Moms Talk: How Old is Too Old For a Pacifier?

There's a binky tree in downtown Northville that has become the resting place of pacifiers from throughout the area. When do you think kids should be ready to give it up?

Moms Talk is a new feature on Northville Patch that is part of a new initiative to reach out to moms and families.

Northville Patch invites you and your circle of friends to help build a community of support for mothers and their families right here in Northville, city and township.

Each week in Moms Talk, our four-person Moms Council – Cheri Stancer, Tamara Carlone, Tanya Lundberg and Lisa Barry – offers questions for discussion, gives advice and shares solutions.

Moms, dads, grandparents and the diverse families who make up our community will have a new resource for questions about local neighborhood schools, the best pediatricians, 24-hour pharmacies and the thousands of other issues that arise while raising children.

So grab a cup of coffee and settle in as we start the conversation today with a new question:

There's a Binky Tree in downtown Northville where pacifiers get retired by children who have out-grown them. According to our moms council member Lisa Barry, the binky tree was the idea of a Northville dentist "who saw one in Europe and thought it would be a good idea to have one here."

It was launched with a big ceremony in front of the playscape at , she said. There are usually about 100 binkies hanging from the tree at a time.


So we ask the question: How old is too old for a pacifier? At what age should kids give up their binkies?

Tanya March 16, 2011 at 08:55 PM
We chose not to give a pacifier to our son, and he never seemed to "need" it, so I don't feel like I can comment on how old is too old. If we had given him a pacifier, we would have taken into consideration dental issues and social context when deciding when to take it away, if he didn't voluntarily give it up. I know of friends who successfully bribed kids to give up the pacifier (if you give up your binky, I'll buy you a spiderman toy), had their kids give their pacifiers to the "pacifier tree" in downtown Northville at Ford Field, and who convinced their kids to give their pacifiers to younger babies who needed them more (although those babies did not use them, it helped the child to think they were helping a younger baby).
Tamara March 18, 2011 at 08:01 AM
Personally, I think if a child needs to suck a binky, or their fingers, for comfort, go ahead and let them. It must help them mentally or emotionally in some way. I feel that about 100% of kids will choose to quit by the time things would get weird, and I think that time is when Kindergarten starts!
Lisa Barry March 19, 2011 at 03:23 PM
I had one thumb sucker and one pacifier user. Eventually you want them to stop either behavior for the sake of their teeth! But also because of peer pressure, or embarrassing themselves in public because I believe society frowns on binky use, especially over the age of 2 or 3. It's our job as parents to help our kids to learn to soothe themselves in a healthy way. We want them to learn to think for themselves and make good choices. Easy for me to say, as I tend to soothe myself with cookies! Good Luck!!
renee mills July 14, 2011 at 10:06 PM
I agree with both comments. My grandson just turned 4 a few days ago. The agreement he had with his parents was to give up the Nuk on his 4th birthday. It certainly stimulated him during all times including but not limited to playing, eating, and sleeping. Although in the beginning for his parents the Nuk was intended to be used for short term comfort when all else failed, my grandsons dependency on it grew more and more each day for 4 years. So much to the point the more nuks he had on his person at all times the happier and more content he was., with one in his mouth, holding one in each hand and even one in his pocket. My concern now is that he will experience some sort of withdrawal and severe anxiety from having gone cold turkey. I am hoping his appetite picks up and he will be willing to try a larger variety of different foods. I'm sure the nuk contributed to his finicky eating habits. and not the greatest of appetites.Myself and his parents have tried endlessly to get him to try different foods, many of which most children his age enjoy. Hopefully now that he is no longer on the nuk he will except and enjoy a larger variety of healthy and nutritional foods. I welcome any advice or shared experiences.


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