a bink. He was about a week old and he was having a rough day. He was being fussy and as a new mom I was looking for anything to help calm him. In went the bink and he was a happy camper.

I eventually got over him using the bink. Except I noticed others had not. Friends, family, and complete strangers would give advice on how to break him of the bink.

Most of the advice included things like making the binks completely disappear or saying things like, “big boys don’t need binks.” This is bad advice.

Here’s the thing though. Now that he is 3 the advice and the comments just keep coming. I let it go but the real feeling here is “back off.”

Sorry family and friends. This may be how you did it with your kids and it may have been socially acceptable then. It’s not acceptable now. Let’s dive into how to actually handle the issue of the bink without damaging a child’s self esteem.

The Case To Not Fight The Bink

Why fight your child, go through nights of unrest, and have lots of crankiness? Eventually your child will grow out of the bink. They will make the decision that they no longer need it instead of having that decision forced upon them.

What is better for your kid, you force them to make growing up decisions or they make those decisions for themselves? Putting the power in your kids hands to grow up means they become more confident in their own capabilities.

There are ways to encourage, without forcing, your child to give up the bink.

Set Rules

Setting rules for the bink is a great way to help your child break having it in their mouth at all times. For instance, our rule is the bink doesn’t leave the house. When we go to put on socks and shoes the bink comes out of the mouth. My child naturally does this without even being asked.

When he was crawling and first walking we started the no bink out of the house rule and he just got used to it. Now he doesn’t even try to leave the house with the bink.

You may make additional rules like only at bedtime or naptime. A lot of kids adapt easily to this rule so long as it’s started early. The bink is a soothing factor to going to sleep.

By setting rules you are still leaving the power in your toddlers hands for deciding when they are ready to give up the bink. You are encouraging them to do exactly that without forcing it. This helps to build confidence in your toddler.

It’s No Big Deal

The bink is like Fight Club. Rule #1 don’t talk about the bink. The bigger the deal the bink is the more likely your kid will fight giving it up. So, if the bink is no big deal you are making it easier for your kid to give up the bink.

The less you fight the bink and your child’s use of the bink, your child will not fight you in giving it up. It’s like reverse psychology for toddlers. You make it seem like the bink is boring by never paying it much attention.

Don’t Give Them The Bink Unless They Ask

If the bink comes out of the mouth in the middle of the night go ahead and remove it from their bed. If they wake up without the bink they learn that it’s ok to be without the bink.

At night or nap time they may search for or ask for the bink. At this point give them the bink like it’s no big deal.

Remember, your child may have an attachment to the bink as a source of calm and without it they may feel they are in turmoil. Toddler’s have big emotions and it’s important to remember that. If you pretend the bink is lost they will feel like a part of them is lost too.

The bink should remain available to them until they no longer feel like they need it, like it’s a part of them.

Check out my post What To Do When Your Toddler Is Scared To Poop.

No Shame

The last thing that you want to do is shame your child. Additionally, close family needs to know that shaming your child into giving up the bink is unacceptable.

Do not say things like, “Binks are for baby’s.” Don’t make your child feel ashamed for still using a bink. This hurts their self esteem greatly.

The last thing you want to do is damage their self esteem. So remain positive and use positive reinforcement.

Positive Reinforcement

You don’t want to use positive reinforcement like “You’re such a big boy without your bink.” This implies that with the bink they are not a big boy, so when they use the bink it becomes damaging to self esteem.

Instead say, “Great job!” Never wrap a negative into the positive. Keep it simple. Reinforce what you want them to do without adding shame if they choose to use the bink again.

Remain positive when they give up the bink naturally. Be neutral if they decide to use the bink again. Big emotions in your toddler means they may need that bink to help calm those emotions. That is ok.

With positive reinforcement they will eventually feel confident enough in controlling their emotions that they will let it go without issue. That is the ultimate goal.

Final Thoughts on Pacifier Weaning

Remember the bink is not worth the fight. Set smart rules like, no binks outside of the house because you might lose the bink. Use positive reinforcement not shame to help your child in their decision to give up the bink.

Your child will eventually give up the bink on their own. This will build their self confidence and allow them to learn how to control their very big emotions naturally, preparing them better for all that life will throw at them.

Do you have a positive reinforcement bink story you’d like to share? Leave a comment below. Follow me on Pinterest for more like this and pin this to your favorite parenting boards.

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    Crystal Lynn

    Crystal is the founder & CEO of MommyThrives and also full-time mom to a very active little guy. She’s passionate about cooking, cleaning, and organizing and turns her experiences into actionable systems to make mom-life simpler. When she’s not busy, you can find her reading, painting, or even on occasion indulging herself shooting bandits in Borderlands on her PC.

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    4 Responses

    1. Chelsea says:

      I worry that my little girl will want to keep the paci too long. The dentist said I need to get rid of it by age 3. She just turned 2, but I’m having such a hard time letting go. I think its cause she’s my last baby and I’m just not ready. I also don’t want it to affect her teeth and speech though.

      • Just take it slow. Create small rules around use of the paci. Only for bed or only for sleeping. It’s the fight less route and eventually they just give it up on their own.

    2. Alma says:

      I totally agree , the only reason I want to remove it so fast , he’s 2 by the way, is because I’m afraid it’s not good for the shape of the mouth and teeth , and also speech wise , noticing a lot for words with “th’’.

      • Crystal says:

        For our son it was setting rules like only at bedtime that really stopped the pacifier usage. Then we started letting him fall asleep on his own terms without the pacifier and soon after we were back to a bedtime routine and the pacifiers were no more. It really helped to take the slow approach, he didn’t cry for his pacifier and learned to find comfort in other ways.

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