When and how to wean your child off the pacifier

The pacifier is a trusted companion for many parents in calming their little ones. But when the child reaches a certain age, it becomes a habit that needs breaking. The recommendations about when to stop using a pacifier differ slightly depending on the dental association. Our recommendations are based on the Danish Dental Association, which recommends stopping pacifier use before age 3.


Weaning your child off the pacifier can be a delicate process, requiring patience and understanding. This guide will explore some steps to help you transition your child from the pacifier.

Choose the Right Time:

Weaning is most effective when timed well. Choose a time when the child is in a stable and calm development phase. If other significant events are happening in the child's life, such as the arrival of a younger sibling, moving, or if the child is potty trained, it can complicate pacifier weaning.

Gradual Reduction:

Abruptly taking away the pacifier can be distressing for your child. Instead, consider a gradual reduction approach. Start by weaning the child off the pacifier during waking hours so that the child gradually gets used to not having the pacifier all the time.

Introduce Comfort Alternatives:

Replace the pacifier with comfort alternatives. Offer a soft blanket, a favorite stuffed animal, or a cuddle session when your child seeks soothing. Providing alternatives helps redirect their need for comfort away from the pacifier.

Create a Ritual:

Establishing a weaning ritual can make the process more predictable and less daunting for your child. For instance, let your child "gift" their pacifiers to a fictional character like the pacifier fairy or Santa Claus. This adds a touch of excitement and creates a positive association with the weaning process.

Positive Reinforcement:

Encourage your child to put the pacifier aside by using positive reinforcement. Offer praise or small rewards when they successfully go without it. Reinforce the idea that they are growing up and becoming a big kid, making the transition a positive and empowering experience.

Communication is Key:

Talk to your child about the upcoming changes. Explain why it's time to say goodbye to the pacifier and how it's a natural part of growing up. Use age-appropriate language to help them understand and be open to answering any questions they may have.

Involve Them in the Process:

Involve your child in the decision-making process. Let them be a part of choosing when and how to reduce pacifier use. This empowers them and makes them feel more in control of the transition.