I am a total paci-fist when it comes to parenting. I could not survive the first three months without the pacifier/off button, but it is such a double-edged sword. You can take a paci-child anywhere and make it through anything. I took Fluffy to so many daytime movies with that paci, ahhh. International flights? No problem. Church? Done.
The paci is baby crack, though. They get so dependent on it. One day you realize, they could be sleeping the whole night if they didn’t need that paci replaced–and by “they”, of course I mean “you”. You also find that you are never truly off duty. Even when they’re asleep you’re always listening for that special plastic tinkling of a dropped paci so you can fly in and replace it before the storm hits. Yes, the paci is a cruel mistress.
My older daughter was a super paci-lover, and she needed it replaced probably 2-5 times a night. I had read Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems by Ferber (gasp) as well as Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Weissbluth (and a host of other unscientific, guru, “common sense”, packed-with-anecdotes-and-catch-phrases-rather-than-research garbage that I would not bother citing). I explained sleep props to my husband, but he didn’t want to let Fluffy cry it out. I said he was welcome to be solely in charge of binky replacement then. After a couple of weeks of him sprinting back and forth to the nursery all night and all morning, he said okay, we could go cold turkey on the paci.
The first night F cried for almost 1.5 hours on and off before falling asleep without it. Both Kent and I were crying too watching her on the monitor. One of us would say, “Okay, I can’t take it! She’s dying. I have to go give her the paci.” Then the other would say, “Wait, we know she’s not hungry, she’s not wet, she’s not cold, and she’s fine on the monitor, let’s just wait 10 more minutes.” And then she’d stop for a bit and we’d sort of reset. Then she’d cry again, and we’d switch roles of who wanted to go put the paci in and who talked whom down. Somehow we made it though, and she slept through the night without it. The next night, she fussed for 40 minutes when we put her down without it. Obviously we timed all of this. The third night she fussed half-heartedly for about 10 minutes, and that was the last of it. Three bad nights, and then no more paci-sprinting. Later when she was old enough to replace it by herself, we reintroduced it.
On a side note, when we reintroduced The Silencer, we used to load up her crib with extra binkies like a plastic ball pit so one would always be within reach. We would put her down and then rush to the monitor to watch her sample each one in her nightly Binky Tasting before she selected a vintage for the night.
When the twins turned 3 months this time around, I said, “Okay, we have to stop this whole paci parade.” We were replacing both their pacifiers constantly including during their daytime naps. They slept a lot and according to schedule, but even during their naps and all night long we were on paci-alert. I remember both of us thinking they will never be able to go to sleep without them. Physical impossibility. But we’d seen the speed of light barrier broken with Fluffy, so we girt up our loins on a long weekend and attempted cold fusion in the attic. This is a metaphor.
It went down pretty similarly to what happened with our daughter. We didn’t give them the paci that night–HUGE protest. They cried for over 2 hours!!! On and off, but still. It was like two hours in the electric chair. With someone stabbing knitting needles into your ears. And you were allergic to knitting needles. Awful.
I don’t think we would have made it through without having had the experience with our older daughter. Then, boom, they slept for 11 hours that night. So we didn’t give them the pacifier for their morning nap. They cried 10 minutes. Didn’t give them the paci for the afternoon nap. They fussed for 2 minutes and fell asleep, and that was literally the end of the pacifier. They have never needed or wanted it since. I’ve even tried to reintroduce it recently, but they are having none of it. So with the twins, it was a lot worse the first night, but it took them less than 24 hours to completely quit.
My husband and I were just staring at each other in shock the next night when we put them to sleep with no paci and no crying. We kept saying, “Why didn’t we do this sooner?” We walked around on a cloud of parental bliss smugly congratulating each other on our sagacity and fortitude and offering parenting advice to no-one in particular.
It was absolutely unbelievable how fast they completely gave up their paci’s and have not used them to fall asleep at all since.
|One of Fluffy’s lovely pacifier chains. I had enough to coordinate with all her outfits.|