Saturday, May 5, 2012

Bye, Bye, Paci.

So, last week we took away Nomi's paci and a sweet friend of mine asked if I could write about how it all went down, so, here you go!

Firstly, let me say that Naomi is our first paci baby. Cub sucked his thumb from one month old and stopped several months ago when his sleepy toy, Nigh-Nigh, was left at my parents' house and we realized he wouldn't suck his thumb if Nigh-Nigh wasn't around. So, as far as we know, he stopped. And Nigh-Nigh is now stashed on the top shelf of our coat closet, unbeknownst to Cub.


We realized Naomi was going to be a pacifier baby from pretty early on. She had no interest in her fingers but boy, she loved that paci. Let me go ahead and say that people have very strong opinions when it comes to the objects on which your babies choose to suck. When Cub was a thumb sucker, we got several eye rolls and glares and comments about how his teeth would be ruined and his thumb would fall off (not really that, but, you get the idea). When Nomi took a paci, people bemoaned how they would have to hunt around for pacifiers in their baby's crib in the middle of the night to get them to be quiet.

And all of the comments led me to conclude that my kids would be just fine.

So, take heart, I've had a thumb-sucker and a paci baby and look! We're all okay here.

Naomi was mostly allowed to have her paci during sleepy times and in the car. Around Christmas, before Lydia was born, we took the paci away in the car. She wasn't too happy about it at first but we simply told her the paci was at home and that was that. She was grumpy for a few days, but got over it and learned how to be quiet and content without it (the purpose for which she had it in the first place).

As for taking it away during sleepy times, the thought hit me a few weeks ago that our little Nomi was on the brink of several transitions: Taking away the paci, moving to a big girl bed, and, eventually, potty training. She's turning two next month as well, and I just had a feeling in my gut that it was time to get going and start making some of these transitions happen. So, I hunkered down to her level and our conversation went something like this:

Me: "Naomi! Did you know pacis are for babies and that big girls don't use pacis?"

Naomi: "No."

Me: "Well, it's true! Do you want to be a baby and use a paci or do you want to be a BIG GIRL and only sleep with your BLANKET?"

Naomi: "I want to be a baby."


So, I smiled, got up, took her paci, grabbed some scissors, clipped off the end of the rubber tip, and casually handed it back to her. She put it in her mouth and immediately looked up at me with the most confused look. Clipping the tip made the sucking part impossible, so that in order for it to stay in her mouth, she had to just bite down and hold it in there. Which, therefore, makes the paci LAME.

I kissed her head, put her to bed, and closed the door.

I gave her the broken paci again at nap time the next day and she stared at it as I again closed the door, sweetly saying, "Good night, big girl!"

And then the next night I just didn't give it to her. I broke up her bedtime routine a little and just kind of casually put her in bed, put some laundry away in her room, turned off her light, put Cub to bed, came back in and patted her head ... and then ran out the door and stood in the hallway, wincing and waiting for her to fuss. She didn't. She sang to herself and went to sleep. Several nights went by, actually, before she asked for her paci, which I thought was funny! It was like she suddenly realized it wasn't coming back, and we had one night of her crying when we put her to bed, saying, "PACI! PACI!" We held her and kissed her and put her back to bed, and she went to sleep. She hasn't asked for it since.

And ... that's kind of it.

In summation, I think the fact that she has a blanket she sleeps with helped in the transition. She still had something familiar to comfort her in the absence of her paci. And I think that doing transitions sooner than later is usually (not always, but usually) a good idea, because they aren't old enough to totally understand the entire concept of what is happening. She won't remember ever using her paci and that's probably a good thing. And, truly, I probably would have taken it away sooner, except that her new baby sister had a pacifier and it just didn't seem fair at the time to take hers away. Honestly, I'm not sure if it would have made much of a difference, but the addition of a new baby is a transition all its own, so I wanted to keep the changes to a minimum for a while.

We also moved her to her big girl bed last night and she did well.

So, I will end with this: You will get a lot of advice on when to do transitions with your kids. Just trust your gut. When Naomi was able to speak to me and show her will a little more (being disobedient or defiant), I knew she was a big girl and the paci needed to go. It was just a feeling I had. So, trust your gut above all else--no matter what books say, what a nursery worker says, what your neighbor says, what your family says, what your Mom's club says ... just make the move when you feel it's right. For us, that usually means the earlier the better, so they won't really remember them. And, repeat this in your head:

Transitions are always harder on Mom than they are on the kids.

They'll be fine.

Have a lovely day!


  1. Oh, the thumb-sucking comments! Some people think it's adorable, others think it's deplorable! I figured that Jonathan and I both needed braces (and I need them again!) so our kids are already doomed on the dental front. Why not allow them their self-soother of choice for a bit? Not exactly sure how we'll transition out of thumb-sucking, but it will surely be after all of these transitions we're going through!

  2. "Trust your gut." Seriously. Best. Advice. Ever. It's what we as moms need to be encouraged to do. Just trust your gut while smiling nicely at the well-meaning people. :-)

  3. Go, Nomes!!! She's scrappy. She can handle anything. Love that girl!

  4. Thanks, Katie.. very helpful. I appreciate your thoughts.