This post is long overdue as Monty's paci is long gone... we parted ways last summer when he was 18 months old. But I read an article in Parents magazine the other day about another families' attempt to ditch their daughter's pacifier and it brought me back to the feelings of uncertainty and fear every parent goes through when approaching this big milestone. Would my son ever be able to fall asleep again on his own? What about car trips, plane rides, and upsetting situations that a good suck on the pacifier seemed to solve? Turns out I had nothing to fear except fear itself.
There was no "binky fairy" at our house, no mailing of the pacifier to a younger cousin or friend, no cold-turkey-cry-it-out scenarios. In fact, there was practically no strategy at all. It almost happened by accident. We'd been trying to keep Monty's paci use isolated to his crib and carseat (long rides only) and had been relatively successful. Between Stroller Strides, playgroups, and family trips last summer we were constantly on the go and found ourselves suddenly with only one pacifier. The others had been lost along the way and never replaced. I found myself always checking to make sure our last one didn't go missing as well!
One day I went to get Monty from his nap and found him playing with his last paci in his crib. The very tip of it had ripped about 3/4 of the way off. Not wanting him to choke on it I snipped that little flap right off. It dawned on me right then that this could be the end if I played my cards right. For the next few days I continued to snip it shorter and shorter until all that was left was a little rubbery ring attached to the plastic base... very unsatisfying. And that was the end. No drama. And you know what? He sleeps very well (most of the time) and has never once asked for it back.
I'm not saying it will work for every kid but if you're thinking of parting ways with a pacifier it might work for you! Best of luck and let me know how it turns out ~ Missy