9 Months: Bid Bye-Bye to the Binky
The longer a baby uses a pacifier, the more attached he becomes to it, and he'll rely on it heavily to calm himself down, as well as to fall and stay asleep. If Baby gets overly dependent on his paci, it may interfere with speech development and lead to ear infections and even buckteeth. The good news: Teeth usually return to normal after a few pacifier-free months.
"The best time to take away the pacifier is about 9 months," Dr. Greene says. "By then, a baby's sucking reflex has diminished and he has not yet formed a real attachment to the Binky." What if you missed that window? Aim to wean your tot from it by his first birthday. Children enter into a dramatic speech-development phase around this time, and you don't want to hamper his talking.
Break the Habit Rather than go cold turkey, limit the Binky to naptime and bedtime, Dr. Greene says, as it's easier to distract him with other activities during the day. Your next goal: Wean Baby from it for naps, then move on to nighttime. Start off slow, snatching it from his crib after he's fallen asleep. He may not realize that it's gone missing -- even when he wakes. Eventually, you'll have to put him to bed without his paci. If he cries, offer him comfort, but don't bring back Binky.
Yes! Weaning Success! "I was desperate to get my 18-month-old daughter, Kylie, to ditch her Binky. I told her that if she left it in the mailbox, the postman would deliver a present. She cried the first night, but she got the train set she wanted and hasn't asked for her Binky since," says Lisa DiEsso, of Bridgewater, New Jersey.