Ah, the dreaded pacifier. The nook. The binky. Or, if you’re at our house, just plain ‘ol bink. For some kids, it’s their lifeline. They can’t leave home without it. They can’t sleep without it. They can’t “be” without this thing plugged into their mouths at all times. It’s great at first. We as parents use the pacifier as something to help soothe babies in between feedings and when they wake up crying at all hours of the night. It’s cute and it works.
Then all of a sudden your kid can walk and use words and you realize you can understand what they’re saying while they keep sucking away on that pacifier. And then you take them to their first dental appointment and the dentist – in the nicest way possible – tells you that the pacifier we’ve used religiously for the last two years has caused an “open bite” which is technically considered a deformity. (Yeah. He said my child was deformed.) Dr. Dentist continues to repeatedly point out her “open bite” and assures me that as a smart and loving mother, I wouldn’t knowingly want to deform my child, right? Right.
It was time to give up the pacifier.
My husband and I knew this day would come. We’d been putting it off because we’d finally hit a good stride in the sleep department with our 2 year old – she was in her “big girl bed” and finally sleeping soundly through the night. We did NOT want to mess up a good thing but we knew we needed to move on this sooner rather than later. Aaaaaand, I just so happened to have this little blog post scheduled. I can’t very well write about giving up the pacifier if we haven’t actually given up the pacifier. I must work well under pressure or something…
We went back and forth on how to approach taking the pacifier away from Gracyn. She used her bink mostly at nap and night time but she’d also run to get it if she got hurt or was upset. It would immediately help her calm down. Without it, she’d have to learn a new way to soothe herself and I was nervous (terrified?) that we’d have some behavior regressions so we started out slow.
We stopped bringing it in the car while we ran errands, and we started having her keep the pacifiers up in her room – if it wasn’t nap time or bed time, we didn’t have the bink out. She outsmarted us on multiple occasions and would sneak up to her room to play. When we went to find her, she had popped her bink in her mouth. We made her hand it over before heading back downstairs, explaining that we’d only be using it for nap and bed going forward.
We thought about having Gracyn gather up her collection to give to the “binky fairy” so the pacifiers could go to the babies that needed them. Like anything to do with parenting, there are books about this very subject and I was tempted to purchase a few to read at bedtime to help ease the transition. We also thought about letting nature take its course – eventually she’d give it up voluntarily, right? The dentist’s words (Deformed. Orthodontia. Deformed again…) kept
haunting bothering me. In the end, we decided to go cold turkey.
And it worked.
I was shocked but really, I should have given my daughter a little more credit. So far in her short little life, she’s handled every transition with very little resistance. I should have known ditching the bink would have been taken in stride. Her nap the day after the dentist appointment was the last time she had her beloved bink by her side. We mentally prepared for a meltdown during our bedtime routine, but Gracyn simply handed her pacifier over and agreed that “big girls” didn’t need a bink. The next morning, she was so PROUD that she slept all night without it. She hasn’t asked for the bink since then.
I will say that we’ve noticed a few minor changes in her behavior this last week or two as she learns to cope without the long lost bink. She’s a little whinier than usual during the day and she’s back to protesting bedtime with cries and screams at her bedroom door if we try to leave the room. Through all of this, though, she still hasn’t asked for her pacifier like she used to, so I consider the cold turkey method a success. I’m confident that she’ll be back to her old self in no time sans pacifier.
Now, can anyone help get my 3-month old to TAKE a pacifier? I know, I know. I shouldn’t be forcing it. Deformity, remember? But it’d really help me out during the nighttime hours when she thinks she needs to eat. Again.
Parenting. Isn’t it ironic?