Friday, January 25, 2013

Hey Smart Friends, Need a Little More Help Over Here

Friends. Smart, smart friends. I'm bugging you again because I need help. Clearly I can't to this parenting thing without a ton of backup. So can we talk about pacifiers?

T wasn't a pacifier guy. From day one he showed little interest. When C was an infant he didn't use them either. Then one day last spring he was fussy while our lovely babysitter was over. She found a pacifier somewhere in the living room-it came home from the hospital with us when T was born. I know, gross. I should have thrown it out, you know, several years ago. But the damn thing shut C up.

I know people have strong feelings about the use of pacifiers. I am not one of those people. T didn't like them, so I didn't spend a lot of time thinking about them. C was very late to using them, they provided a lot of comfort for him so I really didn't give a shit. An added bonus was when he went through that stick-every-fucking-thing-you-touch-in-your-mouth phase the pacifier blocked him. It was hilarious to watch and he didn't get dirt and grass and stuff he could choke on in his mouth.

A while ago our pediatrician told us she was totally cool with pacifiers, but she warned us that kids start to really get addicted to them at 18 months and the habit becomes difficult to break. He is 18 months at the end of February. We decided we'd "wean" him from the pacifier when we got back from our trip down south. But when we got home he was still a sick little boy. Also, you know, breaking him of the habit is really hard. I think the addiction boat sailed a little early with our guy.

He has the pacifier in and out of his mouth all day. But at night he needs it to sleep. And when it falls out he freaks and cries. And he really won't go back to sleep unless I nurse him. There have been nights where I've nursed him 5 times, although the average is 2. He is going on 17 months old. It's fucking ridiculous. And not to be completely selfish, ok who am I kidding, I'm always completely selfish. So yes, to be completely selfish, I fucking want to sleep through the night. I'm tired. C's tired. Z's tired. T is fine, totally well rested. Z and I resent the shit out of him.

So what do I do? How to we get him off the pacifier? Do we just pull the bandaid off? Do we take it away during the day and let him have it at night for a while? Do we put him down without it and give it to him when he wakes? Should we just give him to gypsies? What did you do with your pacifier addicted child? Did you send him/her to rehab? Was it expensive? Did the quite in your house while s/he was gone heal you and make you into a functioning human again? Can we send both of them to rehab? Please? HELP ME!

Yes, he also climbs inside the cabinets. I think that is a separate post.

Daddy and C doing a little early morning facebooking. Oh, guess what? He's walking almost all of the time now. Guess I just should have written about it months ago....

And and old one of this guy. He is going to be serious trouble when he gets older. I just hope he doesn't figure out how damn good looking he is. 


  1. Ahhhh...the binky. We had a whole THING about it at six months, because we knew we had a decision to make: take it away then, or accept that Jonah may hang on for up to three years.

    What we decided (and what our doctor and another nurse agreed with) is to let him have it, but try to limit it to fussy and sleepy times. As our doc said: "If you have something that allows him to calm himself down, why WOULDN'T you give it to him?" Fair point.

    They also said not to worry too much about "addiction," particularly if he's not encouraged to walk around with a pacifier all day. Somewhere between 2-3 years, you can let him decide to give it up. Make him part of the decision. Our nurse friend and her daughter went around the house, gathered up all the binkies, then put them in a fancy bag and gave them to a new baby down the street (with an aside to the mom to do with them as she wished, even if that meant trash). Our doctor took her son to Target and said: "Buddy, look at that cool Tonka Truck. It's pretty neat, but only for big boys. And you knoooow, big boys don't use binkies." So he chose to exchange his binky for a truck. One rough night later, he was done forever.

    I love the idea of letting the kids be part of the letting go. Maybe C's not ready. Maybe he won't be for a year or so. Personally, I don't think that's a big deal. And let's be honest -- from a dental point of view? All of these kids are getting braces anyway.

    Hope that helps! From the ever-optimistic desk of the under-1 mom.

