The Battle of the Binkie

Baby Quinn, Mia the Monkey & Best Friend Binkie

Quinn taking a quick nap with Mia the Monkey & Best Friend Binkie

“Are you putting pacifiers on your registry?” the woman asked her friend. She emphatically replied, “No baby of mine is using a pacifier. I don’t know why moms let their kids use them. I saw a four year old still sucking on one the other day!” As my baby girl sucked away on her pacifier dozing off into dreamland, I shamefully tucked it under her bib as the women approached us to dote over six month old Quinn. Prior to Quinn being born, I too vowed that she would not be a “paci baby” for fear of her craving it for comfort as a toddler or even a preschooler. Needless to say, Quinn had other plans.

After giving it some serious thought, I decided that for Quinn’s “eight month” birthday which was just two days ago, I would drastically cut down her pacifier usage. So I removed her pacifier clip when she was consumed with playing, and she did just fine unless it was nap time, bed time, she was getting her diaper changed or was just a little restless and longing for the comfort of her best friend. Of course, I lost the battle, caved in and gave it to her each time. She clutched the pacifier strap with delight, plopped her binkie in her mouth and gave me the “please-don’t-take-it-away-from-me-I-need-it-look.”  I know eventually I will need to stand my ground even if she cries for it, but how will I know when the time is right?

Freud stresses the importance of the oral stage which lasts until around 21 months, which means Quinn has plenty of time with her binkie. I want to do what’s best for my baby girl, but is nearly two years old too old? I know each child is different, but I’d love to know what other parents think through the poll provided below and/or by providing your insight by posting a comment. Thanks in advance.

All the best,


9 thoughts on “The Battle of the Binkie

  1. You said it yourself, the oral stage lasts about 21 months. I took the pacifier from my son when he approached his second birthday. He spent two nights crying pretty hard for it, but I stood my ground, and that was all there was to it. Two days and he was done forever.

    • Thanks for your insight T.D. It’s nice to know that you were able to give your son the time he needed with his pacifier then stand your ground when it was time for him to move on from that stage. I am hoping I can do the same.

      • You can do it! The alternative is pretty unappealing. It gets harder to break them of the attachments the older they get – as I learned with my daughter and the baby blanket that practically wasted away to tatters before I could finally get her to sleep without it.

      • I appreciate the vote of confidence. One of my cousins carried around her blanket well into grade school and even gave it the nick name “pizza” because of all of the many stains and stories associated with it. As cute as that may sound, it is definitely an alternative I can do without.
        As and aside, you have a fabulous first name! Thanks again for your commentary. Best regards, Tanya

  2. My son (21 months) still uses his pacifier (which he named his “cap”) for specific situations. His daycare has helped with this. I give him his pacifier for the car-ride. (He has a little anxiety about going places until he gets there and the pacifier helps.) He hands in the pacifier when he arrives at school and gets it back for nap-time. He hands in the pacifier again for his after-nap snack, and he gets it back for the car-ride home. He gives it to me for our snack at home and gets it back at bedtime. It’s only when we are in new places around new people (anxiety-inducing situations) that he has it in his mouth longer, and he really needs it. At this point, if he doesn’t have it, he bites his hand. I’d actually prefer that he use the pacifier at this point. I’ll start to teach him other coping strategies and wean him off of it, but for now, the pacifier works.

    • Thanks so much for sharing your experience with me Jenn. I’m sure Quinn’s pacifier use is occasionally a coping strategy for her as well. I’m glad that you figured out a method that works for you and your little guy. I hope I’m able to apply an effective technique as well as she gets older.

  3. I swore I would take Jude’s paci away at one year. And then, I promised myself I would absolutely do it at two years. And then, I swore that we would make a clean break on January 1st. And now? I am still wondering when I am going to be brave enough to free him of the habit. It has to be done, but he’s SO addicted, and I’m just afraid of the meltdowns. He only uses it at nap time and bedtime, but the dentist said he’s starting to get a little bit of an overbite. That should be enough motivation to stop the madness, but dealing with a two-and-a-half-year old’s paci habit is NOT pretty.

    • Gina, I appreciate you sharing the experience you are having with Jude. It is so so tough not to melt under the pressure when babies shed those crocodile tears and get us to succumb with those puppy dog eyes and pouty lips. Quinn definitely has a hankering for her paci during nap time and bed time. There are times when she’ll be exhausted and not go to sleep unless she has her paci. She wants it immediately after finishing her milk too. I’m hoping some distraction tactics will work as she gets older. Sandy actually shared a trick with me that worked for her. Quinn is too young to for it, but it may work with Jude. She had her little one collect the binkies and put them in a special jar by his bedside for the “binkie fairy.” When he woke up there was a gift, a little toy truck he really wanted, for being such a big boy and giving his pacifiers to the binkie fairy. I thought this was a cute idea.

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