The best possible age to wean from the pacifier is follows: Between 4-6 months, and after 2.5 years of age. Between the ages of 6M-2.5YRS, there are extreme spikes in separation anxiety, stranger danger, and developmental leaps. Taking away a primary comfort item during this time is not only traumatic for the baby, but could also lead to the baby wanting something in it’s place to soothe him or her back to sleep between every sleep cycle, which repeats every 45 minutes. However, if you’re still willing to go for it, see the next step below which is good for pacifier weaning at any age. If your baby is under 5 months, you can easily wean with this class here. If your baby is over 6 months, and you’d still like to wean from the pacifier (only takes 2-3 nights in this class!), try some modern sleep training with one of our self-paced online classes.
A lovey, a small silky blanket (like this one), or a small stuffed animal to squeeze at night can be encouraged during the DAY in place of the binky to transfer their attachment to. To encourage the bond, bring the new lovey on car rides, place in child’s hands during cartoons/storytime, and incorporate the new “friend” in silly games like peek-a-boo games in the child’s room or wearing it on your head and ask your child to “help you find it”. Make sure the lovey has no small parts like button eyes or any potential choking hazards. In our 3-4M class, you can learn a variety of alternative soothing methods by using our “Drowsy but Awake” ladder printable, which slowly walks you through how to put baby down and begin to learn self-soothing.
To gradually wean a 4-6 month old off the pacifier, start by introducing about 5 minutes of rocking into your naptime and bedtime routines after the feed, allowing baby to suck on the pacifier. When baby is about a 9-9.5 on the drowsy scale, slowly inch it out with your pinky finger. If baby’s eyes pop open and they look around, go ahead and pop it back in, keep rocking, and try again in a few minutes. This can also be done if baby is already in the crib, and almost asleep. Give it a week or so, practice makes perfect! Once you have completed pacifier weaning, you can begin to officially sleep train your baby, using this at-home sleep program here for 5-18 month olds.