My daughter always had a very strong urge to suck. When she was around four weeks old, we decided to introduce a pacifier for various reasons. R had some reflux and sucking on the pacifier after meals helped keep the milk down a little better. It also helped her to fall asleep. After her reflux had improved and she no longer needed to suck on anything after eating, we only gave her the pacifier for sleeping. Even when we were breastfeeding and co-sleeping, the paci was the one thing she loved to have to help her fall asleep.
R was an awful sleeper. When she finally started sleeping for longer than an hour or two at a time she was around 15 months old. We were reluctant to change anything in her sleeping environment, terrified that it would bring back the dreaded insomnia. So we let her keep her pacifier. She turned two and we discussed trying to take the paci, but saw no need and let her keep it.
Just recently, R started chewing on her pacifiers in bed. One after another, her beloved pacis had big holes in them and had to be discarded. I thought we were in big trouble- my plan for getting rid of her rubbery friends was to cut holes in the tips in hopes that she wouldn’t like them anymore. Unfortunately, the holes didn’t faze her at all.
I had the idea of letting R throw the pacis away each time they were too chewed up to be used again. She threw them in the trash and seemed to enjoy the task. After naps or in the mornings she would inform us that her paci was broken and needed to be thrown in the trash. Our pacifier supply was dwindling and I felt reluctant to buy more.
So, a few days ago, I decided to put R down for a nap without a pacifier. I didn’t mention it to her and she didn’t even notice, falling asleep within a few minutes. The same evening, my husband tried to put her to bed without the paci. She caught on to the change as soon as she entered the bedroom and seemed upset, so we gave her one to fall asleep with. The next day, she napped without the paci again. That night, we tried bed time without the paci once more. It worked!!! She asked where it was and my husband told her that it was broken and had to be thrown away. She accepted this explanation and fell asleep all on her own. She slept a little more uneasily, but overall the night was a success.
Now, at 28 months, we are free of the pacifier! Never again will we regret not taking it with us somewhere. Nor will my daughter wake up in the middle of the night because it fell on the floor and she wants it back. My son has never shown any interest in a paci, so our household is completely emptied of pacifiers. As all milestones are, this is somehow bittersweet. While I will not miss the pacis, I will miss my baby girl who loved them so much. She’s growing up so fast…