We were a hard-core pacifier house, ya’ll. I mean we LOVED that binky, both of us. A pacifier is such an easy way to calm your baby and offer soothing when you can’t always be there. We had the paci during wake times and nap times and it didn’t hinder his speech, appetite or teeth spacing in even the slightest manner. The pacifier was one of the greatest gifts to my peace and sanity, except when it wasn’t.
Despite being a “pacifier,” it also induced temper tantrums and screaming fits in the middle of the night. Whenever it would fall out of his mouth, or he couldn’t find it, or he tossed it into the trunk of the car while driving, it was the opposite of peaceful. That paci was simultaneously the bane of my existence and after 2 solid years of use, I was over it.
So how did I wean my binky-dependent 2 year old off a pacifier? Read below to find out!
No paci at school
This started on accident. Z got a new teacher at daycare and she didn’t realize he had a pacifier, so she didn’t know to give him the one in his backpack. She mentioned a few days of restless naps, but overall he didn’t notice. I capitalized on this by making him put his binky in his backpack as soon as we got to school every morning.
No paci during wake-time at home
This one was harder on me simply because I wasn’t consistent. If he found one on the floor, in his playroom, anywhere, he would pop it in his mouth. Once he had it, I felt bad taking it from him. But I did make a point to make him take it out anytime he talked or to give me kisses. It’s hard enough to understand baby babble, add in a paci and it’s near impossible.
No more paci at all
After a few days of being without a binky all day long, I decided to take the plunge and get rid of them all together. I anticipated a lot of screaming and fighting at bed time, but was happily surprised when that didn’t happen. Every toddler is different, but I was certain there would be an issue in our house and there wasn’t. We swapped the paci out with another night-time object of his choice; he opted for his stuffed bear, Lucky.
2 nights of restless, but not unmanageable sleep
Yup, that’s it. There was no additional time spent falling asleep than any other night with a paci. He was a bit restless throughout his sleep these nights, because he didn’t have that constant calming, but overall it was completely manageable on both his and my ends.
If he finds a pacifier that was lost or hidden somewhere, he will immediately pop it into his mouth even though it’s been a few months now that he hasn’t had it. I tell him “big boys don’t use pacis anymore, please give it to Mommy to put away.” And he hands it right to me. I think he will always have that tiny bit of nostalgia when it comes to a binky, I know I still do even as an adult, but he doesn’t need it anymore and that’s the true win.
This method worked for us, but some toddlers may do better cutting a binky out cold turkey. Or you may need to slow the weaning process down a lot more than we did by selecting specific scenarios or chunks of time each day that your 2 year old is allowed to have the pacifier, and then the rest of the time it’s put away.
Whatever works (or doesn’t) for you, I would love to hear about it. Share your stories in the comments below!