Binky Free is the Way to Be!

The kids go back to daycare the week after next, and when they go back, both will move up to the next classroom from the one they left at the beginning of the summer.  Big dudes!  Bean is excited because a lot of his friends had already moved up to the three-year-old classroom before he left for summer, but he wasn’t old enough to go with them.  Now, when he goes back, he’ll be in class with them again.  He’s very excited about that.  Gracie is moving up out of the baby room and into the toddler room.  Big doin’s at our house!  She was supposed to move up back in March when she turned one, but girlfriend wasn’t interest in walking yet, and you have to be a walker to move up.  She started walked about a month before I pulled them out for the summer, and rather than go through the transition of changing classrooms only to be pulled out altogether a month later, we decided to keep her in the baby room until summer, and then she could start in the toddler room in the fall.

Well, fall is unofficially upon us, and Gracie now has to move up to the big kids room.  This, among other things, means that she will not be able to have to her binky with her all day.  In the toddler room, they can use them at nap time, but not during the day.  This was just the motivation I needed to yank the binky from her.  I’ve been meaning to do it all summer, but there was always an excuse.  She had ear infections, she had just gotten tubes, she was finally happy, we were traveling, she was teething….and the list goes on.  There was always something.  But finally this week I decided one morning that that was going to be the day.


With both of our kids, we went cold turkey with binkies.  I knew Gracie would be harder because she has become VERY attached to her binky these days.  But, it was time.  With Bean, I snipped the end off the binky, gave it to him, he put it in his mouth, took it out, and threw it on the floor, announcing that it was “bo’ken,” and he never looked back.  So, I thought we’d try the same thing with Gracie.

I snipped the end off the binky, and gave it to her.  The idea is that it is supposed to be the baby who decides they don’t want it anymore because it’s broken.  So, I waited for her to do the right thing.  Because we all know that toddlers ALWAYS do the right thing…

She put the binky in her mouth, and quickly realized something was wrong.  She took it out, and examined it thoroughly.  I waited for her to throw it or something, but instead, after standing there thinking for a minute, she simply put the broken binky back in her mouth and walked around for the next 10 minutes holding it in her mouth with her hand.

Hmm…  this was going to be tricky.


I spend the next hour rounding up all the binkies I could find, snipping the ends off, and throwing them away.  It took a while.  Gracie has LOTS of hiding places.  Finally, the only binky left in the house was the one she was physically holding in her mouth.  I went over to her and told her that she was a big girl now, and that big girls didn’t need binkines.  I convinced her to walk over to the trash can and throw her binky inside.  And that was it, for a while.  She played all day without her binky, and was fine.

I knew bedtime would be rough because she always gets her binky and her bunny when she goes night-night.  So, she started crying for bunny and I gave that to her.  And then she asked for her bee-bee (Gracie speak for binky), and I told her very sweetly that, “Big girls don’t need binkies, Gracie.  You are a big girl now!”  I laid her in her crib, said goodnight, and left, like I do every night.  But instead of going quietly to sleep like she does every night, she cried for about 15 minutes.  All things considered, that wasn’t too terrible.  I expected it to last much longer.  But she really took it like a champ.  And the next morning, she slept later!  I got up at 7:00, which was when she usually gets up, and I realized that she hadn’t made a peep.  So, I poke my head into her room and found her sitting up with her back to me, playing quietly.

“Wow!” I thought. “We should have done this months ago!”

But as soon as I opened her door, she turned to look at me, and there in her mouth was a flippin’ binky!  She must have had it stashed somewhere in her crib!  The little cheater!

The next day was a little harder than the first.  She cried for her bee-bee every couple hours, but only for a couple minutes.  When I went to get her to put her down for a nap that day, I found her trying to get into the trash can, saying, “Bee-bee!  Bee-bee!”  But I reminded her again that she was a big girl now, and that big girls didn’t need a binky.  She cried for about 20 minutes at that nap time.  It was her first real time going to sleep without one, and she was PISSED.  But by bedtime that night, she was starting to understand.  She said, “Bee-bee?” and then she laughed and shook her head no.  She cried for about 10 minutes when I laid her down, but that was it. She still cries a little bit before she goes to sleep now, and that’s different for her.  But she’ll learn how to soothe herself, which is the point of taking the binky away.  She has to learn how to calm herself down without something doing it for her.

It’s been two days now, and she is hardly asking her it anymore.  Though, she did see a kid with one in a store the other day and said very loudly, “BEE-BEE!” but she wasn’t really crying for it.  More like just pointing it out.  It’s still tough in the car because I can’t distract her when she asks for it, so that’s been hard.  But overall, it hasn’t been as bad as I thought it would be.

