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Tips on Breaking the Pacifier Habit

I have an 18 month old who loves his pacifier for sleeping and car rides. Our pediatrician recommends breaking the paci habit asap. The doctor's concern is that the pacifier will cause palate occlusion (sp)?. He referred to some recent studies which confirm that pacifiers are problematic for the developing mouth. Also, the Dr. says it will only be harder to break later. Has anyone else broken an 18 month old of the habit? I've heard cutting the tip or the entire rubber part helps. I just wonder how big of a battle I'm in for...and when you break them of the paci, do they attach to something else (another transitional object). Thanks for your thoughts.

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UPDATE - DAY THREE AND NO PACI: Thank you all for your great advice. We are on day three and I'm amazed at how easy it has been. We cut the tips off of several of his pacifiers and he seems puzzled or humored by it - but so far not angry or sad. Naps and nighttime have been no problem at all. This morning he was a little fussy when he saw a full (uncut)pacifier on the kitchen counter. (I haven't had the heart to cut them all nor the wisdom to hide the uncut ones). I'm hopeful that this will work. I think a few of you wisely captured the problem I'm having - apparently, I'm more attached to the pacifiers than he is. :) I do think if he starts sucking his thumb, I'll give him the pacifiers back. But hopefully, that won't happen. Thank you again!

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I started only letting my son have his pacifier in his bed at 18 mths. Then around age 2 I cut done the middle of the rubber part and when he put it into his mouth he immediately removed it and never used it again. Suprisingly he did not cry or do bad with it. I hope this helps.

I've had two children who have used pacifiers well beyond what they probably should have for car rides and sleeping. Both broke the habit about 3 years old. They are now 9 and 5 and they haven't had any dental problems. It is a difficult road to break it so young because you can't really explain it to them. At least later you can talk to them. It is up to you but if he is ok right now why not wait until they see some problem.

my 18 month old is also addicted. We tried to take it away when he was one and he cried until he threw up. We decided then it wasn't worth it. You could give it a try and see how upset she gets. My sister has a child with autism and it was really hard for her to give it up. Since she was only taking it at night the doctor said it was ok and the dentist also agreed. She sucked until she was 4 and there is nothing wrong with her mouth. I think the car is going to be the biggest challenge.

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Hi M.,
Im sure you will get some great advice on here. I have some things to try for a older kids that can understand a little more, however for this age its hard. All 3 of my kids were big pacifier babies. My Dr told us the same thing, to end it as soon as possible because of problems with speech, teeth alignment and other problems. Our son was a little over a year when we learned this and so we just took it away. The first few days were really hard, but he eventually moved on. With the girls, we took them away cold turkey as soon as we saw the first tooth come in. That was our guideline. We just threw them out. Trust me, the first few nights are rough, but they will get through it. I thought something my Dr said was so true... you never talk to an adult that feels like they are traumatized for life because their parents took the pacifier away cold turkey. WE always remember that, especially when we see a toddler that stills walks around with a pacifier in their mouths. Paci's are to help soothe babies, not quiet toddlers. Whatever creative way you come up with, just rememeber its better in the long run... you'll need to keep telling yourself that when he is crying for it! Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I did a few differnt things with my son and my nephew my nephew I took sissors and cut just the tip off of all his pacifers just enough to make it not work the way they want them to . after a few days if they are still sucking on it you did not cut enough off . the first time I did this my nephew put his paci in his mouth and sucked and pulled it out and looked at it so funny I wish I would of taken pictures . he gave it up in a day time he had a few restless night but he did well be strong . now my son we told him that the paci fairy needed his paci for new babies we tied it to a helium balloon and let him ship it away to the paci fairy for other babies we kept reminding him when he cried that his was abig brave boy but now the paci fairy had his paci . he got over it in a few day. good luck which ever one you choose to do .it is tough but they do adjust.

