How do you take the pacifier away from a toddler?


What are your tips for taking away the sleep time pacifier but keeping the great sleep! Our 2.5 yo is very attached. She sleeps with one in either hand and one in her mouth. We are noticing her teeth pushing outwards so know it is time for a change.

Oh boy, this is a tough one. 2.5 is a tough age to take away the pacifier, because it takes on the role of a lovey or comfort object. To remove the pacifier, you can try one of several approaches: have a pacifier fairy take it away and leave another small toy for sleep in its place, send the pacifiers to another baby and let her pick out a sleep toy to replace it, or you could snip a hole in the end, so that it’s not as desirable to use, but so that she can still have it and hold it during sleep times. Whatever strategy you use to take it away, you’ll want a plan for that first night after the change. You might go back to a familiar behavioral intervention that you’ve used before and she understands as a cue to sleep or you might try a new intervention to teach her that it is ok to sleep under these new circumstances. Good luck! Erin

Meg: Sometimes Erin and I have slightly different advice. Although I agree with Erin 100% and if you are really bent on stopping it, do what Erin says and be prepared with an intervention of your choice to help her deal with the new change! If you aren’t sold, my advice is don’t stop it just yet! You’ve let her have and bond with it this long it’s her lovey and if you pull it now, you may pull the nap with it. Wait until she’s a little older and understands more – just after age three. As long as you are brushing her teeth before putting the paci in and she’s sleeping well with it, those soft palate changes in her mouth and teeth will reverse themselves as long as you stop before age 4. That’s not to say she won’t need braces for another reason…… my 23 month old uses on for naps/nights and I have no plans to stop it any time soon. When I do, I’ll do what we did with my second daughter who was a paci addict and package them up and take them to our church. You can also have the dentist be the bad guy and take them to the bank at the dentist office around age three. I could go on ALL DAY about the paci!!!

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