  2. PS -- I have no advice on the night nursing situation as Jonah hasn't night nursed since four months. I know, I know. We hit the jackpot. But I am RIGHT THERE WITH YOU IN SOLIDARITY, SISTER on the need to be selfish about your sleep. Do what you need to do. Health and nutrition-wise, he doesn't need to night nurse. Extra binkies in the crib, maybe? Or have Z give him an (increasingly less volume/switch to water) bottle?

    1. Stacey, thank you. Super good thoughts, especially about the kid being part of the decision. I guess I don't mind the pacifier as much during the day, it is the night that is the problem.

      And I super duper hate to tell you this, but C slept through the night from about 6 weeks until he was around 6 months. And then he just stopped. I hope that doesn't happen with you guys.

      Neither of my guys took bottles. When it was time to introduce cows milk we used sippy cups and because I was home with them we weren't consistant with bottles so they just ended up rejecting them. We've tried Z giving him a sippy cup of water, but he just pushes it away. We've tried Z going in and giving him another pacifier, but he wants to nurse as well after he's awake. It just really blows. But doing something about it blows, too. Why does parenting have to be so damn hard? xo

  3. We started using it less and less around 18 months-2 years. When she started preschool at about 2, she stopped cold turkey because the school said, "We don't use those."

    But, at home, I had a "game". Does mommy use a pacifier? Does daddy use a paciefier? (And on and on through grandma, neighbor, other big kids they know and end with "does Sammie need a pacifier?" And she'd always say NO! Kind of a rite of passage, and funny to think of grandparents with a pacifier in their mouths.

  4. Also, Sammie is and always has been very oral. She to this day plays with her bottom lip when she's tired and I'll catch her putting pencils and necklaces in her mouth. It just calms her.

    Also, Max, who never used a paci, will suck on a finger or thumb occasionally (nearly 4).

  5. Our first three kids all took pacifiers. With the oldest, we let her keep it until after the second was born and she had a few months to adjust to it. That meant that a few months after she turned 2 we decided to take them away. A week ahead of time we showed her a picture of her new baby cousin and talked about how babies need pacifiers but she didn't so we were going to send all of her pacifiers to the baby. Then she decorated a box and we talked about it every day for a week. Then she helped gather up all the pacifiers, but them in the box and I mailed them to my sister (who threw them away for us). She had a couple of rough nights with decreasing intensity. And if she got hurt she would ask for it. The key is not to have them at all if you are serious about giving them up.

    The boys were a lot easier. I took them all away after talking about it for a while and there was literally no whining or anything. I guess I could have done it sooner.

    Other suggestions are to have a rule that the pacifiers stay in the crib. Used for naps and bedtime only. That way you are moving in the direction of getting rid of them, but not going cold turkey. Other friends I know cut the tips off of the pacifiers so it didn't give the same sucking action and then their kid didn't want it anymore. I don't think that would work my kids, but who knows.

    And the nursing through the night thing...I have been trying to work on that with our baby, she is pretty stubborn. She doesn't need it, but sometimes I give in because it is easier. Which, of course, makes her want it more... Consistency is so important, but I have a hard time thinking of that at 3/4 AM!

    1. This waiting to do it until he is old enough to really talk to sounds like a good plan.

      And yup. I also have trouble with the clear thinking in the middle of the night. The situation is just completely out of control.

  6. I am at the other end of the spectrum. Charlie is almost 4. Only uses if for bed. He says it keeps the nightmares away. His teeth are fine as verified by his dentist. They want him to give it up around 4 so we have been bribing. So every day for the first week he got a small toy if he went the whole night without it. Then he started collecting stickers on the reward chart and at the end of the week he turnes it in for a "fun activity with mom". We let him have it longer than anyone would recommend but it worked for us. And he turned a different corner a couple of weeks ago. He "got it". So now he poops in the potty, is giving up the passie, and eating dinner again. Now if only we could get him to go to preschool without an argument.

    1. I guess all Charlies use pacifiers. Maybe just keeping as a bed thing is the way to go. I can't handle the thought of him giving up naps, and he really needs them at this point. We just need to get a ton and put them all over his crib....We can have him stop when he is old enough to talk about it maybe. I mean, I need to talk to Z about it before we make a decision, but that is what I'm leaning towards now.