Figuring out how to get rid of the pacifier is no easy feat…or so I thought. But today, we’re going to talk about how to break the pacifier habit and never look back.
Let’s take a moment to review my pacifier experience, shall we?? Before we had kids, I was one of THOSE moms. You know…”I will never let my kids use a paci. I didn’t use it, why do my kids need to?” Oh, pre-child Meg. You were precious.
Then we had our first. She headed to the NICU at about a day and a half old, where they gave her a pacifier, because all NICU babies are going through enough as it is…they need those things. Fast forward 3 years. She still had the stupid thing (thankfully, only at nap/night time by that point). We were so terrified to take it away from her, but eventually, at age 3, we kicked the habit.
Then came #2. In all honesty, I think he had his pacifier too long too, although we did a much better job this time. We said he’d give it up at age 2, decided that the day after his birthday, we’d be done. And now, we’ve had a pacifier-free home for two weeks.
How’d we do it? Glad you asked.
For Harlyn, by the time she was giving it up, I was pregnant with Maverick. So, once we made the decision to be done, we started talking to her about it. We told her we’d be giving up the “sassy” (as we call it in this house) soon. And we told her she could save them for the new baby if she wanted to. So on the Big Day, we had her put all her sassies in a Ziploc, write a “note” to her new baby, and we put them in the nursery closet.
As you might imagine, a three year old has some things to say about giving up a pacifier. By the time she was giving them up, it was more about holding them in her hands as a comfort item than it was her actually using them. She would rub them between her fingers (both hands) as she fell asleep. So a few nights into her new paci-free life, she started sobbing–”Mommy…I miss my sassies. They were a part of meeeeeee.” Yes-all on her own, at 3, she came up with that line. I will never, ever forget it. But even when she’d cried, guilted, and begged for them, we held strong. And after a few days, we rarely talked about them. Even on the night she had the meltdown, she went to bed fine. We had built up this huge thing in our minds…and it turned out it was barely something to write home about.
And then two weeks ago, Mav turned 2 and I was like…whyyyy?? Why did I make this big bold declaration that it ends at 2?? We have life changes coming up, he’s still little, he loves them, and he uses them more like stuffed animals than pacifiers anyway (he only ever loved the WubbaNub ones that are attached to animals). And I scheduled his two year old shots on DAY ONE.
Turns out, kids are far more resilient than we give them credit for. We gave him a little warning, like, “Soon you’ll be two and you won’t need your sassies anymore!” But other than that, no big ceremony, no stuffing of sassies into Build-a-bears…nothing. We took them from him the morning he was 2 years and 1 day. On the way back from the doctor’s office, he was crying and asked for it…and we just told him he was a big boy and we don’t have them anymore. Same as his sister, he asked about them for a few days, and that was pretty much the end of the story. We’d just gently and cheerfully remind him we don’t use them anymore, and that was that.
1.Pick a day and stick to it. There will never be a perfect time.
2. If you have a new baby on the way, see if big brother or sister wants to hand the pacis down. In the meantime before baby actually arrives, out of sight/out of mind.
3. Do NOT give in. Once you’ve taken it, you can’t give it back for sickness, shots, a rough night, anything.
4. Gently and cheerfully remind them when they ask for it: “We don’t use those anymore!”
5.Find something to replace the paci and comfort them. Both our kids already had other things in bed with them by the time we took the pacis, and it made it so much easier. Maverick has an armful of small stuffies he likes in his crib, and Harlyn has always slept with 4,000 babies in her bed since the day she went to her big girl bed.
6.Remember that it probably will not be nearly as bad as you anticipate. Even if it is, this too shall pass.
And there you have it! My best advice is to take the paci away when you want to, and never look back.
If your kids used pacifiers, how did you finally kick the binky habit???