There are lots of different ideas for how to get rid of the binky.  If you’re the kind of family who wants to go cold turkey, like us, then I would suggest getting the binkies completely out of the house.  Throw them away, and then take the trash out.  Because it’s not the child who you have to worry about – it’s YOU!  ME!  If a binky had been at hand when she was crying in the car the other day, I would have just given it to her.  It’s easy to give in out of sheer exhaustion.  But if there aren’t binkies around in the first place, then that takes that option completely off the table.

Every time we eliminate some part of infancy for Gracie, it’s a little hard for me.  She’s our last baby, and so when she’s done with the high chair or the bouncy seat or the walker or the binky, I get a little sad because that means I’m done with it, too.  Ahhh… toddlers.  They tug on your heartstrings until you just about can’t breathe, and then they throw a temper tantrum that brings you right back down to earth.  Gotta love ’em.

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11 Thoughts to “Binky Free is the Way to Be!”

  1. Deepa

    The binkies ARE for the parents! It took AGES for Josh and I to finally be able to throw them away. Rohan was almost 2! We waited until we had 2 15-hour flights (to India), but honestly, he would have done fine without them, I think. We needed them more than anything. With our second, we have visions of getting rid of the binky when we sleep train when Nico turns 6 months. Let’s see how that goes…

  2. Aw-this made me feel a bit sad.
    We don’t have kids yet but I remember from babysitting (one family with 5 kids for 6 years) how attached the small ones grow to their dummies.
    The poor little thing. Better in the long run obviously but oh 🙁
    I can hardly believe how strict the schools are. I don’t think it’s that tough this side of the pond.

  3. We just went through the same thing in our house! There are still times where, selfishly, I wish I could give her the paci back – – but I know, in the long run, she’s better off! Best of luck:)

  4. We started binky detox this week. Now my son carries 3 in his mouth. He has one in his mouth and holds one with each hand AT his mouth. I’ve been just trying to do let him have it less. My sister {she’s got 4 kids} told me to just rip it off like a bandaid.

    That’s what I’m gonna have to do. NO more binky. Ever. My life is about to get harder.

  5. Man, we had a bad go of getting Vivian to give up her paci. We accidentally timed it when her lower 2y molars were cutting – it got to the point where she would have a complete panic attack and SCREAM for >1 hour at naps and bedtime. We ultimately gave it back to her because we felt it was better for her to be able to sleep and we needed her to feel comfortable in her crib. We need to try again because she’s not actively cutting any teeth right now. I’m skerred.

  6. I love the idea of cutting off the end of the binky! Nice tip! Ellen gave up her pacifier on her own, but I wish she would have taken it longer for teething sake. I am saving this tip for when we have another one 🙂

  7. Kat

    We still haven’t taken the pacifier from P yet – I’ve been thinking more and more about it but it just never seems to be the right move – like what will she do when she gets to daycare and someone else has a binky?!

  8. Hilary

    I just had this conversation with a friend today when he saw my 2 1/2 yr. old with his paci. Honestly, I don’t have a problem with kids using pacifiers during designated times – my daughter only used hers for naps and bedtime and at three, we cut it to just bedtime. I told my husband that I wanted to take it away completely by the time she was four, so at Christmas, we conveniently “forgot” it so she didn’t have it for holiday visits. She cried the first night and that was it. We came home after a week, threw out her pacifiers and never looked back. We’ll do the same with my son. My BIG concern with taking away the pacifier was that my kids would start to self-soothe with their thumb or fingers and I’ve heard that trying to break those habits are a nightmare. I’d rather let my kids have their pacifiers for a little longer than try to take on an avid thumb sucker. Just my two cents.

  9. I have been babysitting for a family for about 7 years–kids ages 8, 6 and 3. All of them, on their 3rd birthdays, have gone cold turkey. They even throw them in the garbage themselves! I thought that was a brilliant idea. There is so much hype going on surrounding their birthdays, they see it as a big deal to become a big boy/big girl on their birthday. They all marched to the trashcan, threw them away and never looked back! I have to remember this and your tips for staying strong when we are in this phase of life!

  10. Kathy Z

    Wow – these comments make me so glad my little guy never wanted a binky. I read that it reduces the risk of SIDS, so I tried and tried to get him to take it when he was an infant. I don’t think I gave up until about 3 months.
    Now switching him from a bottle to sippy cups… that was a bit of a struggle. 🙂

  11. Alyssa

    I’m surprised your daycare has this kind of rule. I have a 6 month old and asked my daycare about it- they said they have kids in the 3s room still with binkies. Most have lost them by age 4 they said. I guess I have a long time to worry about this. My hope is by 18 months. I didn’t want to use one but my son had a rough start- MAJOR allergies to all kinds of formulas and bad acid reflux- a binky was one of the only things that soothed him.

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