Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Ok, so...I knew it would probably happen. That first day I gave him the pacifier. But at the time, all I cared about was getting him to calm down, and go to sleep - he had been screaming non-stop for over an hour, and it was 3 in the morning, and I was tired. We had been given at least five different types of pacifiers at my baby shower. I had decided that they were too easy to get addicted to, and maybe we should just steer clear of them (except at nighttime, if he wanted one...because of the whole SIDS thing...). But desperate times called for desperate measures. I glanced tentatively at my sleeping husband [okay, so I doubt he could have actually been asleep with all that noise. More like trying desperately to block out the screaming baby, while I took my turn with him], making sure he wasn't witnessing my little indiscretion. I slipped the pacifier into Sly's mouth....And it worked! Beautifully and magically, and so simply. Instantly calm baby. And then he fell asleep. And from that moment on, the pacifier was our new best friend.

He was so fussy those first few months. Tom and I told ourselves over and over that we'd made the right decision about giving him the pacifier. And Sly would get hungry, but get so worked up that he refused to take the breast. Feeding him was a perpetual challenge. Early on, we found that Mr. Pacifier was also helpful there. We could use it to calm him down just enough, and then quickly switch the rubber nipple out for...well, a real one. And he'd happily suck away.

So I don't regret the decision to introduce it in the first place. I really think it was helpful for us. But now he's six months old, and I'm starting to wonder...well, if we'll ever be able to break the habit. I've read that you should wean the baby of the paci sometime between six months and a year and a half (sources vary). Today, experimentally, I tried a few times to have Sly go about his day without putting in the pacifier for him, even when he wanted it. And it was bad! When he gets really worked up (which he does a lot), there seems to be no other way to calm him down. I'm probably giving in too easily. Maybe I should just make him go cold turkey? Put up with a couple awful days?

I think he's still a little young. I'd be okay letting him have the thing a while longer...but this is under the assumption that he will naturally become less dependent on it as he ages and learns how to better self-soothe. If longer time with it only strengthens his desire for it (and retards his ability to self-soothe)...perhaps it's better to start weaning him off it soon. I feel like information on this stuff is so biased to one side or the other, that it's impossible to get real advice. I need to know what real moms have to say.

So....anyone have experience with this at all??


  1. The only one of ours who we've had to wean from a pacifier was Abigail (at two years), and she didn't even start having one until she was 15 months (when she was weaned from the breast). It was SO much easier than we'd expected. We told her that because she was two, she was a big girl and no longer needed it. She kind of nodded in agreement and turned away to have some quiet grieving. And that was it.

    But we're struggling through sleep-training right now, so I can sympathize with night-time screaming and lack of sleep.

    Good luck!

  2. This is probably bad advice, but both my sister and I had weaned Andrew and Luke while doing sleep training. It just seemed easier to deal with all of the screaming at once. We both ended up using the Ferber method after trying other methods and because we knew they'd be crying, we went cold turkey. Luke was fine in 3 days and never looked back. (He was 8 months). I wouldn't feel pressured to wean him of his paci until you think it's time though.

  3. I have no experience with it, but good luck!

  4. Matthew self weaned from his at around 7 months when he really started teething heavily. It hurt him too much to suck on it and he chewed on it instead. I just didn't give it to him at bedtime one night and that was that. Maybe give Sly a little time and wait until he's a little older. I usually tend to think that most babies move onto the next stage when they are ready. If that doesn't happen, then I intervene with Matthew (ie putting himself to sleep in his crib. We used Ferber for that.) Good luck!

    Also, I'll bring the Ferber book to April's play date tomorrow so you can borrow it. :)