If your child is upset, for instance, it’s better to encourage talking, and if he’s hungry or thirsty, then a cup of milk or a snack would certainly be a better idea! The main trouble with soothers is that it stifles your child’s ability to express himself. This, in turn, leads to you being less tuned in to his emotions, which makes him less inclined to try. It’s a self perpetuating cycle!
The easiest, and least painful way to get your child to give up the soother is to gradually wean him off it. Try to make sure that for at least most of the day, you are doing activities that are more fun, and easier, without his soother. If he still wants it at night, then allow him access to it.
Eventually, your child will come to see the soother as something that is for bed only, and even that will no longer be a driving force of habit, but rather a comfort item.
Make sure that you make the other adults in your life aware of your plan to wean your child off the soother, so they don’t undo your hard work.