39 answers

4 Year Old and a Pacifier

My daughter, now 4, always took a pacifier and she absolutely loved it and was very attached to it. About a month ago, I started cutting off the nipple little by little to wean her from it. She was excited that the hole was getting bigger which meant that she was getting bigger. Now, she isn't sleeping well at all, gets up early and gets into mischief and won't take naps. She was always a wondeful sleeper (now I realize it was probably because of her pacifier) and now her behavior is horrible because of lack of sleep, she is missing almost 4 hours that she was used to and it is definately catching up to her (and us). What should I do? I know she is way too old to have a pacifier anyway (I am totally guilty of not taking it away when she was a baby) and I was excited when it got cut all the way down so she could only hold it in her hand. Of course, then there is the teeth issue too. So, I guess it comes down to the point of actually not having a pacifier and having a sleepy and crabby child or letting her have one. Any advice?

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J.-Don't feel bad - You are NOT a bad mother. My daughter was also 4 when her binky went bye-bye. The only thing that I did that was different was that I laid down by her at night as she cried for it. I just kept trying to say "It will be all right." and "I'm here" along with singing a song. Basically, trying to help her in her sadness, but without anger or frustration and with a little more affection than normal. As for naps, I wasn't able to get her to sleep past 3 1/2, so my only advice would be to have a quiet time in her room with toys/books w/o the binky or to put on a video/favorite show that you watch with her and cuddle. I hope this helps...

Find a favorite stuffed animal or blanky for her to hold through the night. It seems like a "habit" for a hold on something while sleeping. It worked for my son.

She is old enough to understand that big girls don't use pacifiers. Just take them away. Tell her- today there are no more, the cutting the nipple won't work, she is too old and probably too attached.

She is also old enough to know she needs to stay in bed. I would keep enforcing it. She needs to learn how to sleep without it. I bet in a week or two she'll be back to sleeping.

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Well, many/ most won't agree with me..... :) My sons, all in thier late 20's now, had thier pipes beyond 4. Not even sure when they got rid of them anymore. But I know that we did not make a big deal about it. None of them had problems with their teeth, none of them took the pipes to school. I do remember telling one of them when he came home from school, kindergarten, to go get his pipe & blankie ( at that time he would just hold it) & go & watch cartoons in the big chair. I could be sure that meant he would take a nap :) Everyone has to decide for thier child when it is a good time to take it away, or have them give it away. I do remember once when my brother-in-law brought my 2 yr. old niece over for me to babytsit & he told me that we are taking away her pipe today. Well, I put her right in the car & went to Wal-mart for a new one. Not on my watch, was I going to be the one to deal with her getting over it. :)
We have a good time now with the kids. laughing about the pipe thing.... it was not a big deal & you will have many battles, choose them wisely.

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter was 4 when we took hers away too...I think I let her have it way too long...
We put them outside on the porch one day...we were giving them to the baby birdies who needed them more than she did. She was all for it during the day, but as soon as she was tired that night...the cryfest began.
YOU CANNOT give in to it, once they are gone, or else the cry fest will not end, they figure out that if they cry and don't sleep, you'll give them back.
Take them away...and don't give them back, throw them away even so you won't be tempted.
there will be a few sleepless nights, and i noticed my daughter started getting up in the middle of the night again. They need to train themselves to sleep without it, so it does take a little bit.
But it happens...she's 8 now...and still talks about what a good deed she did giving her "binkies" to the baby birdies.

You have to bite the bullet and take the pacifier away completely. There will be a few days of adjustment (you know she'll be ornery) but it will get better. Better to deal with a few days of bad behavior instead of allowing this to continue. Best wishes!

She is old enough to understand that big girls don't use pacifiers. Just take them away. Tell her- today there are no more, the cutting the nipple won't work, she is too old and probably too attached.

She is also old enough to know she needs to stay in bed. I would keep enforcing it. She needs to learn how to sleep without it. I bet in a week or two she'll be back to sleeping.

You may have to put up with this behavior for awhile until she really gets used to not having a pacifier but it should end. Please take the little one away from her pacifier.

My girlfriend's daughter had issues with a blanket. She threw her a big girl's party and one of the things she did was have her bury her blanket in the backyard during the party. A few other kids also brought their baby things. We told them some new baby would get their things and they needed them more. Later, Daddy went out there and dug the things up and put her blanket well hidden with precious momentos in the attic. He knew she'd be back and try to dig it up. And she did, with amazement it was gone! Her mother told her with excitement that there's some little girl that's so happy to have a new blanket and her mom made a big deal about how proud she was of her new big girl. That was about 5 years ago. She's 11 now. I think it worked very well.

Hi J..
I see I am going against the grain on this one..but frankly, I feel there is a reason why some kids just need a comfort item. If you think about it... many adults have a comfort item of some sort...whether it is favorite shoes, a purse, smoking, a particular way we have to have the covers over us at night...whatever. We all have our little rituals that help us settle down in the evening and go to sleep. So, why do we make it such a BIG DEAL when kids need a comfort item?? I don't understand that really.

Most of the paci's these days are not really harmful to the teeth, particularly if they give them up before their permanent teeth come in. Also, I would much rather have my daughter suck a paci then her THUMB which can NOT be taken away ANY time!

My sister used her paci until she was 7. She eventually gave it up on her own. Once she was more then 4 years old, she never took it out of the house and only used it at night when sleeping.

If your daughter needs it... why create a drama issue for yourself? If she will accept something else to comfort her...then great. Otherwise, honestly...WHAT is the big deal? If she only uses it at night or naps.... is there REALLY any harm? Or is it a matter of everyone else says that she is too old for it. To those people ... I say ... then you give up something you believe you NEED to have each day... morning cup of coffee perhaps?

If she is completely without the pacifier already, then maybe she could write a letter to the binky fairy about how hard it is and the binky fairy can bring her something special to help make it easier (doll, toy or blanket-i would suggest a really small one)and buy 2 or 3 of whatever it is to keep in your closet so you can switch them out and will have a replacement if one of them gets lost. You might want to switch them regularly so that they get worn in, in the same way.

If she isn't completely without them, then have her box them up and leave on the from doorstep for the fairy to come and take and leave something special. Good luck.

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