Well, we did it – we are the MEAN parents who took away Caleb’s one and only comfort object – his pacifier! He only used it while in his crib, but something inside me just snapped the other day and I realized it was time to break him of his dependance on that little piece of rubber! Recently his obsession with having it in his mouth has made me crazy, and I believe if we would have continued to encourage it’s use things would have gotten worse over time.
Two nights and two naps later, he is paci free! Tonight at bedtime he literally threw it on the floor and wouldn’t sleep with it. Here’s how we did it:
– Upon arriving home from a very busy evening out, I rushed into the house and cut (yes with scissors) the bulb part off of every pacifier in the house.
– (This step was key) I immediately called all three of the older kids into my room for a meeting to discuss the plan. I told them what I had done and why Caleb needed to be free of his paci obsession. I told them that our job was to encourage him, not pity him, by celebrating that he’s too big for his paci and that now he’s not a baby anymore – he’s a big boy (yay!). I made sure they understood that this is a good thing, and that we were going to try not to make it a huge deal – it was just part of life and part of growing up.
-After Caleb was dressed and had asked for his paci about 165 times, I gave it to him. He popped it into his mouth like usual, but it fell right out. He inspected it and looked at me while saying, “Paci…broke.” I smiled and hugged him. I told him it meant he’s too big now and paci’s are for babies like baby Faith (his little sister). The older kids crowded around and cheered and told him how big he was. He smiled and said, “Yay!” After this step, I really started to worry. Now it was all said and done – there was NO GOING BACK!
– I read him some extra books, sang to him and snuggled him a little bit longer than usual. We talked about his SleepBuddy and he told me what was expected of him – paci or no paci, he was not allowed to scream in his bed. “When SleepBuddy is on, we stay QUIETLY in our bed.” (After it went off in the morning and after naps, I made sure to give him his treat. It seems like the SleepBuddy has taken on a more important role for him now – maybe it’s becoming his comfort object now that his paci is gone? That’s what Meg did when she went through this transition.)
-It took him awhile to fall asleep (about 30 minutes), but he didn’t cry or call for me. He held that broken pacifier all night and sort of tried to suck on the side of it.
-Since I was the most worried about him giving up his naps as a result of taking it away, I made sure he was super tired the next day. We went to the pool and I put him down a little bit later than usual after a LONG soothing routine. He fussed when I walked out, but fell asleep within minutes, still holding onto that shell of a pacifier!
-Today after his nap he decided he didn’t want anything to do with his paci. He threw it out of his crib and wouldn’t even look at it. I hope we’re on the downhill!
-Caleb is definitely more emotional during the day since we cut it. I’m not sure if it’s because he’s more restless in his sleep or because he’s sad about it, but either way he’ll get over it with time! Lots of snuggles and encouragement go a long way with him!