Friday, June 6, 2008

Kicking the Pacifier Habit


Maybe a mistake I made. Now what to do? For about four months before my son’s 3rd birthday we had been talking with him about not using a passy after he turned 3-years-old. I was telling him that they were for babies that did not have any teeth.

The reason I had decided to try getting rid of it was because he was using it not just for comfort but keeping it in his mouth all the time, even while talking, when he didn't really need it. I didn't so much care how it affected his teeth since he would be getting new ones anyway and most people get braces later anyway. But, the dentist said it was changing the structure of the bones or whatever. So I thought I might test the waters by preparing him for months for that give-up time and see how it went.

Well, surprisingly, on the night of his 3rd birthday he went to sleep okay without it. No hysterical crying or anything. If he had and it seemed traumatizing I was going to forgo the whole thing. Well, for the next few weeks he did well other than occasionally taking it out of the baby’s mouth and sucking on it.

A quick reminder and he tucked his head and gave it back. So it has been about 6 weeks now and everyone told me after 3 days it would be no more. NO! It has gotten worse, reversed. Many nights I have gone in to check on him and he is not in his bed. I find that he has gone into the baby’s room and climbed in his bed and taken it out of the babies mouth and is asleep in there with him Sometimes the baby, is woken up.

What do I do? Do I keep enforcing no or do I go backwards after all of that and let him have it back? I guess I made a mistake. Now looking back I guess it was not fair of me to ask a smoker to stop smoking while there was still a smoker in the house if you get my drift. It wasn't out of sight out of mind. It was just that he didn't really throw the fit I was expecting so I went with it. Now, it has gotten worse, later, I wasn't expecting that. Now what to do? Do I just allow him to have it in his bed at nap and night time only so he doesn't wake the baby by steeling his?

Any advice? T


First I suggest you not call this a mistake. You tried an experiment that didn't turn out the way you hoped. And, I can hear that you have the answer from your own heart and wisdom. You just need to follow what you know and keep experimenting.

As you say, it may not have been "effective" to take the passy away when the baby has one. This introduces two factors--habit and "dethronement." He is already feeling "dethroned" by the baby, and now the baby gets one and he doesn't.

I also see the next phase of your "experiment" in your question--to try giving it to him only at night and naptime. Also, keep using your loving respect by involving him. Let him know that now that he is three he is ready to "graduate" to using the passy only at sleep time. (First tell him that the experiment of him not using it at all didn't work so well.) Let him decide where to put his passy when he isn't sleeping. Then, if he forgets and wants it during other times you can ask, "Where is you passy supposed to be when you aren't sleeping?" so he can tell you can take care of it.

Remember that weaning is never easy for the weanor or the weanee. Getting him involved in the process (letting him help create the plan) will give him a sense of control and constructive power that will help teach him some valuable life skills and help him feel capable.

Jane Nelsen