There's no official rule about when kids should give up the pacifier, though experts generally agree that the sooner, the better after your baby turns one (and the risk of SIDS decreases). Here's what you'll face at every age from our panel of paci experts:
1 to 1½ Years Old "I think it's ideal to ditch the paci around the first birthday," says Lisa Asta, M.D., a pediatrician in Walnut Creek, CA. At this age, you're in control of the transition.
2 Years Old Research suggests that using a pacifier past the age of 2 can raise the risk of associated dental problems, like the upper teeth slanting out so now's the perfect time to kick the habit.
3 Years Old The good news is preschoolers have much better communication and cognitive skills, says Delahooke. That means they can understand the concept of giving up the pacifier and -- bonus -- getting rewards for it. But the habit is hardwired as a source of comfort, so be sure to monitor your child's emotions as you wean the paci away over the next 7 days.