Getting Rid of the Pacifier

Paci, binky, soother, nubby, dummy, nuk, plug…whatever you call it, it can be your saving grace or your worst nightmare.  After refusing to give my first baby a pacifier in the hospital and first days at home, I finally gave in and it instantly soothed her.  With baby #2, I knew right away that we would be offering a pacifier, and again, it soothed her.  According to Dr. Harvey Karp, author of The Happiest Baby on the Block, sucking is a soothing reflex in infants.  BUT, what about those 5 and 6 year olds still attached to the binky? There is a point in life when the pacifier must go. In Part 1 of Getting Rid of the Pacifier I am going to tell you about what I did wrong when taking away the beloved bink, as we call it at our house.

One day I woke up and decided Elle was too old for a binky.  She was 2 years and 3 months old and, although she only used the pacifier during nap time and bedtime, I was ready to be rid of it. I loathed having to frantically search for them before bedtime. I despised having to triple check that I had one in my purse before we went out.  I was ready.  What I didn’t consider was if she was ready.  I researched a few ideas online on how to toss it and picked one idea I thought would work for her.  I decided to have her “buy” a new toy of her choosing with her binky.  Throughout the day I told her that she is a big girl now and we needed to trade her binkys for a new toy.  I was enthusiastic and she seemed excited and totally on board.

That evening when daddy got home we all trekked to Target, binky in hand.  After searching every aisle Elle finally settled on this Little Mermaid toy.  Things went smoothly with the payment as our cute checker went along with accepting the binky for payment.  Elle enjoyed playing with her new toy for the rest of the evening…until bedtime.  This is when the nightmare began.  After realizing what we had done, she begged tirelessly to return to the store and trade her toy back for her binky.  Then she got smart and realized that we had only taken her pink binky to “pay” with, so she began asking for her orange binky.  She cried and she screamed.  She broke my heart all night long and eventually ended up sleeping with mommy and daddy the entire night.  Subsequent nights proved to be difficult as well and my heart broke over and over.  I thought, now that I’m in this far, I can’t turn back.

Post-paci naptime also became a difficulty.  After a few month of fighting naps, we decided to give up on them altogether (boy, was that a sad day).  Elle often stole her little sister’s bink, which never ended well.  Overall, it was a horrible experience that I would do completely different if I could go back in time.  But, because I’m not Hermione Granger, I made a note on what to do differently with child #2 (are all first children Guinea pigs?).  So here is the breakdown of the top 3 mistakes I made when getting rid of the pacifier:


#1 – Not feeling out if my daughter was ready, only thinking of my own want to be rid of the bink.

#2 – Following through. I know, it doesn’t sound like a mistake, but just because I began the process didn’t mean that I had to follow through.  As a parent it is extremely important to follow through.  BUT when you realize you have made a mistake or gone about something the wrong way, it is okay to backtrack and try another route.

#3 – Taking the pacifier away while little sister still had hers.   This just tempted and taunted Elle as she saw her little sister had what she couldn’t.

#4 – Being so anxious about getting rid of the pacifier. I didn’t think things through thoroughly.  I should have stepped back and realized that neither of us was ready for the stress and that having the binky for a bit longer wound not have killed us.

I’m happy to say that my now 3-year-old is back to her happy healthy self, although she never regained the nap.  She also continues to ask from time to time if she can go back to Target to get her binky 🙁

In Part Two of Getting Rid of the Pacifier I will focus on what I did right with my second child when it was time to get rid of the bink.  I promise it’s a much happier story!

Do you have any pacifier horror stories?  I’d love to hear them!  Just comment below.

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