In case you haven’t been Facebook/Twitter/Blog stalking me, this weekend we decided to take away Peanut’s pacifier. Well, the weekend came and went and we survived. Here’s a first update for you.
First, why we decided to do it.
Peanut has always been great about her pacifier (known as “nunu” around here). By 4 months we’ve restricted the nunu to nap time, bedtime, and emergency crying situations. We’ve continued on that way and never even considered taking the nunu away until Peanut was ready. But along with learning how to talk, Peanut suddenly learned that she could, and would, ask for whatever she wanted when she wanted to. Which suddenly meant that she would cry for her nunu for hours on end during the day, calling it by name. After a couple of weeks of this, we decided that it was in everyone’s best interest to say bye-bye to the nunu and move on with our lives.
Operation bye-bye nunu.
Our initial plan was to do it a few weeks ago but with the stomach bug followed by a cold accompanied by a fever, we kept pushing our timeline back. Finally, the stomach bug subsided, the flu stayed away for 24 hours, and we set a date. Since we didn’t want to make daycare do our dirty work, we were starting on Friday night and hoping that by the end of the weekend we would be close to home-free. Since most websites tell you that taking away a pacifier by 2 should only take 3 days, it was a pretty good plan.
That week we started by telling Peanut that Friday we were going to say bye-bye nunu. At first she ignored us or said “no.” By Thursday I would say, “Addi, guess what Friday is?” and she would respond, “bye bye nunu.” We were making progress.
Friday after school we packed up all the pacifiers at daycare and brought them home. At home, we walked Peanut around and collected all the pacifiers around the house.
Side note. What is it about pacifiers and socks? It seems that they disappear into thin air, never to be seen or heard from again. I swear we started with 6-8 pacifiers but only collected about 3. Now, don’t think we didn’t do due diligence. We checked in the crevices of the bed, under the bed, in every drawer. 3. That’s all we got. Moving on.
Peanut was reluctant. She kept her last nunu and ran away from us, hiding behind furniture. But we were pressing on and I really wanted her to be the one to give up the nunu rather than taking it out of her little hands. After 5-10 minutes of saying, “bye bye nunu” she finally put the last pacifier in the Tupperware, we all waved bye-bye and put away the nunus.
The first night was a bit rough, but much easier than we expected. We started our bedtime routine as usual. At dinner, Peanut would remember her nunu and say, “bye bye nunu.” We would smile and repeat it with her. At bath time things were going well. We repeated “bye bye nunu” a few more times. After her bath, she asked for her pacifier as usual and we said, “bye bye nunu.” That’s when the crying started. She tried pleading and crying. She screamed. Eventually she tried a new tactic by asking for milk (“milf”). We said that was a good idea and gave her some milk. She drank a little while I read her 3 books, just as we do every night. Then we brushed her teeth and I set her in bed.
She cried for her pacifier for about 30 minutes, straining her poor little vocal cord. I went in to see her and rub her back and tell her “it’s ok” and “you’re a really good girl” and “you’re doing great” every 3-5 minutes. The last time I went in I told her she was doing great and asked her if she wanted to lay down so I would rub her back. She sobbed “yes” and we did just that. She fell asleep quickly after that and slept soundly the entire night.
In the morning when I picked her up out of her crib, she waved and said “bye bye nunu” and we went on our merry way.
Saturday was the first nap with the pacifier and it went a lot better than expected. We put P down just a little later than her usual nap time, she cried for about 5 minutes, then let me rub her back and fell asleep. Easy peasy?
Saturday night went even better. Peanut pleaded for a minute or two, but I said “it’s ok” and she laid down, let me rub her back for a minute or two, and then fell asleep. Since my parents were babysitting we were thrilled.
Sunday morning she said “bye bye nunu” again and we went on. Sunday nap was a step back – she cried for about 20 minutes but we followed the same steps as before: we went in every 3-5 minutes, told her it was ok (we never brought up “bye-bye nunu” again unless she did, then we just nodded and said “it’s ok” or “you’re doing great”), and rubbed her back. Finally she gave up and went to bed.
Sunday night was the best of all evenings – Peanut laid down on her own, handed me her blanket which I used to cover her and rub her back. She sheepishly said, “bye-bye nunu?” and I said, “yes. you’re doing great” and she turned over to fall asleep.
All in all, our first weekend without the pacifier went great. I’m so proud of our little Peanut for staying strong and being so understanding. The fact that it was so easy also tells me that she was ready for this step in her development.
Here are a few tips from our household:
- It’s much easier to call it quits with the pacifier if it’s already restricted to nap and bed times
- If your kid is at an age where they have a good memory and a decent understanding of what’s going on, it’s a good idea to start prepping them a handful of days in advance
- I’ve heard that it’s much easier to do this if you’re doing it before the age of two
- Stick to a solid bedtime and nap time routine as usual
- I couldn’t find any information on what to actually do when you weren’t giving the kid a pacifier so here’s what we did: we put her down as usual, said “bye bye nunu” only on the first night and then stuck to saying things like “it’s ok” or “you’re doing great” or “you’re such a big girl.” When she was crying, we stepped out of the room for 3-5 minutes, coming in to tell her she’s doing great, wipe her runny nose, and rub her back. We never picked her up out of the crib. We never mentioned the pacifier again. We used soothing voices and continued to tell her she’s doing a great job.
If you’re on this adventure, I wish you the best of luck.
I’ll keep you guys posted with progress.