The Sassy Housewife is a weekly advice column from We will cover adventures in parenting, relationships and entertaining.

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Dear Sassy Housewife,

My son is almost 3, and he still needs his pacifier. I've been told by just about everyone that he needs to give it up. I know it's true and I've actually tried once, but he threw an epic tantrum that lasted pretty much all day long so I gave it back. Since then I haven't been looking forward to it. Do you have any advice?


Paci mom


Dear paci mom,

I've heard from parents that breaking the pacifier habit is a tough one. But at least it's better than trying to break a thumb sucker of his or her habit. With a pacifier you can just take it away.

Thankfully, neither of my children were big on the pacifier after the first six or seven months. But I have plenty of friends who have struggled. The best advice I can give you is from them.

First: Bring the pacifier fairy into your house. I've seen several parents do this. They explain to their child that they're old enough to not need a pacifier and that the time has come for the pacifier fairy to come and take the pacifiers to give to other kids who need them. Kind of a gross concept, I know, but some kids have an easier time giving things up if they know it's going to someone in need. The whole thing can be a production or it can be really simple. It's up to you.

The second idea: Cold turkey. If you're the type of parent who isn't into adding yet another make-believe character into your child's life, you might just want to go this route. It's probably going to suck (as you discovered in your first trial run), but after a couple of grumpy days, your child will be over it. Just gather up all the pacifiers around your house (don't miss any!) and either throw them away or put them in a bag and hide it high up in a place your child won't find. And don't give in. You can do it!

It won't be easy, but remember it's necessary. 

After 15 months, toddlers should only have a pacifier during nap time and bed time, according to Dr. Gina DiRenzo-Coffey, a pediatrician with Boys Town Pediatrics. If they’re up walking around with a pacifier, it might discourage them from talking or they’ll learn to put their tongue in the wrong place and have speech problems, she said in a video on their website. She recommended definitely breaking the pacifier habit after age 2 or 3.

Good luck!

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