How the Fridababy Pacifier Weaning System Seriously Saved My Life

Ditching your little one's pacifier just got a whole lot easier.

April 21, 2022

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Photo by: PhotoAlto/Michele Constantini

PhotoAlto/Michele Constantini

For the first two years of his life, my son was the leader of a toddler pacifier gang. So strong was his devotion to that maddening square inch of blue MAM plastic, that nearly every photo of those years portrays him slurping away happily like Maggie Simpson. He dragged his faithful pacifier everywhere — and so, too, did his little friends. They would stare up at us, unblinking, silent save for the sound of suction. My son didn’t need to speak, eat, drink, or do anything else when he had his paci. Together, they were content.

I get it — it’s comforting. We all begin life in a primal fashion, whether nursing or sipping on baby bottles, and I can’t say that I’m less addicted to my boba than my son was to his paci. But his paci habit was starting to drive me up the wall. He craved his little plastic buddy at all times — the very instant he finished eating or drinking, it had to go back in his mouth. If a brief 20 minutes passed without him using it, you’d see a lightbulb suddenly go off as he’d demand. Often, that happened just when I had forgotten it, inspiring a major meltdown in a very public spot like a grocery store or a restaurant.

I fretted too about the variety of dental alignment issues extended pacifier use could cause. According to dentists, using a paci for too long can lead to overbite, open bite, buck teeth, changes to the roof of the mouth, or even speech issues or skin problems.

Worse yet, no other pacifier besides MAM would do, so if we lost one while traveling, we had to hunt stores for that specific one. My husband and I were sick of scrubbing these little plastic nuisances, clipping them to his shirts, and sweeping his crib for them at 4 a.m., after he decided to eschew the clips.

Dentists may recommend weaning your kiddo off pacifiers by 12 months, but like many parents, I’d procrastinated because I dreaded the sleepless week of tears associated with going cold turkey. During that first sleepless night of cold turkey, I started doing what every parent does: desperately Googling solutions at 3 a.m. That’s how I found the Fridababy Paci Weaning System, created by the Swedish creators of the famous NoseFrida Snot Sucker. The weaning system is most compatible with certain NUK, MAM, Chicco, EvenFlo and Phillips pacifiers, but worth a try by everyone, in my (desperate parent) opinion.

With the power of hindsight, it’s hard for me to now believe that I once quibbled over spending $20 on this weaning system, since it basically saved my life. If that sounds dramatic to you, imagine waking up seven times a night to your toddler crying for his binky, barely getting three hours of sleep while your husband snores away, and then facing an 8:15 a.m. Zoom call. Yup, I’m sticking by my statement: the Frida Paci Weaning System saved my life.

Frida’s system is five steps, starting with a normal pacifier and getting shorter and shorter until the last paci is basically a nub that your child can’t even get any suction from. Though some parents proclaim online that you can cut the pacifiers to these lengths yourself, I wouldn’t recommend that because you’re not going to perfectly shape them to fit your kiddo’s mouth. Plus, if you cut them yourself, the end will be open, instead of closed like these weaning pacis.

Designed by a pediatric dentist to be orthodontically-shaped, the Frida pacis are latex and BPA-free, with silicone nipples. My son was entertained and amused by them as a novelty at first, and since the first few offered good suction, he was happy to take them to bed with him.

Since the progression is so gradual, with one to two days for each pacifier except the last, he didn’t notice how much shorter the nipples were getting until the last two. The steps are: one, paci crazy; two, paci needy; three, paci neutral; four, paci meh; five, paci see ya.

He did get upset with the last two pacis, especially the last one, which he proclaimed repeatedly did not work. He was right — it was so short he couldn’t even properly keep it in his mouth. And that was part of the point, since after numerous tries, he eventually gave up.

After about a week, we were pacifier-free. We made sure beforehand to discover and toss out every single pacifier in our house, the grandparents’ houses and the cars — and we’ve never looked back. I’m so grateful I never have to pack another pacifier, I toasted myself that evening with a glass of wine. There was something celebratory about that moment, that felt like we were transitioning to official older toddlerdom. I’m proud of us for sticking with the weaning system, even when it seemed hard, and I’m grateful to the pediatric dentist who designed it and to Frida for another marvel that makes bringing up babies easier.

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