After both of my babies were born, the nurses attempted to pop pacifiers into their mouths. They loudly refused, and I could not be happier as I later watched parent after parent struggle horribly to ban the binky. While I got quite lucky, in ways, by having infants that did not care for the soothing, quieting, breast replacement that is the pacifier, writing in the parenting realm for five years or so I've been in enough conversations with parents who have fought the binky battle to discover some tricks for victory.
Choose your binky battle strategy:
There seems to be two strategies that reoccur in the getting rid of the pacifier "success story" bucket: cold-and-cranky and slow progress. Which method will work for you and your child is going to depend largely on your parenting style and your child's personality.
Cold and cranky:
The cold-and-cranky method is pretty cut and dry; you take the pacifiers away, bear the storm, and hope your child isn't one of those with a memory like a steel trap and obstinacy to match. Some parents find this process goes smoothly and the binky is long forgotten within a day or so; others have more trouble. In that case…
Try: Apparently, sometimes playing into the fantasy-loving and grown-up side of toddlers can help. You could claim a "binky fairy" much like the tooth fairy, came and took all the binkies away and replaced them with a treat just for big boys/girls, because pacifiers are for babies. This rewards the loss of the binky, creates a cool story for your toddler to tell about why he or she no longer has a binky, and utilizes that strong desire to be all grown up.
Don't: Avoid telling your child clever fibs like, "all the pacifiers are broken," or "we just don't have any more binkies." The issue is that this gives your clever child the idea that pacifier use is still OK; there just isn't any to be used. Then later when you encounter one in the store or with another child, the stage is set for a tantrum of epic proportions.
This is the slow option where you gradually reduce binky use a little at time until it's gone. Some parents find this as bad as pulling a band-aid off slowly, while others find it works well with kids that reject drastic routine changes.
Try: Remove the binky at times your child typically desires one and replace it with a better alternative one at a time. For instance, you could start with removing the binky at nap time and replace it with a sippy cup full of water. Everyone, not just toddlers, is happier if you give something when you take something.
You can also try the when-all-the-binkies are gone trick. This is where you simply wait for the binkies to be lost or broken, and refuse to buy more. I've been told this seems to convince kids the process is natural rather than something mean Mom and Dad are doing.
Don't: While the slow method is meant to be gradual, avoid caving to tantrums when your child wants a pacifier. As with all parenting endeavors, this too will take consistency.
No matter what method you choose to use, remember that every parent runs into a tough spot now and then. If it seems like you're having no success, don't get discouraged; just keep at it and know you are doing a great job.
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