Several weeks before this happened, I had a plan for Operation: Paci Elimination. My daughter had been using a pacifier to sleep since shortly after she was born. I made one attempt to remove it at 6 months, but I was in the middle of this and frankly, I couldn’t deal with one more bump in the road.
I did a
little lot of research on the best way to eliminate the pacifier. Thank you, Google! Some were funny (Santa Claus came to collect it for another baby for Christmas) and some were just plain hardcore (take it away cold turkey, the next few nights will be rough, but he/she will get over it). I really had to give a lot of thought to this and in the end, I decided I was going to go with a seemingly-popular method: snipping the pacifier little-by-little until there is virtually no nub left.
My daughter is not the forgetful type, let me tell you! I knew I couldn’t just do it one day behind her back and hope she didn’t notice. No, ma’am, not with my girl. The anticipation was building and I had to come up with a way to pull the trigger on Operation: Paci Elimination. Man, toddlers can really do a number on your self-confidence.
Watching her on the monitor at night, I could see she was not consistently using the pacifier, but she did have it close to her at all times when she wasn’t. She is also one to notice when any minor detail is off. You should also know that she consistently sleeps with at least 10 items in her crib, sometimes more if I lose the battle.
ROLL CALL: monkey pillow, cuddle monkey, small puppy lovey, big puppy blanket, turtle, baby Snoopy, mommy Snoopy, pacifiers (2), and a sheep . . . and these are just the items I can easily recall.
If there is ONE thing missing, this girl will lose her marbles until it resurfaces. Operation: Paci Elimination was going to be no easy feat, so I had to get creative.
One day, after the New Year, she woke from her nap and picked up her pacifier after I entered her room. She began to put it in her mouth, biting and pulling it at the same time, giving the old paci a good rough-up. (Did I tell you she is no Gentle Ben?) LIGHTBULB MOMENT! I said to her, “Oh no, I think you may have broken it! Can I see it?”
She had a look of concern in her eyes as I held the pacifier, and then I said, “Oh no, it’s broken! I’m going to run to my room and see if I can get something to fix it.” It was sneaky of me, and I still feel guilty about it, but I went to my room and got a pair of scissors and snipped just the smallest bit off the tip of the pacifier. I raced back to her room and showed it to her and told her I was sorry, but I couldn’t fix it. A bit of a fib, yes, it totally was. Again, the guilt. I pride myself on honesty, but this was one time I saw the greater good of the situation as the elimination of the pacifier.
My daughter said, “Oh no, mommy! Paci is broken!” She studied it for a few minutes, put it in her mouth to try it, then threw it down and moved on about the day. Sounds easy and uneventful enough, no? However, I was more nervous for nighttime and she still had one “good” paci in her bed so we made it through the night without a problem.
Lo and behold, the next day she did the same thing with the “good” paci, handed it to me without even looking at it, and told me it was broken. I ran to my room and performed the snip and returned it! Her response, “Oh no, mommy, TWO broken pacis!” The night came and we made it through without issue. My plan was working! I was moving forward with snipping each pacifier the tiniest bit until there was nothing left to snip.
Even after snipping the pacifiers initially, I noticed she would still hold them in her mouth on occasion during the night, literally HOLD them there. Clearly, the use of her pacifiers was purely for comfort. Sometimes she would even sleep with the pacifier next to her cheek or simply hold it in her hand, just to have the comfort that it was there.
As the weeks have gone on, I continue to snip just a millimeter off of each tip when I remember. She never complains or comments on it. Occasionally, she will still hold it in her hand while she sleeps and once in a while, she will lean her cheek into it. She isn’t ready for it to leave her bed yet. Based on my comments above with her nightly crib party of stuffed animal friends, she clearly has a strong emotional attachment to inanimate objects at this point.
She is really close to letting go of it completely, and I can tell a huge improvement in the alignment of her front two teeth with her other teeth. It wouldn’t be obvious to others, but since I’m in her grill brushing those chompers every night, I can see a marked improvement! I’m just happy it turned out not to be as painful as I thought it would.
How about you? If your child used a pacifier, when and how did you go about eliminating it?