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Mar 1, 2010

Winning the pacifier battle

Daniel has been addicted to his pacifier from the earliest age (as early as 1-2 weeks). While it was a great solution to calm him down when he was a baby, we have tried to limit the use of the pacifier in the last 6-9 months, with various levels of success..

Overall, we are trying to teach Daniel to only use his pacifier to fall asleep, and not during the day time. This would be a good goal for now, hoping that eventually he would learn to fall asleep without help. Unfortunately so far, it felt that every time we made some progress towards this goal, something came up that sent us back (Daniel becoming more assertive in his requests, tantrum phase, dog bite accident, international travel and jetlag, a difficult transition at daycare, etc...). These episodes meant that Daniel needed his pacifier during the day to cope for the difficult situations. Every time this happened, it felt hard to start teaching the "rules" again.
We had considered going through the very harsh measure of removing all pacifiers at once without any compromise. But there never seemed to be a good time for it. I couldn't take it upon myself to potentially create an ongoing crisis for several days. I was not ready, and I was always hoping we could achieve a smooth transition. Crossing my fingers that this is what we are witnessing right now.

Recently, being in a smooth phase, we tried to be a lot more specific in our discussions about the pacifier. We have explained for a few months now that pacifiers are for babies, and Daniel isn't a baby anymore. It helped that Daniel is getting a new baby sister soon, so we have had to address the baby/big brother discussion. Also, with the recent transition at daycare, we have had to emphasize that Daniel is now becoming a big boy. That's why he had to change class, and he should go enjoy big boy activities now.

For the several weeks, nothing happened. But in the last 2 weeks, Daniel (25 months now) seems to have finally embraced the explanations about him being too big for the pacifier. All of a sudden, he started saying to himself that pacifiers are for babies, and offering his pacifier to my belly (so nice to share with his little sister already!). When getting up in the morning, he makes a point of not only leaving the pacifier in his bed (he has done this for a while now), but also explaining that he isn't a baby anymore. Even when he somehow gets access to a pacifier during the day, he seems to resist the temptation to take it on, again explaining that he is big now.

Daniel has recently started bringing a stuffed toy Elmo with him when going out. This might also help reduce the need for a pacifier: There is now another alternative for comfort. Or maybe he is just getting mature enough to be able to deal with the daily frustrations without a pacifier!

In any case, we are very excited about the development. If it could really be how Daniel is going to handle a transition away from his pacifier, it would be great. Major crisis avoided! Let's hope this trend continues, and that we don't have to go through another difficult period that could set us back.


  1. Nice job! Us, on the other hand, we're starting to lose the battle with D's thumb sucking. Some days are better than others, but she's gone back to it for now. oh well...

  2. Yes, I think with kids, we have to expect some roller coaster... I am still holding my breath on this one too. Not sure if we are completely over the pacifier thing either. Good luck!