What's the Right Age for Kids to Give Up the Pacifier?

Anyone who has watched a child blissfully suck away on a pacifier can tell you that it can be a hard habit to break. While there's no hard and fast rule for when to ditch the binky, doctors and dentists generally say that it should be around age 2 to avoid the risk of pacifier-related speech delays and dental issues.

"Kids who use a pacifier past age two are at risk for developing secondary bad habits -- such as tongue thrusting and lip sucking -- that can affect the growth of the mouth and teeth, making future orthodontic care more complex," says pediatrician Ari Brown, M.D., author of Baby 411

Easier said than done. Dr. Brown suggests going cold turkey. Other tricks include telling your tot that you're giving your child's pacifier away to a new baby, having it stuffed into a Build-A-Bear, and, of course, outright bribery. (And there's always Elmo: In the past, Sesame Street, which has a Bye Bye Pacifier DVD, has also held a Put Down the Pacifier Day.)

What age did your child get break the binky habit? Here's what our Facebook friends had to say:

"My son was two and a half, he weaned himself!! He just didn't want it!" -- Leanne

"My daughter had hers, at bedtime only, until she was three. At three we were done. I prefer the paci over fingers. I can take the paci away, fingers and thumbs are a much harder habit to break!!!" -- Shawna

"We took my daughter's away about two and a half months before she turned two. We didn't really intend on taking it away when we did, but we couldn't find it one night at bedtime, so she had to go without it and she did great. We ended up finding it the next day but we only gave it to her in the car for a few days after the first initial night, and then she was pappy free. She's now a happy, pappy free two-and-a-half year old. I think two-and-a-half to three is too old." -- Daphnee

"When they are ready. A pacifier is a security thing, one shouldn't take away their item(s) of security. My daughter spit hers out at about a year, but she needs her blankets and stuffed animals." -- Rebecca

"I say as soon as their first tooth makes an appearance. I was happy when during an ear infection, my six-month-old at the time, didn't want it! That was my cue to get rid of it! Like someone mentioned here, 'out of sight, out of mind.'" -- Sonia

"My son kept his until three. I just hid it, and dealt with the withdrawals with lots of hugs and kisses. It was not THAT bad." -- Ariana

"I took my oldest daughter's from her when she was one, but then she started sucking her thumb, and now she is four and still sucks her thumb. So I agree with not giving them one to begin with. My next two never used one." -- Brenda

"My daughter started spitting it out at four months. I took advantage of it and threw it away. She did the same with her bottle at nine months, just started throwing it." -- Sharron

"When they get ready to let it go. It is a security for some children. My child had one, and he was over three and still had it. Well it didn't affect him. He reads and has been since age three. He is social and just an all-around good kid. Everyone has opinions. I just don't listen to them." -- Brandy

"I guess all the kids are different. I have two children, both born prematurely. The nurses gave them pacifiers while they were in the incubators, so when they got home, they were already use to them. My daughter left the pacifier early, but sucked her thumb until age four. My son still asks for the pacifier, but he knows he cannot have it if we are out and about. Only in the car and at home to go to sleep." -- Flor

"It depends on the family. No two children are identical. If they still need one in college, start to worry. Just do what you think is best for your child and you can't go wrong." -- Mercy

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