Warding off the paci police


Hello!  I’m back from my retreat in Maui. 

But more on that later this week, as I have something completely unrelated to discuss.

Today, I took Paige in for her 15 month well check. Her pediatrician (whom I ADORE) asked all the requisite developmental questions. All is well in Paigeland, except one unexpected thing that I didn’t, well, expect…

Doc:  Is she off all bottles and pacifiers?

LV:  Bottles, OH YES! But she takes a pacifier to settle for nap and bedtime…

Doc:  *smirking, shaking head*

LV:  …and she doesn’t keep the paci in her mouth while she sleeps, she just needs it to settle, and…

Doc:  *head tilted, displaying that ‘MmmHmmm’ look*

LV:  …she still takes the newborn-to-six month size, I won’t give her the bigger one so that maybe…

Doc:  *writing notes*

LV:  …she will get bored of the small pacifier, and the dentist said not to worry about it until later…

Doc:  The earlier you get rid of the pacifier, the easier it will be.

I love this man, our pediatrician, but I have to disagree.  And what’s the big deal?  It’s a part time gig.

I fought the pacifier thing from the start.  I was very pleased with the fact that Makenna didn’t use one past a couple months old.  I didn’t plan on using one long-term with Paige, either.  However, Paige was a screamer and a pacifier was something that gave her great comfort.  After much hand-wringing and half-hearted attempts at paci intervention, I whined to 180/360 about whether or not to take the hard line with the pacifier.  Her response was so simple, “If it’s giving her comfort, why take it away?”  Yes, you’re right!!  Paige enjoys that little bit of comfort, and yet I want to take it away because I’m not comfortable with it?
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Paige has only used her pacifier to fall asleep, and it rarely ventures out of the crib. I wasn’t lying, that the thing doesn’t stay in her mouth all night.  It’s simply her calming mechanism, much like Makenna who rubs the fuzz of her little blankie across her lips as she drifts off to sleep.

Once I accepted that the pacifier would be a fixture in Paige’s crib, I did some reading and consulted friends about an exit strategy.   I felt that when the time came to bid Adieu to Senor Paci, Paige would need to be in on it too — old enough for us to explain to her that it’s time to let it go, and cognitively able to understand what it means.  It seems like a much gentler approach than to take them away one night and let her sob. 

Something close to Miss Mel’s “Paci Fairy” plan makes the most sense to me.  When the little paci addict is old enough to “negotiate,” you make a big deal about the pacifier going to the Paci Fairy.  You and the addict wrap up the paci(s) and leave them for the Fairy, who will drop by at night and take the pacifiers away to other little babies who need them.  By doing this, the paci addict is part of the process and may be more open to letting go.  Or so the theory goes.

So my point is… this one-time anti-pacifier nazi is comfortable with her youngest daughter’s vice.  And when her doctor asks me again, I’ll just slip a little fib and say, “Nope, nu-uh.  No more pacifiers.”

20 Responses to “Warding off the paci police”

  1. First, how dare you tempt us with such a gorgeous photo. Gasp. I long to go to Hawaii.

    Second, don’t beat yourself up about the paci. I know kids much older than yours walking around all day long with them. And since you keep it in the crib, perhaps you can go with a plan that when you transition her to a bed there will be no more pacifier. That would probobly work well as it will all be a new experience and she will find a new way to soothe herself. Either that or she will ditch it on her own one day :).

    I would take the paci to the two fingers J sticks in his mouth. He gave up the pacifier for those two fingers and now we are having a hard time breaking him of his habit. We are down to just sucking at home when tired and mostly at night, but if he doesn’t give it up soon, we will be going for the yucky medicine to help him out.

  2. that photo is so beautiful!

    the paci fairy sounds like a smart plan.

  3. To get even more crazed into the paci fairy idea, you could tie your jar of paci’s to a tree out front of your house, or leave the gift of paci’s at the base of the tree, when she wakes up in the morning, the fairy did take the paci’s, but left a gift just for Paige underneath. A present just for her for being such a big girl.

    Of course this plans sounds right on. I’ll report back when we actually put the fairy idea into place…….:) One transition at a time!! AHHH!

  4. Your Dr. needs to chill out a bit. I have friends who have kids with pacifiers, and they phased them out using various methods. My dentists also told me that up to the age of 5 no damage will be done to the permanent teeth.

    Emily is a thumb-sucker, and I’m sure it will be just as hard (or even harder) to break, but for now? It makes her happy. Which makes ME happy.

    Welcome home!

