Pacifier Weaning with The Paci Fairy

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Ditching the paci can be extremely challenging, and even a source of dread for the months leading up to it. There are hundreds of ideas being pushed by pediatricians, dentists, parents, psychologists, and other childcare professionals. However, there is no golden method for getting rid of the paci, and finding the right one can be overwhelming.

This article is to detail our experience with the Paci Fairy, why it was most compatible with our family/toddler, and an honest review of how it went!

Our experience with the Paci Fairy

How do I know if it’s the right time to wean?

At around 18 months, our toddler didn’t have much interest in a pacifier during the day, under normal circumstances. She still used them regularly at night and during naps. But we began noticing early changes in the shape of her teeth. While her dentist assured us we still had plenty of time to wean her, this felt like the right time for our family for a number of reasons.

There are many guides available online outlining signs that it’s time to give up the binky. However, choosing when to wean your child off their pacifier is often a personal decision. Maybe you want to wean your toddler before another baby comes and needs the pacis. Or maybe a big life change has already come, and your toddler needs the extra comfort. Assuming there are no immediate health concerns, the decision ultimately comes down to what best fits your family/toddler at the time. That will look different for everyone.

Deciding on a weaning method

At first, we started slowly cutting back on the number of pacifiers available to our daughter. Eventually, she’d lose the one and only paci in her crib, and she’d stay up all night. This was turning our entire family into zombies, so we decided to switch methods.

We discovered another popular method of slowly cutting off more and more of the tip of the pacifier a little at a time. We didn’t get very far with this method. The moment there was even the tiniest hole in a pacifier, she would cry in her crib for a new one.

The very next method we tried was the perfect fit for us and our daughter…

The Paci Fairy Method

We discovered “The Paci Fairy” while searching the internet for ideas, and it got our creative wheels turning. The idea is kind of like the tooth fairy. But instead of leaving a tooth, you’re leaving a pacifier. 

The pacifier fairy felt like an idea we could really personalize to our daughter and make fun for her. She responds best to changes when they are presented as exciting, magical growth rather than something she just has to get through to make us or herself proud. We found some free printables online, that included stationery from the Paci Fairy’s office, a “special delivery” tag, a door hanger, and a receipt and thank you note.

The most common story used by parents didn’t feel right for us personally, but it’s still a cute idea. In this narrative, the Paci Fairy desperately needs pacis for new babies without any. She comes to your toddler, leaving a note asking for their help.

We weren’t sure something this abstract would land with our 18-month old, and we employ a different method for teaching her kindness/sharing that wasn’t wholly consistent with this. So we made up our own story. In our narrative, the Paci Fairy has taken note of the toddler’s growth, and she comes to present the toddler with an opportunity to transform their pacifiers into magical items more fitting for a big kid.

Setup and execution

We printed this set of free printables and personalized them for our daughter. One morning, our daughter awoke to an empty box with a letter from the Paci Fairy. The Paci Fairy praised her for her growth, and she offered to transform her pacis into unique magic items just for her. We hyped our daughter up and asked her if she’d like to do this after one last nap with her paci. Post-nap, we went around together to collect all of our daughter’s pacis and put them in the box. She then helped us put up the door hanger that says “PACI FAIRY – STOP HERE”.

Because we wanted our daughter to have something for comfort that night, we decided to make the swap before bedtime. My daughter and I went to the park while my husband stayed home to play the role of the Fairy. (This still makes me giggle to think about.)  When we returned, her pacis had been magically transformed into a dragon plushie and a glow-in-the-dark blanket, along with a ‘thank you’ note and receipt.

How it went…

The first night was weirdly successful. My daughter was so excited about her new items, and the idea that these really were her old pacis was fresh in her mind. But the second night, she started asking for her pacis again. We reminded her the pacis had changed into these new items. After about 30 minutes of fighting sleep, she settled.

The third and fourth nights were the worst, with the realization that her pacis were gone forever. My husband and I had to take the night in shifts as our daughter kept waking and crying out for her old source of comfort. After those nights, it slowly got better again as she adjusted to her new method of soothing.

By one-week post-paci, she was sleeping normally again. For the entire month after, she would occasionally ask for her paci. We would explain “no more paci” and present her with her blanket and/or dragon. She’d quickly accept that answer and move on.

I would be a fool myself to call the Paci Fairy method ‘foolproof’, or to think it would work for everyone (or even multiple children in the same family). Maybe it was sheer dumb luck that got us through weaning with minimal tears and effort. This is one experience in a sea of millions. But it is my hope that it may spark some ideas within you to create your own unique plan that fits just right for your family. Happy weaning!

What was your experience with pacifier weaning?

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Hi, I’m Dani! I’m an engineer turned clinical research scientist. My husband and I met through our mutual love of all things nerdy. We married in 2017 and recently started growing our family. Our first child was born three days into the start of the new decade. Just as we were ready to start bringing her out into the world, the pandemic hit. Finding communities online has been the perfect way for me to feel less alone in new motherhood and the wonderful, emotional, exhausting, and sometimes terrifying experiences that come with it. Columbia Mom =was one of these communities. In April 2021, I joined as a contributor. I will use my background in engineering and science to provide unique activities that I hope you and your children will love. I believe in honestly sharing the “good, bad, funny, frustrating, beautiful, and messy” parts of our new parenthood journey, so in this little corner of the internet, you might relate to something and feel connected and empowered.

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