Ahh the pacifier. For anyone who has been on the floor searching for one the middle of night or has popped one in at a restaurant to immediately calm your crying baby. You know the love-hate relationship that exists with the binky.
The Pacifier is so wonderful in the early months.
It really does calm babies in those first few months. A calmer baby makes us as parents more calm, and therefore a better environment for everyone. It helped Calvin, who was a colicky baby. And it helped Lucy and Paige self-soothe as second and third babies. I could put them both down awake and they went to sleep on their own. But there comes a time when you need to drop them.
There are upsides and downsides with whatever age you decide to drop it.
Our experience has been that the older they got the harder it is. But I have friends who waited to age three or four and it went smoothly. Like anything in parenting, every situation and every child is unique. You have to do what feels right for you.
When we dropped it for Calvin around 9 months, he fussed for about 30 minutes the first night and 10 minutes for the first nap and that was it. Lucy was closer to 11 months and it took at least a couple days for her to get back to normal. But the second time we did it, when Lucy was 26 months, it was much harder. Yes the second time…see Lucy was only 17 months when Paige was born. Even though she had been off the pacifier for almost six months, she decided to pick it up again. I’m not sure if she remembered having it or just needed the extra comfort but we couldn’t let Paige have it and say no to Lucy. So finally when Lucy was 26 months and Paige 11—we decided to drop them, and this time for good.
I dreaded the pacifier-free plunge because our routine was so nice—but we had to do it.
Our bed and nap-time routine had become so calm, seamless. Of course there are always little developmental things that go on and occasionally break the pattern, but overall they were wonderful sleepers. But with Paige was almost a year and we knew we had to put an end to the pacifier—and our calm bedtime routine, at least for a bit.
There are many methods for dropping it. Our decision was to drop it cold turkey. Out of site out of mind.
We made sure all the pacifiers were collected and away. Since Lucy was a little older, we talked to her about giving her pacifiers to her new baby twin cousins. We packaged up the pacifiers and gave them to the babies and talked about how happy she was making them.
That afternoon when it came time for sleep, both Paige and Lucy were of course looking for their pacis. I explained to Lucy that we gave them to the babies. She pleaded to get them back. Lucy didn’t sleep during that first nap-time. She was upset for a while and just ended up reading and fidgeting in her bed the rest of the time. Paige did finally sleep but only after about 45 minutes of fussing. I would go in every 5-10 minutes and just rub her back and talk to her, then leave again. The first nighttime was much of the same. Lucy is in her own bed so I made a few trips back to lay with her, sing, and rub her back. It still took her a while. I considered going and getting the pacis many times but thankfully trudged through. They both finally slept. Lucy took almost an hour and Paige was about 20 minutes. Lucy had a few wake-ups that first night looking for it. And both girls were up around 5am when usually they slept until 6:30-7am. It went like this for a couple days, getting a little better each time. But after a couple days, they completely moved on. Except for the early-wakeups, which painfully continued for about a week and half. But now, two weeks later they are back to waking at their usual time. Lucy hasn’t asked for the pacifier in a week.
It took some extra patience and comforting for a few days but then it was done—I wish we had done it sooner.
Once you do it, you’ll be so grateful. It was trying and I had to remind myself to choose love, especially when they were both up at 5am ready to start the day. But I was mentally prepared – knowing it would be far from calm for a few days. I would say it was much harder with Lucy being two. She was able to ask for it and thinking about it made her upset. Paige it was truly out of site out of mind and took a much shorter time.
Despite the not-so-great experience of getting rid of them, I would absolutely encourage the pacifier again.
They are magical in the early months. A true life saver when it is your second, third or more child. But there does come a time when they become an extra thing that isn’t really needed. At that point, just drop them.
So if you are considering it and it seems like the right time, just do it.
If having it around becomes more of a negative then a positive, just take the plunge. Its worth it. You don’t want something around that is bringing any negative energy or stress. If it is still working for you and your child, keep it up and do it guilt-free. Only you know what is right for you and for your child. Just be prepared for some extra patience and extra love when you do decide to take the plunge. Good luck!