Both of my children were pacifier users. It didn’t really bother me that they used it. In the beginning, when they were babies it was in their mouths quite a bit, it was what kept them calm and I needed every tool I could used to keep them calm. Though as the year got on we knew that we needed to do something about it during the day hours. My husband and I didn’t mind still using during nap and bedtime, but we really only wanted to not have it in their mouths the whole day.
My son was easy to transition from all the time to only during nap and bedtime. He understood that he couldn’t have the whole time and that it was a trigger for him to fall asleep or calm down. My daughter, on the other hand, was a put everything into mouth type of girl. In order to prevent her from putting random objects into her mouth, we kept the pacifier in her mouth as much as she wanted. So she always had it in her mouth and it took longer for us to transition to only nap and bed.
When my son just turned 3 we knew that we needed to give the pacifier a boot. We started by not replacing the ones we lost or left somewhere. We explained to him that when the one he had was gone that was it. Well the time came a little sooner than we all thought. After about 30 minutes of looking around the house for it, I just told him that the paci fairy had come to take it and she leaves a present in the morning for taking the paci. (I always have a few small things tucked away for such occasions) He seemed to be okay with it. The next day before nap it only took us one reminder for him and then after that he would tell us before bed and nap. A year later and he doesn’t even think about it. No crying, whining.
Well a few months later the same thing happen to my daughter. She was a little harder to pull from the pacifier, but within a couple of days she was fine. We explained the same thing to her and reminded her that her new toy was in place of her pacifier. The funniest part is that we found 4 pacifiers the next morning. We hid them all. There was a couple of months later that she found the last special paci that we kept. She put it back in her mouth, as if no time had gone by. We immediately took it away and put it up the in attic, so that there was no finding it again.
Now for us, we really waited till both my children were ready. My daughter would have had that pacifier for at least another 6 months if were weren’t also dealing with speech issues. Not to say that a pacifier causes a speech delay, but more that we were having a hard time limiting her pacifier only to nap and bedtime. I did noticed, after removing the pacifier with both children, that we lost the trigger they had to calm down and get ready for bed. Even still it is hard for them.
Please use your own judgement on when it is the right time to remove the pacifier from your children. Have you gone through this? Do you have any suggestions?