how to get your toddler to give up the pacifier

I don't think that parents ever intend for their child to still take a pacifier after they are 2-years-old. It just happens. We always said that when Addie turned 1 that would be it...we would throw the pacifiers out.

That never happened.

We did however limit pacifiers to only nap time and bedtime shortly after her first birthday. It was hard for her at first but eventually that became the norm. We would occasionally fold when we traveled in the car for an extended period of time.

As her second birthday approached we knew that we really needed to nix the pacis all together.

I knew that most of this would be on me since I stay home with her.

I passively tried to "help" her quit on a few occasions. But my heart wasn't in it and I began to realize something.

It was me. ME! I was the one who didn't want to see that pacifier go. With that pacifier went my baby. I would no longer have the ability to bring her instant comfort. There would be no more cute cuddly "binkie and blankie" time.

A few months passed her 2nd birthday my husband started questioning how it was going.
It was time.

But how do I do it?

I asked a lot of mothers and grandmothers what they did. One person suggested cutting the tips of the pacifiers and praised how well it had worked for others that she knew. The idea behind cutting them is that Mommy and Daddy aren't saying "No, you can't have it anymore." To the child it is just as if they broke. I told my husband about this method and he said, "Let's do it."

Several days passed and I still hadn't cut them. Again, I was putting it off.

Then one night when we were both tucking her in she asked for her "binkie". As I went to get it he said, "Cut it first."

My heart sank. What? Now? This sudden?

I submitted.

As I cut into that soft silicone something in me felt deeply saddened and heart broken. As I handed it over to her and watched her put it in her mouth and then pull it out to look at it I fought back the tears. In one second I was sad and in the other I was thinking to myself, "This is ridiculous, why are you getting emotional about a pacifier?"

Then I remembered that we had another somewhere else and for that moment my heart ache was gone.

A few nights later she wasn't feeling well and I was up and down all night with her. I got to the point that I was beyond exhausted so I retreated to find that other pacifier. You have no idea how much I cherished that last cuddly "binkie and blankie" time with her in the the wee hours of that morning.


Kate said...

Oh Anna, what a beautifully honest post. I had never thought about how it might make a parent feel like they're losing their baby. My parents got lucky. My dachshund got ahold of them before I was 1 and chewed a couple up. My parents told me that she had chewed them all up (the ones that had been safe were hidden away). It's a famous story in my house since I apparently went up to the dog and said "Bad dog, bad dog." :) I hope it gets easier as you become excited for the little girl she's turning into! Imagine the tea parties and teaching her so many things!

Lois said...

she is so sweet! Anna Marie there is one thing that you and your hubby need to remember. It's only a soother! In the scheme of things it really doesn't matter. In 2, 5 or 10 years will it really make a difference whether Addie gave it up when she was two or three? If it makes Addie feel better to use it at night time then let her. Children grow up so fast and it is such a scarey world. If sucking a soother helps her through the night that's ok.
My baby boy just turned 35 today and I remember him as a baby like it was just yesterday. Trust me when I say, that in years to come, Addie hanging onto her suckie will not be the thing you remember and neither will she.
I do wish all three of you good luck in this endeavor.
Have a very Merry Christmas and a Safe and Happy New Year in 2010.

MP said...

She is so cute!! so sweet! :)

AshleyAnn said...

Totally understand. Completely. I'm grateful they grow up, but is sure is good when they are little.