Cupids Health

The Stages Moms Go Through When Weaning a Child Off the Pacifier

Any mom or dad who’s been through the seventh circle of hell that is weaning a child off the pacifier knows the parental lows one can hit when attempting this seemingly impossible feat. Trying to get rid of your tot’s beloved paci, binky — or, as my son called it, “pa-pa” — can really push you to some frustrating and oh-so-sleepless limits.

Even though it might seem daunting, though, eventually you — and more importantly your little one — will succeed. He will learn how to sleep and self-soothe without his prized paci. But in the meantime, buckle up, because it can be a bumpy road to get there. Here are six stages parents go through when they’re trying to wean their baby or toddler off the pacifier. Who knew a tiny piece of plastic could wield so much power?

Stage 1: “We’ve got this”

Many moms start the process off confident. Cocky, even. “We can totally do this,” you may think to yourself before tucking little Timmy into bed for that first night without his trusty paci. “I promised him the Pacifier Fairy would visit tonight and bring him a toy if he slept on his own without it. He sounded excited! This is going to be a piece of cake.”

Oh, Honey.

Stage 2: Nerves start to set in

For those parents with children who couldn’t care less about “being a big boy” or some future tangible reward such as a Mickey Mouse Roadster Racer (hi), this is where things get a little nerve-wracking. Thoughts of “What am I doing?!” and “This isn’t going well at all!” run through your mind as you trudge up to your child’s room for the 47th time.

Stage 3: Google feverishly

You’re getting desperate, tired and at your wit’s end. Your sweet-turned-sad child is still not sleeping but instead crying for the pacifier he misses terribly. It breaks your heart. “How do other parents do it?” you wonder. In between trips to your tot’s room to comfort him, you hop online, ready to pore over a couple dozen threads about giving up the pacifier. It winds up being no help, as one minute you feel great knowing that mum23boyz had just as much trouble as you seem to be having, and the next, you’re down on yourself knowing that scarlettsmommy24 had no problems at all! Why was Scarlett such an easy baby?

Stage 4: Doubt takes over

You’re growing more drained, weary and distraught by the minute. Not only do you hate making your baby or toddler this upset, but you have things to do (like sleep!). And it feels like this has been going on for an eternity. “Should I just give the pacifier back already?” you think. “Is this even worth it?” You grab the binky from the drawer where you stashed it and head upstairs towards your child’s room, determined to give up for tonight. Maybe he’s just not ready for this yet …

Stage 5: Dig your heels in and change course

Wait a minute — no! You’re standing your ground. For now, at least. You contemplate a new approach. You’ve heard — and read — stories about people poking holes in, cutting the tops off, even putting hot sauce on pacis! Should you try one of those tricks? Maybe. At this rate, you’re not opposed to anything.

Stage 6: The Sleep Fairy saves the day

What’s this? Your child has passed out in your arms out of sheer exhaustion. Aww. This is kind of nice. Who doesn’t love baby/toddler snuggles? But hold on. Will you be able to put him down without waking him? You do! Score! You are a good mom after all, and your child is on his way to kicking the pacifier habit like a pro!

That is … until naptime tomorrow when you’re doing this all over again. Godspeed, mamas!


Toddler Bedtime Battles

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