We introduced the pacifier to Adele somewhere around three months old. I started giving it to her when it was time to sleep so she could start associating it with sleep. At the time, I was still rocking her to sleep every night and I was desperate to find a way to stop. The pacifier worked and almost right away she was falling asleep on her own easily and staying asleep for 12-14 hours a night. Pacifier success.
Fast forward to sixteen months (October 2013), I thought it was finally time to start to wean her off of it. I posted this message on my Facebook page:
Spoiler Alert… after 20 minutes of crying (both Adele and maybe me a little bit too!) I caved and went into her room and gave it back to her. It’s not that I had a moment of mommy weakness (ok, maybe a little), but I really just didn’t feel like it was time yet. It didn’t seem right. I’ve heard that it’s best to get rid of the paci before it becomes a power struggle and I knew that meant I had to do it soon. I was traveling alone with her for Christmas, so I knew I needed it for MY sanity for the flight, so I decided to shelve the idea for a little while.
Instead, we started only giving it to her when it was time to sleep. If she wanted it, she had to go into the crib with it. When she woke up, she knew she had to take it out and leave it there. We also used it in the car when we wanted her to take a car nap.
Then last week, we had a rough day, and I decided it couldn’t get any worse, and on a whim, without much thought, I put her to bed sans pacifier. She cried for five minutes and fell asleep. We let Daycare know that we nixed it at home, and they were on board as well that very same day. The next night, same thing, protested for a few minutes, and then conked out. I was feeling pre-tty proud of myself. Wasn’t so bad after all!
Each night since then, she’s cried for 5-20 minutes or so. I think she still remembers it and wants it back. She called it “fire” (short for ‘pacifier’) and she still asks for it once in a while. It does make me sad because I know in her head she doesn’t understand. All she knows is this little thing felt good, made her sleepy, and was always there when she needed it… and now it’s gone. We didn’t do the whole “Pacifier Fairy came and took away to give it to the new babies” rational. I think she’s too young to get that anyways. It just disappeared (shhh don’t tell her i still have them all in the top drawer in the kitchen! Can’t bring myself to throw them out juuuust yet.)
She’s still sleeping through the night without it, although I will say she’s now waking up earlier. I think before, she’d wake up, find the paci in her crib, and then pass out again for another hour. Now, when she wakes up, she’s up. So now she’s out of bed at 7:15ish instead of her usual 7:45 or so wakeup (I know, I know, that’s not even early, but we did notice the shift once the pacifier was gone).
We’re hopeful that in a few more days there will be less tears at bedtime. Even though it only lasts 10 minutes or so, it’s so heartbreaking to listen to.
I don’t regret at all that we introduced it to her early. It gave us almost two years of quiet, easy sleep. I don’t think any new mom would argue with that! But the other side is deciding how to get rid of it later on. I just waited til it felt right, we’re still very happy with our decision.
I know there will be many, many more parental battles to fight down the road… I’m soooooo not looking forward to these difficult toddler years ahead. But knowing we can (and will) do a good job at each obstacle one at a time is encouraging.