  5. My youngest is 2 and still takes a paci for bed. We’ve managed to get her to give it up the rest of the day except for then. We’ll try the paci fairy when the time is right. I’m not fighting over it either.

  6. Hey, I STILL use a pacifier, and it hasn’t done me any harm. And I only use it during important, stressful meetings.

  7. My sister’s oldest son had a visit from the paci fairy. He was at the point of only holding them, one in each hand, before naps and bedtime.
    My DD, Lady K, was two and still diggin’ on her bottles at home, but sippy cups at school. One day I told her that the bottle lady was coming next week to take all of her bottles and accoutrements to the babies who really needed them more than she. Each day we talked about it and the big day arrived and I showed her the cupboard. Only sippy cups, no bottles. She nodded her head and asked for her sippy of milk, please.
    No fuss.
    It’s hard to know what to do and when to do it and will it work and will they need therapy later on because of some perceived misstep on your part. sigh…..I wish I could find the instruction manual she came with…..

  8. Oh, I am so on that beach mentally! Beautiful!

    Hope you had a fantastic time and can’t wait to hear about it.

    On the soother issue, well, you are right, who is he to tell you that? You have it under control and have an excellent plan for saying sionara to Senior Paci (LOVE that by the way)!

  9. My son STILL uses his Paci. I cant even count the amount of comments I get. I’m now coming up with a list of snappy comebacks to nosy strangers or “helpful” doctors ha ha.

  10. Pacifiers rock.

  11. Well… Zoe was 2 in June and still uses the paci just for nap and bedtime (and a bit more with the 2 year molars coming through). She also only uses it as she falls asleep and it gets spit out while sleeping. This one is just not a battle I’m going for right now. Eventually… it’ll be gone.

  12. 12 ObliviousSuburbanite

    Relax. My son was 2 when we kicked it. I love the sweet sentiment of the paci Fairy,but my kids are concrete thinkers. Metaphor’s are lost on them. Bribery however….. We took all of my sons paci’s and put them in a zip-lock bag. He took them to Target and picked out a nice loud big boy Bulldozer. He took it up to the cashier ( I was looking for a nice little old lady) They had only one lane open(a college aged kid) He rang up the bulldozer. My son placed his bag of Paci’s on the belt and “Paid for” his New bulldozer. (the poor cashier was a little dumbfounded, but I slipped in my Debit card and whispered for him to pitch the bag…He played along) and we never looked back. When my son brought up his paci at nap time, I told him that he was a big boy and bought his bulldozer with them. All was well. He has not asked again despite his baby sister constantly flaunting hers.She is 16 mo.. According to your Dr. I guess we are in trouble.

  13. Welcome home!!

  14. There are some things that are nobody’s business. This is one of them. If the child is comfortable with it and her MOTHER is comfortable with it, then that’s the end of story when talking about pacifiers. We are not talking about a dangerous substance here. It’s a pacifier. Meant to pacify. Doing it’s job! Geesh. Perhaps he felt the need to give you some advice and couldn’t come up with anything else!

    Not that it matters one little bit, but I say that as a mother who has never used a pacifier. See, it doesn’t matter!


  15. I recommend that you don’t take away the paci too soon. We took the paci away from one of my daughters when she was 16 mos. old. Her little sister was due in a month and we didn’t want her to mix her trying to take the baby’s paci if the baby took one (she wouldn’t). The former daughter still sucked on an imaginary paci in her sleep until she was nearly six. She also had a terrible time going to sleep. She still has trouble going to sleep at times and she is nine now.

  16. well, i have a 2.5 year old that can suck the chrome of a fender due to her thumbsucking ways.

    i just don’t have the heart to be mean about it. and you know i’m mean, right?

    welcome back!

  17. Dude, RELAX! (hehe) It could be worse- she could be sucking on a bottle of Gin or on some cigarettes. Oh whoops, those are just adult pacifiers! Give it time, she’ll move on to better things before you know it. 🙂

  18. 18 Danielle

    I read about using the Paci as “money” too. When the time comes, find a toy she is begging for and then tell her she can “buy” it with her paci. Who knows if that really works. The fairy sounds like an equally smart approach. But just do it when the time is right…you know best…not the doctor 😉

  19. Just as long as she is off it by the time she goes off to college you are fine. Sometimes doctors are such party poopers. Gorgeous pics. I came over from Mrs. Mogul.

  20. well i took baby’s away slowly- i started cutting it…she finally threw it away one day. my doctors never gave me a hassle- they actually never asked! 🙂 don’t sweat it.

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