It’s done. Yeah! No more Binky, So-So, Pa-pa-boo (my older girl named it that when she was 1.5… when her baby sister was born and we came home from the hospital). Whatever you call it, my pacifier weaning is happily over. My older child never really used one (she ditched hers at 3 months – I kid you not – and found her tiny thumb to be much better)… so pacifier weaning was new to me. Here’s how I did it (thanks to the direction of my pediatrician). Each step, in chronological order:
1) LIMIT USAGE. After my little one turned 2, I started talking about how the Pa-pa-boo was for babies… and that she was a big girl now. She walks, she runs, she says sometimes-unintelligible things… a total big girl. Pa-pa-boos are only for sleep-time I’d say…. Big girls only use them for sleep time. Sure, she’d complain during the day (wanting to walk around with it in her mouth), but I stayed firm. Only for sleep time while I’d distract her to pay attention to something else. Eventually, she got it.
2) LIMIT HOW MANY YOU’VE GOT. I kept ONE in the bedroom (for nap and bedtime only) and ONE in the car (for “emergenices” only). All others… tossed out with the trash (I didn’t show her that part). A bold move, I know. Just be sure to keep track of that ONE you’ve got. As soon as I’d get her out of the crib, I’d put it on the top of the shelf in her bedroom, so I’d remember where it was and also to keep it out of her reach during the day.
3) SNIP THE TIP… PROGRESSIVELY. I started conservative, only starting with the very tiptop first. I let a few days go by (ok, maybe a week), and then I snipped a bit more. Several more days passed. I snipped more. Soon, it was down to a short stump. (And the little stinker STILL found a way to keep it in her mouth! A part of me was amazed.) But it didn’t “work” like it used to. When she’d look at me and indicated why it wasn’t “working,” I told her it was because she’s now 2.
4) JUST TAKE IT AWAY. That sounds so mean in writing, but that’s what we did (per our pediatrician). She was ready. We were ready. Go-time. Our doctor suggested doing this part over a very busy weekend (parties, family/friend gatherings, jam-packed activities) so that she’d be “too tired to fight hard for it” when it was time to go to sleep (that’s a quote from our ped). Smart. But because I’m a big softie I DID gently tell her (over and over, so that she got it) that: Pa-pa-boos are for babies… We don’t need it anymore… You’re my Big Girl 2 Year Old! She’d look at me and screeeeeeaaaaaaaammmm. Like an animal ready to tear me apart. I stayed firm. I know… I know… It’s hard… but you’re 2 and I KNOW you can do it. I told her that if she slept without her pacifier, she’d get a prize… and she also had her blanket (her ‘gabee’… don’t ask) to cuddle with for added familiar comfort.
5) REMEMBER THE GOAL. When your child screams and screams because they don’t want to go to bed without their pacifier, you must remember the end goal. If you cave in, you’ll just have to start all over. Obviously, make sure your kid is safe and all, but for the most part, I pretty much ignored the screaming (kinda like that sleep training thing). The first night she cried for about an hour and then fell asleep (probably from exhaustion or a sore throat). The second night was about the same. By the third night… she only cried for about 30 minutes. The fourth night was even better. By the fifth night, she’d gotten it. She’d really gotten it!
6) PRAISE PRAISE PRAISE. Every time she’d wake up without her pacifier (nap or overnight, during the weaning process) I’d praise and praise and praise her. Good job! You did it! My big girl! I’m so proud of you! And I was. I was so proud, I even cried. I’m still proud of her… the wild little happy girl.
Now if this same thing could only work for my 3.5 year old thumb-sucker…
Anyone got tips for that?
Be sure to consult your pediatrician for when your child is ready to wean, and how they suggest to do it best according to your child.
How did you wean your child off of his or her pacifier?