Tuesday, March 04, 2014

How We Quit the Pacifier - Cold Turkey

When it comes to our children, there are things that we as parents all dread. For us, the worst of these things was taking away Henry's pacifier, or paci, as we called it. He was over-the-moon, completely attached, absolutely obsessed with his pacifier and we both agreed that he kept it a little longer than what we had both intended and liked. 

Before this final, successful time, we tried a couple of various other times to take it away and it was straight-up painful. The first time we tried the 'only at bedtime' approach and it worked for about a week. But before we knew it he was hiding them in various places around the house and every time we turned around he managed to have one stuck in his mouth again. Taking it away during the day ended in a meltdown and before we knew he, he had the thing almost all the time again.

The second time was right before Christmas and we tried to explain to him that Santa would only  leave gifts if he left his pacifiers with the cookies for trade. Big no-no. First of all, he could care less about whether or not Santa was going to leave him gifts, and second of all, he received THREE NEW PACKAGES of pacifiers as gifts from family the next day. BIG failure on our parts.

This last time was by far the most successful and easy thing that we had done and it worked like magic. Let me start by saying that although I feel as if the pacifier stuck around a little too long around our house, I'm going to attribute the fact that it was so easy to the fact that he was older (2 1/2) so it may not work the same for you and your child. Are you ready to know how we quit the pacifier cold turkey - for good?

Here's a few easy steps on how to do it:

1) Find a movie/book/song/episode about giving up the pacifier.

We watched the episode of Sesame Street that this song came from and then sang the song numerous time through-out the day. I think this helped prepare Henry for the idea that a pacifier is not something permanent that 'big kids' have and that others have had to experience giving it up too. 

2) Pick a time of day that will be easiest for them.

I wouldn't recommend taking away a pacifier right before nap time or bedtime, especially if your child is dependent on it to sleep. For us, we found that taking it away early morning was the easiest. It gave Henry time to eat, play, and be distracted all day without thinking about it, especially now that he skips naps most days.

3) Talk to them about it.

Henry and I had numerous conversations that day about why it was okay to be a little sad or to miss his pacifier. We also discussed how not having a pacifier meant that he could talk more and be a 'big kid' instead of a baby. We reiterated several times that day what big kids could do that babies could not and even did a few new activities like building a fort and playing with a new toy that were meant specifically for 'big kids'.

4) Make it known that this is it, no more pacifiers.

I had Henry help me gather all of his pacifiers and together we threw them away. This action made it known (to both of us) that the pacifiers were gone for good.

5) Make them comfortable that night.

If your child is used to a certain routine for bedtime, make sure your able to practice it the night that the pacifier goes away. This was the hardest part for us because Henry always had his pacifier to sleep. But, after a hot bath, a couple extra stories, and some bedtime snuggles with his blanket and mommy, he fell right asleep with no problem. We were amazed! Don't take your child out of their comfort zone when they're already trying to cope with the loss of something they once relied on - it will only upset them more.

6) Answer honestly.

Henry asked me several times where his pacifier was or if he could have it. I answered him honestly every time - the pacifiers were gone because we threw them away, there were no more nor would there be anymore, it was okay to miss it, and he was such a big boy now that he didn't need it. When he laid down that night he sort of sniffled a few times for it but I cuddled him closer and told him that it was okay and that he didn't need it anymore. I think kids can often sense when we're lying to them and if we're honest, it will make them even more confident in themselves and in our ability to tell them that this time of their lives has passed and it's on to something else exciting and new.

Henry has been without his pacifier for over a week now and honest-to-God it has been the easiest 'big' thing we have done in awhile. He asked for it twice the day we took it away and twice since and every time we explained honestly where they went and why and he just lets it go. He has been such a big boy about it and we are so very impressed!

How did you take the pacifier away from your child? Was it easy for you or more difficult? Do you think this process would work for most children or do you think we just lucked out?

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  1. Wow, I'm so glad that the transition went so smoothly for you all! Both of my boys weaned themselves off the paci when they were still quite young and honestly I have NO idea how that happened! It was one of those miracles that I thought only happened in books...

    1. I thought for sure that this final time for Henry was going to involve sleepless nights and a lot of tears on both of our parts. I was pleasantly surprised! Henry weaned himself off of the bottle the same way as your boys - it just happened and it was no problem at all and one day I just looked back and thought, wait? when did that happen and HOW? Haha!

  2. You are such a great mommy. By putting so much effort into this situation, it turned out awesome and he did so well with it! H is one lucky little guy!!

  3. What a great post and what a great mommy you are!! Great job getting rid of the paci! Is it bad that I watched the video? Cause I did and I thought it was super cute. :)

    1. I do no want to admit the amount of time I have found myself lost in a kid's tv show, look up, and see that Henry is no where to be found! Haha!

  4. That's awesome!!! :) Yay Henry!

  5. THANK YOU for posting this!!!! We are on the verge of quitting the paci soon, and this was so helpful and encouraging to read. I seriously can't say thank you enough. I really really hope our transition goes as smoothly as yours. I'm sort of scared out of my mind about it!!

    1. We were SO not looking forward to it - but we knew it had to be done. I hope it goes smoothly as well, and I really hope these things help!!

  6. Great work! When we weaned my little sister off of pacifiers, she went into "stealth mode" and hid them all around the house. It was actually impressive - just when we thought we got them all, she'd pull out a new one. We found them in hiding places 10 years later when we sold the house, ha ha.

    1. Henry did that too and we got so frustrated because we would think we were doing good and then BAM! we'd turn around and he'd have one in his mouth and we had NO idea where he got it from! Kids are sneaky!


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