Ever since Little Ox #1 was just a few months old, I knew that once it was time to stop the pacifier, it was going to be HARD.
Josiah relied on that thing, almost as much as he relied on me for food. He was always an amazing sleeper, but if that paci fell out of his mouth – it needed to go back in or he would be awake in a flash. As he got a little bit older, it got harder! Luckily, we were very careful about letting him have it during the day when he didn’t really need it. At about 18 months, he had his first dentist appointment and the dentist noted that he had a pretty severe overbite and unless we got rid of that pacifier soon, he could already tell that Josiah would more than likely need braces when he’s older – (he still might, but that is my fault 🙂 because I did too).
Anyway, we decided that from then on he would ONLY have it for naps and for bedtime. This went surprisingly well. Sometimes we caved and let him have it during the day if he was grumpy or tired. However, once he turned 2 we talked a lot about how we were actually going to do this thing. There are SO many ways and so many different suggestions we got from people. We didn’t really like the cold turkey method but it also felt wrong to do the method of cutting a little bit off every day until he didn’t want it any more. I feel like he would have gotten upset and cried because something was different and would have rejected it right away, but with no closure – which pretty much meant cold turkey anyway.
I wanted something that would work, but that also catered to who he was. There is nothing wrong with those other methods but I knew that they wouldn’t be right for Josiah.
Luckily I had an idea and it was something that worked perfectly for him – because it was catered to him and his personality (combined with a lot of what he loves)
Here is what we did:
- We picked a day (a promised to stick to it)
- We told Josiah every day, for about 5 days, that on that Sunday, he would throw away all his pacifiers for a toy of his choice
- On the day of, we reminded him that it was the day, and that after dinner, we would be going to Target.
- From this moment on, we wanted him to be in control of everything. We told him he could find his favorite backpack.
- We told him to find all of his pacifiers and to put them in his backpack. He had a “paci jar” in his bedroom, so he went straight to it and took out every paci and dropped them in his favorite backpack. With mama’s help, he found a few more around the house.
- We headed to Target (his favorite store)!
- Once we arrived, we reminded him that we were taking his backpack in with us so that he could throw away all of his pacifiers.
- We walked in, and this little trash can for the cart wipes was the perfect spot. He proudly walked right up to it
- He unzipped his pacifiers and started tossing every one! Mac and I looked at one another confused, because he didn’t even hesitate!
- After his backpack was empty we said our goodbyes, waved, and took off (running) toward the toy section!
- We grabbed a hand basket and let him put all the things he was interested in, in the basket but reminded him that he would pick one once he was done. (The last few trips to Target, Josiah had his eye on something and I knew exactly what he would be bringing home!)
- After spending about 20 minutes in the toy section and a basket full of toys (although not as many as I expected), we asked him to choose 1 toy.
- He chose the toy and we headed toward the registers
- He put his toy on the belt and handed the checker our card
- He said goodbye as we left the store and didn’t look back!
That was it. I think it was more emotional for me than it was for him. Maybe I was the one who wanted to hold on to his “baby-ness”. I mean he sure did LOVE that paci, but he also handled this thing like a champ!
I loved that we put the whole thing in his hands and did it the way that worked perfectly for him. He took that Captain America shield with him to bed and that worked just as well as that paci ever did. We had 1 rough night and 1 rough morning dropping him off in the church nursery – but other than that, nothing!
Whatever way you choose, I hope that this process goes well for you too! My biggest tip is to try to remember to do it in a way that your toddler will love and appreciate!
Most nights when we are putting him to bed, he picks up the empty paci jar and reminds us that he went to Target and “bought” his Cap’s Shield with his pacifiers and he is SO proud of himself. And we are too! Are you thinking it’s time to stop the pacifier in your home?