I have a love/hate relationship with pacifiers. I love that they helped my twins learn to sleep through the night. I love that I can pull one out whenever someone needs to be soothed or if I just need a break. In my book, the benefits of pacifiers certainly outweigh the negatives, but I have the fear that I’m going to be sending a first grader to school with a paci in her mouth. My twins are only 22 months old so I have a long way to go until they are entering school but this is still my fear. It also acts as my motivation to get rid of the pacifier sooner rather than later.
The girls only sleep with a pacifier or use it during special circumstances (a long car ride or a meltdown in public). It has become their routine to look for their pacifier immediately after entering their cribs. Olivia has even started referring to her paci by name.
I’ve done a little research on strategies for taking away the pacifier and here’s what I’ve come up with:
- Go Cold Turkey – Decide on a day to take away the pacifier for good and don’t go back. You have to be strong and not give in when the child melts down.
- Cut Pacifier – The theory behind this technique is that you cut away the bottom of the pacifier preventing suction. The child (in theory) becomes unhappy with the pacifier and eventually no longer wants it. I was a little scared to try this technique for fear that they would bite off a big piece of plastic.
- Paci Fairy – Discuss with your child that they are a big girl/boy and no longer need a pacifier. Make giving up the pacifier a big event that the child feels proud of. A special paci fairy might come and take it or even tie it to the end of a balloon and say goodbye. I think that this strategy would work better with older children.
This past weekend I finally decided to bite the bullet and take away the beloved paci. I wasn’t intending on taking it away yet but it fell behind Olivia’s crib and I was done hunting for pacifiers at all hours of the day, and especially the night. I knew that I wanted to wean them off by the age of two and this was as good of a time as any.
The first night went better than expected. Juliette went right to sleep as if nothing had changed (seriously, I don’t know how I would have survived twins if she wasn’t such an easy baby.) Olivia cried for 75 minutes. We went in periodically to reassure her but I think it just made her more upset. She cried 3 or 4 more times throughout the night for 10 minutes at a time. I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t easy. It’s extremely painful to listen to your baby cry, especially when you know exactly how to soothe her.
Each night has gotten easier. We’re currently on day 6 and she went to sleep tonight without much fuss. She’ll still ask about her paci and we’ll tell her it went bye bye. I know there will be times ahead when I want to reach for the pacifier but hopefully I will stay strong.
What have your experiences been with pacifiers? Do you have any tips for weaning from a pacifier or are you still too fearful to take them away like I was?