I knew the price we would eventually pay when my son decided he loved his pacifier as a newborn. But in the throes of first-time motherhood I didn’t care. All I knew was that damn pacifier put a magic spell on my cranky baby. And when baby is finally happy, mama is happy. I was team pacifier all the way.
But a little over a year later I started to grow tired of strategically placing five pacifiers in his crib so he would find them on his own in the middle of the night without me coming in to give him one. I would subconsciously count the number of thumps I heard as pacifier after pacifier fell out of the crib on to the floor.
Crap, was that number four or five?? Please be four. PLEASE.
And once it was clear that my son didn’t actually need the pacifier, he was just used to it out of habit, we decided to tempt the fates and get rid of the pacifier. We debated different methods. Like making up a story about another baby needing the pacifiers and have the kid put them in the mail. Or, I read about how you can cut the tips of the pacifier so they suck air and hopefully become disinterested on their own. And another popular method is having the ‘pacifier fairy’ come and take away all the pacifiers.
I felt the first method would not work on my son because a. he’s one, he doesn’t understand how the USPS system works. I envisioned him begging and screaming to go to the mailbox every day in hopes that his loves would be returned to him. And b. the concept of sharing wasn’t something he had down yet, so to share with a fictional baby seemed like a stretch to me.
And I 100% believed that if I cut the ends of the pacifier that he would not have cared in the slightest. The pacifier was just a habit for him at his age, he didn’t need it to soothe or sleep anymore. So cutting it seemed like it wouldn’t be a deal breaker to him.
And as far as the pacifier fairy goes, if I had to set up something elaborate and believable for my kid to get rid of the pacifier, I’m out. I’m not an Elf on the Shelf kind of mom, so there’s no way I was going to sprinkle fairy dust around the house as proof she has visited the house. So this option didn’t resonate well with me either.
So we did it cold turkey. And I would be lying if I said I didn’t have any reservations. I was nervous. These things have literally been a part of his every day for his entire existence. So I was not surprised by his reaction on day one. Which was pure fire.
He searched high and low in all the places his pacifiers usually end up. We kept telling him they were gone because he was a big boy now and didn’t need them. But, of course, he had to find out for himself that they were indeed gone.
Once that reality set in the anger came. And it was epic. I started to doubt this method but stayed strong because there was no going back now. Each day got slightly easier, but every morning he would get up and look for them with no luck, which would start the day off on a lovely note.
BUT, day five rolled around and it was as if a light switch had been flipped. He stopped asking for the pacifier and returned to his normal self. He didn’t look for them, didn’t whine for them, didn’t beg for them. Nothing. He was over it, just like that.
It was as if he just needed a little time to accept his new normal.
So, the million dollar question. Would I go cold turkey again? Absolutely. I think it depends on the child, how old they are, temperament, etc. But I think it can work in the right situation. And don’t worry, this isn’t going to traumatize them. There are far more serious things that will traumatize your kids. Like the dark, non-existent monsters, and bruised bananas.
A few things to keep in mind before you get rid of the pacifier cold turkey:
- You will more than likely have a few days of hell after getting rid of the pacifiers, so plan accordingly. Probably not a good choice to start this around holidays or during travel.
- Don’t forget to get rid of ALL of the pacifiers. Search high and low. The last thing you want is for your kid to sniff out that one you thought was lost forever. Not a good look.
- Get support. You will want to give in and hand a pacifier over after you’ve heard your kid cry about them for a few days. They are pitiful. So if you have someone that you can lean on to help you stay strong, tap in to it.
- Depending on your child you may want to give him a heads up about what is coming. There are books you can read with them to prepare them.
That’s it! That’s how we went cold turkey with getting rid of the pacifier. How did you guys do it??
My youngest never took to the paci but she loves to suck her thumb at night, so I’m crossing my fingers that she grows out of that before she gets to high school.