Pacifiers: How Old Is Too Old? Members Speak Up.

   By drodriguez  Jun 21, 2011

It’s known by many names: the pacifier, binky, soother, dummie, and so on. Some parents know it as something that can make a crying, fussy baby drift off to sleep in an instant…like magic.

But when is it time for baby and binky to part ways? Though there is no real correct answer, a recent SheSpeaks poll finds that more than 65 percent of our members feel that a child should be encouraged to give up the pacifier before the age of 2. About 20 percent of us feel that kids can hang on to that binky a little longer, giving it up between the ages of 2 and 3. Interestingly, close to 8 percent of our members feel that babies should never even be offered the pacifier in the first place.

Just talking to parents about the little piece of rubber (or silicon) can turn a quiet conversation into a heated debate. The press recently ignited the debate after photos were published of Suri Cruise, daughter to Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, who is almost 5-years-old and still toting the binky in her mouth. Austin, Texas pediatrician Ari Brown has this warning about pacifier use, “I think parents allow the binky to remain in their child’s life long after infancy because life just seems easier with it around. It only gets harder to take away as your child gets older.”

How old do you think children should be encouraged to give up the pacifier?

Tell us your experience with getting your child to give up the pacifier!

Make a Comment

RissaG by RissaG | MARIETTA, GA
Jun 29, 2011

I think by a year a child should do without the pacifier.

scentednights by scentednights | CASTLETON, VT
Jun 29, 2011

My kid's pediatric dentist recommended they be gone before the child reached one year old. I think mine were about 10 months when I took it away. They really don't *need* a pacifier. It's a learned behavior like whining or throwing a tantrum. Eliminate it early and there isn't the problem in taking it away. If the child is walking around and asking for it... they're WAY too old for it.

w2005blc by w2005blc | HENDERSON, NV
Jun 23, 2011

I personally think they should be gone by 1 year old. They get way too attached to them beyond 1 year and have a hard time realizing that they don't need it.

RainbowSodaPop by RainbowSodaPop | TAMPA, FL
Jun 22, 2011

I think that they are not necessary for any baby, but can work for some babies. I definitely feel that they should not be used past 1 year as they could impede language skills, but not in every case. Hands down, not past 2 is my opinion.

bozemanbrooks by bozemanbrooks | Bozeman, MT
Jun 22, 2011

My first daughter was a binky addict. I never wanted her to be that child that had to take her binky out of her mouth to talk to me. When she was 2 1/2 she was doing that and I got pregnant. So I decided it was time for the binky fairy to come. I think it was harder on me than her. 5 years old is WAY to old to have a binky.

josmommy by josmommy | toledo, OH
Jun 21, 2011

at suggestion of my sons pediatrician the bottle was no more after his first birthday and so was the binky,i read too many articles that it can hinder talking and i just did not want was horrible in our house for about a week but here we are over a year removed and he is a happy healthy two year old. his brother is five months old and his will be gone by January too.

frymom3 by frymom3 | HAMILTON, TX
Jun 21, 2011

my son is 19m and were working on the weening now..after 2 it starts to inhibit their speech. I think anything past 2 1/2 is too old.

missrena87 by missrena87 | cambria heights, NY
Jun 21, 2011

I think anytime the first couple of teeth are in since I believe the pacifier will ruin the shape of the child's teeth.

Jun 21, 2011

I think she is too old for a pacifier, but it does not surprise me, with who her parents are. they are odd as well...

rika600 by rika600 | BALTIMORE, MD
Jun 21, 2011

omg i am so tired that i have to see my boyfriends neice walking around with a pacifier in her mouth and she WILL be 5 in December! It's so annoying and they blame the way her mouth is shaping and her teeth structure on her fathers side of the family, when in reality it is because of that stupid pacifier! I am not sure how to wein your child off of it but I know for sure simply taking it away from them all together always can help.

InGinouity by InGinouity | Albuquerque, NM
Jun 21, 2011

I really don't think it is anybodies business but the parents and the child in question. Kids wean themselves of many things and take developmental steps when they are good and ready. Mine never had a pacifier, never liked them, but if he had, I'd have let him hang on to it till he was ready with it.

Truebrunette by Truebrunette | Hartland, MI
Jun 21, 2011

THIS is too old!!

pennysfromheaven by pennysfromheaven | WILLIAMSTON, SC
Jun 21, 2011

Only one of my three boys took a pacifier and then it was only for a month. I think 2 is an ideal age to wean a child from a pacifier

lauralee by lauralee | NEW YORK, NY
Jun 21, 2011

We were encouraged with our first to wean her from the paci and bottles by 2 so we did it. Her school thought there was a connection between both and a school biting binge. Of course, the biting stopped when she got her words (not when we stopped the bottles or paci) so we are letting our younger daughter wean herself from the bottle on her own time. I think the right time depends on your child and the degree of comfort they derive from it. No great advice on how--reading the book Owen by Kevin Henkes might help if they're old enough. Or Knuffle Bunny Free by Mo Willems.

msfriendly by msfriendly | MONROE, WI
Jun 21, 2011

My child never had a pacifier. She did suck her thumb for a short while though. I think a child should be weaned off a pacifier by age two.