Quitting the Pacifier cold turkey: What to expect..
They say things are much easier with the second child since you learn from the first. While I do believe this is true for some things, I don’t think it is true for all things. My daughter (Gabby) is now five years old and my son (Anthony) is almost two years old (21 months) and they could not be more different. In personality and in behavior. We have been trying to gradually wean Anthony off of the pacifier the same way we did with Gabby. The difference is that we were a lot more diligent with things with Gabby since she was the first child. When she turned one we immediately took the pacifier away during the day time and only gave it to her at night. Which was a great strategy and one weekend we went to New York to visit my parents and forgot the pacifier home and she slept two nights without it. When we returned home I just didn’t give it to her and voila the pacifier was gone! Easy Right?
With Anthony we were a lot more relaxed with everything so we allowed the one year mark to pass without even thinking about the pacifier. He was a lot more attached to it and we just let it slide. At 16 months it hit us, we need to start weaning him off the pacifier since he will be starting preschool at two years old and he can’t take the pacifier to school nor would we allow him to go to school with a pacifier. So we implemented the same strategy. However we were slacking once again. If we went in public we took the pacifier to keep him calm “in-case” he starts crying, or to put him to sleep in the car when he gets fussy. At nights he would cry non-stop if he didn’t get the pacifier. Once you gave it to him he would immediately stop crying and be fast asleep. We were not consistent in our actions so five months later this strategy was a failure.
Now its time to get serious. It’s now time for my holiday break and I will be off work for six days so this is the perfect time for “Operation No-Pacifier” to go into effect. He will be quitting cold turkey. This is not the best way to get rid of a pacifier but desperate times call for desperate measures. It will be some long nights so not having to get up early in the morning should make it easier for me.
Night 1: Dec 24th – Withdrawals
It was a rough night, an hour of fussing for the pacifier and about forty minutes of non-stop crying before he got tired and fell asleep around 11:30pm. He typically wakes up at night looking for it so of course he woke up tonight. We brought him over to our room to try to calm him and so his crying would not wake Gabby up. We had family over for the holidays and the whole house could hear it. I felt bad that we chose to do this now and no one could get a peaceful night’s sleep but it had to be done. He was going bananas throwing his body and kicking his legs… well the usual tantrum behavior. Really rebelling and I’m sure he was hoping we would give in as we usually do. He was going through pacifier withdrawals.
Day 2 & Night 2 – Dec 25th Withdrawals/ Walking on Egg shells
It’s Christmas! And it’s like he woke up angry. I know what you are thinking, how could you do that to him on Christmas? Well we said that too but we won’t have this opportunity to work with him any time soon. So we had to make the sacrifice. He woke up crying in the middle of the night. It doesn’t help that he has a cold and was already miserable from that. But I think he was very tired since he didn’t get much sleep the night before. I gave him something to eat and he was bit calm but acting very clingy. Crying all the time and he had a bad case of the jealousy. He was already territorial with us, not wanting us to hold Gabby but now he does not even want her to touch us. Everything seems to bother him and he was having a tantrum for every little thing. We were walking on egg shells trying not to do anything to upset him. Really… I can’t believe I let a child make me feel that way. We had Christmas dinner at my uncle’s house and my hubby had to leave early to take him home because of his behavior. When I got home my hubs told me he had a temperature (which he has been having from teething) and he had to give him fever medicine. Typically the pacifier would sooth him during the times he was not feeling well but there was no turning back now. He was asleep when I got home but the midnight saga continued. It was basically a repeat of Night 1. We just let him cry until he fell asleep.
Day 3 & 4: Dec 26th – 27th Corrective Actions
Day 3 and 4 were a repeat of Day 2. He continues to rebel as we patiently wait for him to forget about the pacifier. But we decided that rather than just ignoring the tantrums we would take some corrective actions. So when he laid on the floor and started kicking we would hold his legs and explained to him no kicking. He didn’t have to get up but the kicking and stomping needed to STOP. Then we walked away and left him lying there. When he was done crying he got up. Night four my hubby put him to bed it was surprisingly quiet. I didn’t hear him cry at all. His strategy was to let him watch Mickey mouse on his phone until he got tired and he fell asleep LOL. We were not so lucky when he woke up in the middle of the night. Night time saga continued.
Day 5: Dec 28th We see the light at the end of the tunnel
He woke up a bit cranky but after eating he was pleasant. Yes I will just say pleasant because it was improvement but he was still a bit clingy. As the day progressed I saw improvements. He was playing well. We literally had no tantrums, we had an almost tantrum when Gabby took back her toy from him, the toy he just snatched from her, and he laid on the floor and whined…No kicking yal! You have no idea the joy I had inside. He was still trying to just take things from his sister or getting into mischief (which is normal) but the difference with today and the last four days was that he handled correction better. He didn’t go into his tantrum because we corrected him. He was playing with Gabby and hugging her. He took a late nap so we knew he would go to bed late. So we let him watch his favorite show (Mickey Mouse) until he was tired and fell asleep. And surprise surprise he slept through the night. We could actually see the light at end of this terror tunnel.
Day 6: Dec 29th -My baby is back!
Anthony slept through the night. He slept for eight hours straight, no mid-night crying. This is my last day home and I feel like we have officially gotten through this process. He is acting like his normal self today. I think he has either forgotten about the pacifier , has forgiven us, or he has finally accepted that we are not going to give in to the crazy LOL.
I wanted to share this with you all so you can learn from our mistake and start transitioning your child off the pacifier as soon as you can if it is your desire to do so. And if you chose to go longer I wanted to give you some insight of what it will take and what to expect. I do recommenced gradually weaning your child off but if you are not consistent it can make the process harder and quitting cold turkey may be the strategy you need to take.. Just make sure you stay the course and don’t give in.
Happy parenting <3