Desperate for Advice: Trying to Wean My 18-Month Old from Pacifier

Updated on January 24, 2008
Y.H. asks from Chicago, IL
5 answers

My husband and I work full-time and we're going crazy trying to wean our 18-month old from his pacifier. We were tired of getting up in the middle of the night multiple times to put the pacifier in his mouth so 4 days ago, we decided to quit cold turkey. He only used it for sleeping anyways.

He will cry for a little while, but go down for his one nap a day - so naptime without pacifier is not a big deal.

Night time has been hell. Last night he woke up crying for his pacifier at midnight and wouldn't go back to sleep and stay asleep until 4 am.

We would rock him in the rocking chair and he would fall asleep, but he would immediately wake back up when we tried to lay him down in his crib - VERY CLINGY to us. We let him cry it out a little, but he was still going full force after 1 hour.

He has been so traumatized going without his pacifier at nighttime that we're tempted to go out and buy new ones.

He does not like any stuffed animals so trying to substitute doesn't work. He has a blanket he always holds at night, but that doesn't seem to be sufficient without paci. The only substitute he wants is to be held by one of us.

We tried bringing him to sleep between us in the master bed, but he hates the big bed.

Will the pacifier withdrawal end soon? Any tips??

thanks for any advice!

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answers from Chicago on


I feel your pain. Breaking kids of the paci and anything else is always tramatic. But, honestly there is no real reason for him to have it anymore. He is old enough to self soothe at this point. Stand your ground, he will only put up more of a fight at age 2. It sounds like the problem is that he doesn't know how to put himself to sleep. Do not rock him until he is asleep, put him in his crib awake but tired. Give him his blanky and leave the room. You can go back in to comfort every 15-20 minutes, but do not take him out of the bed. Pat his back, tell him you love him and leave the room. I promise the first night or two is rough, but then he will get used to it and you can actually get some sleep. As long as he knows you are going to give in he will wait you out. (kids are so smart---they play on your guilt) If you haven't already, I reccomend by a copy of Dr. Ferber's book and following the routine. Good Luck, you are doing the right thing.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My friend told me that she is trying to wean her 27 month old and she cut the tip of the pacifier a little at a time. At this point, he takes it to go to sleep but within minutes he lets it fall out of his mouth. My 15 month old still uses one for nighttime and the car. I am going to try her method when we are ready to lose the pacifier. Hope this helps.



answers from Chicago on

If the only problem is that it falls out of his mouth when he's sleeping, let him keep it. They say it's good for growing brain, anyway. Then hope he learns how to find it and replace it himself in the middle of the night.



answers from Chicago on

My daughter never took a pacifier so I don't know much about them but I do know that
babies' sucking needs dramatically decrease after age 2. So there's a possibility that if you
let him have it for another 6 months it might be easier then.



answers from Chicago on

We were in the same boat too with our daughter at 18 months. She only used it for naps and bedtime. Our dentist told us to poke a small hole in the pacifier and use that for a week. The next week you snip the very tip off and the next week cut more. Once they loose the satisfaction of sucking, they loose interest as my daughter did. When we finally took them away, she had no interest at all in them. With my daughter, I did it much slower than my dentist recommended because I needed my sleep. We made the adjustments every two weeks and made them each barely different that the previous change. With each change, she would protest just a bit the first night or two. My dentist said it was ok for her to use it up to about 20 months. After that she said it was really difficult. If your child has been without now for a couple of days I'd be hesitant to go backwards. I liked the way we did it because in the end it was my daughters choice to not use them and I didn't have to deal with any guilt. Good luck! It's a hard transition.

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