Letting Go of Bad Habits - Say bye to the Pacifier


New year means leaving behind bad habits and the one thing I'm thankful to say good bye to is the pacifier! In my conversations with fellow moms - I've heard them say how lucky I was that Little D took to a pacifier because he had something to soothe him in a pinch. As great as it was, it's a huge obstacle to overcome when your child is REALLY dependent on it.

Little D took to the pacifier from the moment he was born and as new parents with a colicky baby, we had no qualms about using it. I use to say that by 6 months he would be off of it - well 6 months came and went in the blink of an eye and my son was more into his pacifier than ever. I'm not going to lie - when you're out in public and your baby decides to start screaming at the top of his lungs, it takes you seconds to get the pacifier from the bag to his mouth....ah silence! It's bliss.

But eventually I started to become worried about the prolonged use of the pacifier as the months kept ticking on by. I feared the longer I waited the more I would wind up having a three year old walking around and talking through a pacifier. I feared it was going to cause problems for the teeth that were coming in, I worried about the bacteria that gets held within the pacifier. When I realized that I was certainly not weening him off the pacifier by 6 months, not even by his 1st birthday I knew that it could not go past 18 months. Giving myself a timeframe to work up to it helped take some of the pressure off of me. At one point, Little D needed to have two pacifiers at times to switch in between and he would actually have several in his crib for when he got up at night and it wasn't in his mouth.

As I was nearing the 18 month mark Little D started having small red bumps show up around his mouth. I couldn't figure out what it was. During this time, he also had an awful eczema flare-up which required me to take him to a dermatologist for the first time. When I asked her about the bumps around his mouth, while he was sucking on the pacifier no less, she pointed to it and said it was because of that. The bacteria from his mouth was spreading around his skin and I should think about taking him off of it....there is was, my shaming. I felt awful. I knew I needed to do it, I dreaded the meltdowns I was afraid were going to come. Since Big D was traveling and would be coming home within the week - I wanted to wait until we were together to do it. I was not doing this by myself!

After speaking with his daycare and learning Little D wasn't using a pacifier during nap times I said to myself that's where I'll start, so I picked a weekend and told Big D "no pacifier during nap" and he looked at me asking if I was sure and I said "yes" - rip the bandaid off, let's see what happens. I brought Little D into his room and put him down, he started looking for his pacifier and I gently told him he didn't need it and it was time to go night night. I gave him a buddy and left the room. I ran to the monitor and watched it like I was watching a global event unfold on the news. He sat there looking around for a few minutes and sure enough laid down and fell asleep. I looked at Big D with pure joy - it's working! Ok, I can do this - I told him we were going to do this for one week, no pacifier during nap time or any other part of the day except for bedtime. I was of the mindset that, Little D could not go cold turkey and I found it to be mean if I just took it away so fast - he needs to ease into it.

By the next weekend, this was it - it was the Super Bowl of weening. No pacifier at night. Bedtime came and I brought him in his room and just like I had been doing with naps, I put him in his crib and he asked for it, I told him he didn't need it and I loved him. I gave him his buddy and left the room. Sprint to the monitor!! He was laying down! There was no crying, no screaming, nothing! For the next couple of nights he did ask for his pacifier and even tried looking for it in the middle of the night when he got up but eventually he stopped asking. He slept through the night with no problem. We had done it!

I was so proud. His skin cleared up almost immediately with the decrease use and even though it was used more for me as a "just in case", I kept a couple. By the one month mark -I threw evert single pacifier away - we were done...for now! The process was extremely stressful more for us than it was for him, we definitely took our cues from him by how we were going to approach it and I'm so glad we did it the way we did because I felt it was less traumatizing for all involved.

Whether you're a new mom, soon to be mom or a seasoned mom - there's so many good and bad things that come from using a pacifier. I'm not opposed to using it again, I feel like now I know how to approach it, I can do it all over again with much more confidence. I would definitely recommend reading up on it and deciding for yourself and your household what best route to go.

Good Luck! You got this!



XO,