Katie Katie Parsons is the creator of Mumbling Mommy and is a freelance writer, editor and communications specialist. She works from her home office on the east coast of Florida. Most often she writes about life in a combined family of five children and what it's like being a full time work-from-home parent. Feel free to pitch guest post ideas or just drop her a line at katie@mumblingmommy.com.
Leaving a gift for the Paci Fairy

Nearly every parent has at least one child who is a pacifier kid.  Babies are born wanting to suck, it is a natural behavior seen even in photographs in utero.  Sucking is comforting and helps babies settle down and relax.

Therefore, many of us give our babies pacifiers to help soothe them as infants.  Our son Max has taken a paci since he was just a couple weeks old.

A recent visit to the pediatrician brought up the subject of his speech, and how he will likely need speech therapy. We learned that pacifiers could interfere with normal speech development and that pacifiers cause an increase in ear infections (which he is prone to, even had tubes put in his ears in August), especially when used as a toddler.

At over two years of age, my husband and I realized the time to say goodbye to the pacifier was approaching. We marked in on our list of ‘to-do’s’ for early in 2013.

Well…circumstances changed and led us to encourage kicking the pacifier sooner than planned: About two weeks ago, not long after our trip to the pediatrician’s office, my husband and I noticed that Max’s (new) pacifiers had holes in them. He was using them to chew on instead of suck.  Because of the holes, sucking on the pacifier was no longer possible.

We threw those out and bought a couple more packages.  Not more than two days later, we noticed he’d chewed holes in all of them, as well.  The worrywart in me started thinking of how hazardous the pacifiers now were.  If he chewed completely through them, he could choke on pieces of the nipple in the night.  Since getting him to kick his pacifier was already in my mind, I knew it was time to say peace out to the pacis.

The first night sans paci, we laid Max down and he did ask for his ‘nana’ (what he calls his pacifier).  We gave him his blanket and said good night.  He woke up in the middle of the night crying for his paci.  So we surrendered.  The next day, the pacis were hidden and we discussed that we would not cave in, no matter what he did. He made it through his nap just fine, to our sheer amazement, and through the night as well!

We are now nearly celebrating one week paci-free!  He has pretty much stopped asking for them.  It does help that his little sister does not take pacifiers.  We do have a few laying around since she likes to chew on them.  If he comes across one, he hands it to her instead of trying to suck on it.

All in all, I am very pleased with how his transition to living without a pacifier has gone. He has had some mood swings, but we just reassure him and give him his blanket or a hug, or some water.  I was scared of how he (and we!) would cope with the withdrawal.  Saying goodbye to a pacifier is a big change!

If you are looking to wean your child off his pacifier and make the experience as pleasant as possible, here are some tips for a smoother transition:

·         Encourage trading the pacifier for a comforting toy or blanket

·         Read a story or watch a DVD about giving up the pacifier.

·         Discuss with your child the ideas that he is a big kid now, and that big kids do not use pacifiers.

·         Collect the pacifiers and leave them for the binky fairy that shares pacifiers with smaller children who need them.

·         Reward your child for each day that goes by that he does not use his pacifier

Remember to praise your child for giving up the pacifier.  He may ask for it during times of stress. Use these moments as a time to cuddle and talk with him about the missing pacifier.

I do believe we are in the clear with saying goodbye to the pacifier. I am so proud of Max!   This is one more milestone to write down in his baby book.

Bye Bye Paci!

Enjoying our new paci-free zone

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Category: Babies

Tags: ear infections