Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How we pulled the plug: Going pacifier-free

I've said it before. I never wanted my kid to have a pacifier. I always, always hated the way they looked. I received a couple as baby shower gifts when I had Logan and I never even opened them. I swore no child of mine would have one.

Then Jordan came along.

I still hated pacifiers, but in the middle of the night on the second night he was home, I found myself after a multiple-hour nursing session, in tears, with a screaming baby in my arms, in the basement, digging through old storage tubs looking for a pacifier I knew I had there, leftover from when Logan was a baby.

Jordan was a baby who needed to suck for comfort. I was a mom who needed to sleep.

So, I found that old pacifier, washed it up really quick, popped it in Jordan's mouth and we both slept.

And thus I became the mom of a pacifier baby.

I told myself I would take it away before the habit got out of hand. I'd get rid of it before he was walking around, because I couldn't stand to see kids walking around with pacifiers hanging out of their mouths.

I didn't.

Eventually, it became an ingrained habit, both for him and for us. It was actually comforting to know I had shoved a paci in my pocket when we went out somewhere because I knew if Jordan got fussy, he'd happily suck on it.

Yep, I "plugged" my kid. Another thing I swore I'd never do.

He really loved his pacifiers. He called them "sss." He would pilfer them out of his crib during the day, even though they were supposed to be for sleeping only.

I'm serious about my paci, Mom.

Finally, one day this summer I decided to try to wean him from them, so I cut just the tips off them. He was really mad about that but got over it.

We always had two pacis, because the ones he liked came in packs of two: blue with boats and green with dragonflies. One day, though, he had one at a farm market and then on the way home I realized he didn't have it anymore. Bye-bye blue paci! I wasn't about to go back to get it.

Then, in the car one day, he had the green one and then all of a sudden we couldn't find it. I figured it had fallen out of the car during our errands. Sorry, kiddo.

I thought that was it, but then Jordan found a different one in his toy bin. It was a different shape one I had tried at one point, but he didn't like it, so I had bought some more of the ones he did like. I forgot about the different shape one until he found it.

So, I let him have it in his crib. And he started sleeping OK with it.

And then I found the old green one in my flower bed next to the driveway. I brought it inside and hid it away. I never gave it back to him, but I did decide to keep it for his memory box. I'd actually kind of like to get it bronzed, but that's really expensive!

Then we went on vacation for a week, and we took the paci (the different one, the one he didn't like at first, but had become used to) along, just for sleeping. That worked out fine, except when we went to South Manitou Island backpacking. He got fussy while riding in the backpack as we were out exploring some old abandoned farms one day, so I gave him his pacifier.

We were enjoying ripe, juicy blackberries and apples that still grew on the farms.

I took this photo of Hubby picking apples. Note, Jordan has the paci in his mouth.

This photo was taken just a couple minutes later, near another apple tree. Note, Jordan has traded his paci for an apple.

We stopped for a rest (and to pick and eat a whole bunch of blackberries!). Here's Jordan with an apple in each hand.

Then we started hiking again. The sky was getting dark and the wind was picking up, and we had to go a couple more miles to get back to our campsite, so we kind of hustled out of there. About 3/4 of a mile went by before I stopped short in the road and moaned "Oh no... the paci is gone!"

But, with what appeared to be a storm bearing down on us and Logan tiring out from the hike, we weren't about to go back to the farm and hunt among the apple trees for the paci.

So, since we were there, on an island in the middle of Lake Michigan with no immediate plans (or opportunities!) to return to the mainland, we were thrust into a cold-turkey pacifier weaning situation.

We packed our four bodies into our tiny three-person backpacking tent for the night, and while it took Jordan some time to calm down, he did go to sleep that night without the paci. Of course, he was sharing my sleeping bag.

We made it through the trip by keeping the baby pack full of a supply of apples. Whenever we found a tree when we were hiking, we picked a couple extra and Jordan almost always had an apple in his hand. He has cultivated a great love for apples. Apples are the new pacifier, you know!

And, after we got to the mainland when the hiking trip was over, what was the point of getting more pacis, if we'd already gone a couple nights without them?

It took four nights before Jordan actually slept WELL without the pacifier. He would cry at bedtime, and cry when he woke up in the night and couldn't find it.

But I'm happy to say we are officially pacifier-free. I don't have to worry about him throwing it anymore, and I love that he doesn't have that plastic plug messing up his cute looks.

Also, he still eats a ton of apples, which is great.

Our pediatrician laughed and said it was the most extreme cold-turkey paci weaning he'd ever heard of. I think it's a great memory for our family and I'm kind of glad we were forced into it. I have no doubt Jordan would still have a pacifier now if that hadn't happened.

Anyway, that's how we did it!


alysia juanita said...

I am exactly like you...I never intended for my son to have a pacifier as long as we have, but I haven't been able to get myself to take it completely away from him yet. Love your weaning story! Hopefully ours isn't as "cold turkey", but then again maybe I do. :)