Breaking Bad: Pacifier Rehab

by farrah on March 4, 2013 · 5 comments

I want it to be made perfectly clear that I think pacifiers are the devil. I’m not judging you or your pacifier using tot- I am saying right from the start that for this family- THEY ARE THE DEVIL and we are on the road to recovery.

For weeks we have been talking with the twins and explaining to them how since they have a new baby boy cousin on the way- he needs pacis. So when Grandma came to visit we were going to give her the pacis to take back to the US for the baby. I’m sure you can imagine how logical this all is to two 28 month olds.

First, you might ask: Why are you pushing this? The twins are just two years old.

Well, there are several reasons- and not that I feel like I have to justify my parenting techniques (I don’t feel any of us have to) but my hope is that maybe someone out there might recognize the same scenario and possibly glean some inspiration at our method.


The main reason that we are pushing this- is that they are becoming far too much of a sleep interruption. The past few months have been rough when it comes to sleeping at night and rather than fully place the blame on a big move, new room and a new bed- the actual culprit was the elusive pacifier that they would lose in the middle of the night. They would turn on the lights, make loud cries- and practically everyone was woken up in the house over it at 2, 3, 4 am. We all know how touchy STTN is in the first place- but here, I felt like I had something tangible to blame. This thing. These ‘pacifiers’ that were actually inciting rage.

Both my husband and I agree that we had hoped breaking the paci would be like potty training our now 4-year-old. I might be the only person that has ever said this- but potty training him was the easiest thing on earth once we gave up. The reason, of course, was because he did it himself. We made attempts and I freaked out and stressed that he was going to be the only child in his teens still not allowed to attend school because he refused to use the potty around age 2 and 3. Without going into it all (as that’s a post in itself)  it wasn’t until we 100% backed off that he started doing it. During the day, at night- he just woke up one morning and was like – well, that’s it. I got this.

And so we hoped would be the case with these damn things. Sure I dislike them because they’re ugly in pictures and get filthy- but the absolute reason is the chaos a lost paci brings to our family structure. It is UNREAL how awful a road trip can be when a paci is dropped/thrown/tossed under the seat every 50 miles. We are over them. Brody was never into the paci so I am just completely at a loss over these things.

As of today, we are on Day 3. Day 1 went down like this:

  • Gave Grandma the pacis at the train station in front of the twins around 11am Saturday. We made them quit cold turkey- which in retrospect was a little harsh. At nap time the twins refused to nap. It was awful.
  • Bedtime was even more ugly. There was wailing, screaming- and all around writhing on the floor  (literally) until they both passed out. Both my husband and I were in their room with them, trying to keep them comforted, but that had no effect.
  • Around 1 am Chase woke wailing and could not be soothed for over an hour. We broke and gave him a back up pacifier. He instantly went to sleep. About 4am Linc did the same, and we gave him a paci. Later that morning we agreed that pacis were going to be ONLY allowed in their rooms. We don’t take them out for any reason- and are only for naps and bedtime. Yes, I see that this defeats our original purpose, but we gotta start somewhere.

Day 2 (Sunday):

  • Morning started well, paci rule in effect. Naps, bedtime went as planned. Hooray!

Day 3 (Today- Monday):

  • As I type this Linc is wailing at my elbow demanding his pacifier. He was used to the routine of ‘take B to school, come home and chill with his blanket and paci’. I see the this was a trigger and that this will be a very long day indeed and it is 9am. I am trying to hold him, sing, etc. and he is having none of it. NONE. It’s sunny and in the 50s here today. I am going to get them outside and just change up our routine as best I can. I honestly don’t know what else to do. (photo above is said tantrum)

Give us strength people.

How did you break the bad habit of the pacifier? What would you tell an expectant parent about pacifiers? I think I’m too jaded to be unbiased.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Danielle March 4, 2013 at 1:18 pm

Yikes! My girls never took pacifiers. They both were thumb suckers. Obviously, our four month old still is and our two year old stopped on her own somewhere before a year. A friend of mine just cut hers out, but she phased it out. Only naps and bed. Then only bed for awhile. It was tough but he did it. He still went through the same withdrawal your kids are, so there is no easy way. It’s doing it, sticking to it, and eventually and each day should get a little better. Let’s hope! For your sake. You can do it, mama!


2 farrah March 4, 2013 at 5:13 pm

I feel bad for them- poor things. But then it’s like- they’re not even remotely neglected or unloved during the day. I sit, hold, cajole, kiss, hug, etc. ALL.DAY. And still I am the enemy. I hate this.


3 gfunkified March 5, 2013 at 2:45 am

There were a few hard days. But we had had the only in bed rule for a while with each kid (except Erv, he didn’t really care)….several months at least. And then it was cold turkey, mailing them off to the newborns. If you don’t want them interrupting sleep, I think you may just have to be really strong and not give in. It’ll pass, I promise!


4 UltraBob April 8, 2013 at 2:10 am

I think you’ve long since beaten this by now, and that I’ve told you this story on facebook too, but just in case it helps someone else:

We have twin daughters. They used pacifiers, our older son used one too. Our oldest decided one day that he didn’t want the pacifier anymore and he was done with it, no muss no fuss. We decided at one point that it was time to wean the girls off of the pacifiers and started to talk to them about how they were getting to be big girls and that they don’t need the pacifier anymore. The oldest (by a minute) of the two took that right on board, said she is a big girl and doesn’t need the pacifier and was fine, except for a couple of nights of restless sleep.

The youngest wasn’t having any of it. She would wail and scream for hours at night, we tried to hold strong, but my mother-in-law slipped her the pacifier in a moment of weakness and there was no taking it back.

She continued to use it (we tried to limit it to use at bed and nap times) for the next month or so, until she actually chewed a small hole in the nub of her pacifier. When I discovered that I saw my chance. I showed her the hole, and told her that the pacifier was broken now and we needed to throw it away. I asked her if she would throw it away for me. After a few times repeating/reconfirming on her part that the pacifier was broken and needed to be thrown away, she picked it up and tossed it in the trash.

After that she woke up a few times demanding it, but calmed down immediately when we reminded her that she threw it away because it was broken. I really think that making the decision to get rid of it and getting rid of it herself was crucial. You may have had more success on the sending pacifiers to cousins gambit if you had had the boys put the pacifier in the box themselves. Of course every kid is different, but it seems to hold true for our kids, if we can convince the to accept a new reality, that is now their new reality and things immediately work better (this applied with our sons potty training as well) when possible taking physical/tangible action by themselves seems to help.


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