Friday, April 23, 2010

binky, sus, dummy, the plug, sucky-do, baby mute button

I have a love-hate relationship with the pacifier. I love that they sooth babies ( them sleep longer), but I also love seeing babies smile and babble, both of which are hindered by a pacifier.

When Max and Maya were born I didn't want pacifier use to hinder their ability to breastfeed so I had specific instructions in my birth plan that they were not to be given them in the hospital. So of course, the first time I saw them post c-section, they had pacifiers in their mouths.

Once the babies came home from the NICI I was so grateful for my sister Laura and my mom's help. I don't know what I would have done with out them. But, we were certainly at odds about the pacifier. At one point I gathered up all the pacifiers in the house (which some how magically multiplied) and put them in a plastic bag with the label "TO BE USED ONLY IN CASES OF EMERGENCY". Of course, I often came into the room to find one or both babies with a pacifier in their mouth. My mom would explain, "Max looked like he wanted to suck". Laura was much more brazen (as she tends to be, which I love) and would just roll her eyes and me and put a pacifier into a baby mouth. (It must also be mentioned that my mother-in-law, Patsy, also came to help out with the babies right after their stay in the NICU. While I'm quite certain she thought I was crazy she went along with all my new mother crazy ideas.)

After I was on my own with the babies (during the day, of course between 6pm-7:30am I also had Lonnie's help), I managed to keep them pacifier free for several months. I had been told by my pediatrician, La Leche League and lots of internet research that early introduction of a pacifier can interfere with establishing breasfeeding and I didn't want to risk any more complications.

The problem was that my babies already had problems with establishing breasfeeding. They weren't allowed to breastfeed in the NICU. I'd also had a c-section after my water broke but before I really went into labor, lowering my ability to produce milk. It took us four months of pumping and bottle feeding before Max and Maya finally decided to get their meals at the source. My friend Laurie (also a mother of twins) told me that her doctor told her to give her babies a pacifier to strengthen their suck. At that time I was desperate to do anything to improve their ability to nurse so I decided to give it a try.....and that is how we gave into the pacifier.

We started giving Max and Maya a pacifier during sleep time at about five or six months old. We would also occasionally give them their pacifiers during church or on long car rides. I must admit they were great. The baby fusses, you give them the plug and they calm down....everyone is happy.

The babies will be two years old next month and I am starting to think it is time to give them up
for good. In someways I will really miss them. I love that the moment that Max or Maya receive their pacifier they know it is time to snuggle. I also must admit that I like being able to pull them out when the babies are having a particularly whinny day and I am running out of patience. But I think the time has come. I'm a bit worried about their teeth and I am also worried that I haven't been able to find replacement pacifiers that Maya likes here in New Zealand and her pacifers are starting to get nasty even after various attempts at cleaning them.

Any ideas about how to get rid of pacifiers while maintaining sanity? I've heard about using the pacifier fairy (basically exchanging the pacifier for a toy) but I'm not sure that would work with kids this young.


  1. We always took our kids away when they were two and a half. At that point they only had them when they slept and we got rid of them by using "paci mice." I would cut a little piece off the tip of all the pacifiers blaming it on mice that came and nibbled on them. For my oldest I had to keep cutting them back a little each night before there was nothing left for him to give them up, but my second son did not want them after the first snip came off and gave them up. It was good to have something else to blame for the messed up paci's and the kids never blamed me. It may not work for you at two, although maybe you could try the "pace hedgehog!"

  2. I've heard going cold turkey works pretty well with really young kids (like yours). It makes for a rough couple days but they soon forget about it.

    Also, we give Anna a sippy cup of water at naps and bedtime. Maybe that would give them something to suck while they transition away from the pacifier.

  3. I am no expert but we had bottle issues and sippy cup issues (my kids never would take a pacifier) but in hind sight...cold turkey is the way to go. We did the hide them, we had the baba fairy, we would have them throw them away and such but in the end cold turkey was the best. I have also heard of people that just cut the tip off and then the kids don't want them anymore...maybe one at a time until they are gone and then just don't buy them anymore??? But in the long run I think it may be about what kind of kid you have and what works best for them. I sure miss seeing you guys! I hope everything else is going well.

  4. Cold turkey is the way to go. That's what we did with Maren, who I love dearly, but is a child from Hades. I, too, was against the pacifier until I woke up to her loudly sucking her thumb at 4 weeks. It was an easy choice at the point.

    Maren was 18 months old when I took all the pacifiers I could find and tossed them. I told her that they were all gone, which she accepted. It didn't make naptime or bedtime any harder, but then we'd had sleep issues since she was 6 months old when she stopped sleeping thru the night and dropped 2 naps. She did find one pacifier about a month or two later that I just took away from her. It didn't cause one of her monstrous tantrums that lasted for at least an hour back then.

  5. Sam & Mia were our binki kids. Sam's binkis "broke" {we cut the tip off} and he happily threw them away.{he was 2} Amelia was a little more difficult because she knew where to go in the store to buy them. One by one, her stash of binkis {she would carry them around in her purse} disappeared or broke. But we always had a conversation with them so they understood they would be ok without them. I think they "get" more than we give them credit for sometimes.

  6. I love your commentary on the plight of the pacifier! (It was the 'binky' &/or 'guppie' in our home.) Unfortunately, I wish I could give some great advice, but quite honestly I have no idea how binkies became historic items in our home - more correctly, I'm sure I did something very wise and wonderful ;) I just can't remember what it was!

    Rest assured however, as Ammon (our child most reluctant to give up his binky), now 14 years old, never wants, needs or asks for one - really, he never ever asks. He's not even tempted to 'steal' one from the toddlers at church like he used to!

    Seriously though, sarcasm and obnoxiousness aside, I hope you can find a good solution for you and the ginger twins. I'm confident you will as you are a very capable and terrific mother. My niece and nephew are very lucky to have such a mom. Love you guys and miss you tons!

  7. I stressed and stressed over taking Timmy's binky away just before he turned 2 (and weening him from swaddling too at 4 months), but two days after going cold turkey and a little crying each nap and bedtime, he forgot all about it. Good Luck!!

  8. I am facing the same problem with Kali. None of my other kids used binki's, so I have never been faced with this.

    I would not replace the binki with a sippy cup at bedtime because then you will just have one more thing to break them from when you need to potty train them. Drinking right before bed will not help that. I have a friend who gave her kids milk in a sippy cup at bedtime and her kids are 5 and older. They wake up during the night and then get in bed with her. I wonder if they wouldn't wake up if they didn't have something to drink right before bed.

    I have heard about the snipping the binki thing (little bits each day). I am debating between that and just going cold turkey.

    I think I will just do the cold turkey thing. I am just going to wait until the middle of May when preschool is over and she doesn't have to go to babysitters during the day. The binki is a lifesaver for the babysitters.

    It will be tough. She is so sweet, and asks so nicely for her binki and blankey whenever she needs comfort. I will be sad to see them go. Good luck to you and good luck to me.