What I did when both my boys were about 2 or 2/12 was tell them that this is the last paci that you have and if it gets all yucky or you lose it that I wasn't aloud to buy anymore that the stores had to save them for the new babies. With my oldest he was very careful about not losing it and both of them were only aloud to have them at night or naps, so I eventually had to cut the tip off. I put it back where we kept it until nap or bed and when he found it he was very upset, but he had a blanket as well and that night I think that I was more upset than he was, he totally didn't even cry. We put his "broken" paci in his baby box together and kinda of had a little ceremony for it. As for my second son the dog ate it and I did the same thing as with my first as far as doing a ceremony. It all worked out. As far as what your pediatrician told you I have never heard of that and I have to say that unless your child has it in their mouth all day that it shouldn't be a big deal. I waited until they were at least two because I hadn't taken it away before they were one like I should have and I felt that I needed to wait until I could at least kinda of talk about it with my kids to where they understood and maybe it wouldn't be so tramatic for them and it worked for me. I think the whole pacifier thing for me was I was so worried about what everyone else would say when they found out my two year old still had one that I worried way too much. Now 4 kids later if they want it to help them sleep until they are 3, big deal the boys are no worse for the wear. I hoped I helped. :)

Hi M.,
A few ideas that have worked in the past include giving the paci to a new baby you know telling them how big they are and how the baby needs a paci. Another idea is to give the paci to a favorite character somewhere. (A friend's daughter gave hers to Minnie Mouse when they went to Disney and never asked for it again.) It sounds like you have the situation well under control if your son only has it in the car and bed...that is a huge start! Keep up the good work and I hope something works!

I know the feeling! My son loved his pacifier, and I kept putting off getting rid of it because I thought it would be horrible. People suggested cutting the tip like you had said, but I didn't really think that sounded like the safest thing to do. I prolonged the whole thing, like I said, because I thought it would be horrible, and because I knew I would feel so bad when he cried for it- but you know what? I just decided one day to get rid of it- or them- rather, and to my surprise, he did wonderful! Now maybe I just got lucky, but I'll take it! I try to remember this with things that have came up since the pacifier. It seems like it will be so hard, but it really doesn't turn out to be so bad! I think I saw on a show- maybe Super-Nanny, that they took their child and pacifier or bottle (not sure which one), to the beach and set sail to it. They had written a cute note to send with it, that these pacifiers where going to other babies that needed them now, or something like that! I think they even had a cute new toy or something for the child afterwards. Just to encourage and stear their minds to something new and exciting. Obviously it's too cold now for the beach, but you could try mailing it and letting your son recieve his "new" toy or whatever in the mail. It's always fun getting stuff in the mail anyway. Or you could try the whole tooth fairy aspect! Put the pacifier under his pillow, tell him the paci fairy will come take it and make sure it gets to another child that needs it, and let him find his new toy in the morning! I know this all sounds kinda, no, really corny, but hey- whatever works and whatever makes things a little easier- right?! Hope this helps! And remember, it probably won't turn out to be as bad as you think! My son didn't really turn to anything else right away that I can think of, but a little while after, I'm not sure how long, he did start to carry his little toys everywhere. Just one little play person. That beats a pacifier, it won't do any harm to their teeth or anything else!

My girls were a little older when we broke them of the Paci habit, but this idea may work for you as it is close to Easter. When my youngest daughter was about 2 we talked her into leaving her Paci for the Easter Bunny. She left it out the night before Easter and was rewarded with a special gift from the Easter Bunny. She never asked for it again, and really didn't attach to anything else.
We had tried cutting the tip, but that didn't work as she looked at it and then told me it was broken then put it back in her mouth!

I am not sure what the deal is with people cutting the tips of pacifiers. I babysit for a friend of mine and when her daughter was about 10 months (maybe 12 months I don't remember)she just took away the pacifier. It took a couple fo days but after that she was fine. It wil possibly be miserable for you for a couple of days, but 18 months is way too old for a pacifier.

I didn't have a pacifier baby, but I love Super Nanny's way of doing it. :)
She makes this envelope (those bigger ones) and decorates it for the paci fairy. She leaves a letter in the envelope; she says the paci fair takes the big boys paci's and cleans them and gives them to babies who need them. So you gather ALL the paci's in the house and put them in this envelope. You put the envelope in the mail. After the child goes to sleep you switch the envelope he mailed with a new one that has something in it he likes and a letter saying thank you so much. They become so proud they helped out babies that they don't think about not having the paci anymore.

At 18 months is about the age my son did become attached to something. He got this blanket, it was found in a keep sake box of his Great Great Great Grandmothers (on dad's side). It was her lap blanket one of a kind, quilt done by herself, but she passed before I ever got to meet her. We recently retired it 2.5 years later. We hung it from the shelf so his stuff animals had something soft to sit on. This is right above his bed so he can see it every night, but it's out of his reach. He only asked for it once. We replaced it with a new bigger blanket for his bed. So yes, I would say replacing it with something else would be good. Best of luck! :)

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