I am happy to report that we are two plus months into the land of no binkies! Can you believe it? For the past couple of months Chickie hasn’t used her pacifiers AT ALL- like, zero, zilch, nada- and honestly, I can’t even friggin’ believe it! I say pacifierS plural because my girl was obsessed and used 3 of them at a time: one in her mouth and one in each hand. WOOF! It was a lot.. but it is no longer! We are a binky free household and couldn’t be happier about it 🤗 How did we do it? Let’s get into it..
Now, don’t get me wrong; I’ve got nothing against pacifiers. Quite the opposite in fact. Binkies were AMAZING to us Rices for a long time. We started using them very early into Chickie’s life before we were even out of the hospital. Pacifiers gave my VERY sore boobs a little rest in those early days when Chickie wanted to be latched on 24/7. Once we were home and actively trying to get into a strict feeding schedule, binkies were a great way to calm down our screaming babe in between feeds.
Once Chickie turned one, we started limiting her binkie time a bit. At 12 months, we decided Chick would use pacifiers only when she was in her stroller, car seat and for bedtime. We decided to cut back not just because Chickie was getting more and more dependent on her binkies- needing three for bed and asking for one anytime she cried or had a meltdown- but we realized US ADULTS were getting more and more dependent on them too! When Chickie cried, instead of trying to figure out what was wrong and how we could fix it, I found myself popping a binky in her mouth instead! No bueno..
As Chickie grew older she became more aware of the world around her and her dependence on pacifiers just grew stronger. It got to the point where her ability to self-soothe after a crying episode was nonexistent without her “piti” as she called the pacis. At her 18th month appointment, I brought up my pacifier concerns with Chickie’s pediatrician. The doctor reassured me on the dependence front but warned me that too much binky use could lead to teeth/bite issues going forward. Now, I don’t know that Chickie was in any danger of messing up her bite but that worry, coupled with her (and our!) increased dependence on it made me want to call it quits with the binky.. I had a feeling the longer we waited, the more cemented her love for the paci would be; making it harder and harder to break the habit.
Our plan A for quittin’ the binky was going Cold Turkey. No weaning, no cutting back in phases just picking a date in the calendar and saying no more binky starting NOW. Plan A made me really nervous. I wasn’t convinced it was going to work so I started researching ways I could make the Cold Turkey plan a little smoother. After doing some reading we came up with the idea of replacing her binky with a new “big girl” item to sleep with, something to bring her comfort and make the transition smoother. Enter Curious George, Chickie’s favorite at the time. We took her to the store one Sunday and made a big fuss of her picking our her big girl sleeping toy. The day we put her down for the first time without her army of binkies, we gave her Curious George to cuddle with. I think it really helped the process.
The first nap without binkie was on a Sunday and came with about 20-30 minutes of crying for her “piti” before falling asleep. It was rough but once she was asleep she STAYED asleep and had her normal 2.5-3 hour nap. After that Sunday nap, much to my surprise, we never gave her a binky again. She continued to consistently ask for her “piti” for about a week. The longest she cried before bed was once for about 40 minutes but again, once she was down it didn’t affect her. After a week, it became an “only when freaking out” thing. She would still ask for it, but only after a major tantrum. At around the month mark, she stopped mentioning binkies completely, and that’s where we still are today. Hooray!
Our plan B was a more planned out, researched one. I was really scared of the impact taking away her binky would have on her sleeping pattern. Chickie is SUCH a good sleeper (knock on wood!) and I really didn’t want to mess with that. I was prepared to let her cry it out when initially falling asleep but the middle of the night wake-up without binky to help put her back to sleep TERRIFIED me. I told myself that if for two nights she had trouble sleeping, I would nix the Cold Turkey method and go for Plan B. We ended up not needing Plan B, but just in case it helps anybody out there dealing with binky stubbornness I figured I’d share.
Our Plan B was this: cut the very top of the binky (the part that goes in their mouth) a little bit every other night as pictured below. This will make the binky loose it’s suction effect gradually over each cut. The idea is once the suction effect is gone baby looses interest and gives up the binky all by himself. Since it’s gradual kiddos don’t even notice most of the time! Plan B is a much less traumatic option, it just takes a little longer to break the habit.
A Note About Planes
Since ditching the binky Chickie has been on six flights. Four out of the six were shorter flights, between 2-4 hours. Two out of the six were 8 hour flights. Out of the six flights, seven went perfectly smoothly and one went HORRIBLY, HORRIBLY WRONG. Was the bad flight because of the lack of binky? Probably not, as it was the only overnight flight out of the eight but I’ll tell you what.. MAN did I wish I had an emergency binky on hand for it!! I refused to bring one along because she was doing so well at home without it and thought that if I had it (given our dependency track record) I would use it even if it wasn’t that bad of a flight. I regret that decision so much. Traveling is about survival; it’s about doing whatever it takes to get to where you’re going. Going forward, my travel bag will always include an emergency binky and I’m giving myself permission to think that’s OK.
Since the moment we ditched the binky we started talking about Chickie as a big girl. It wasn’t an easy transition- it came with some tears (mine) and I still correct myself on the daily. Anytime Sophia would ask for a binky post quittin’ day we would answer that binkies are for babies; you’re not a baby anymore are you Chickie? We started pointing out babies on the street; see Chickie? That’s a BABY, you’re a BIG GIRL. This was partly to make her feel proud of her new grown-up status and partly because baby brother is coming this fall he will DEF be using a binky! The hope is once baby is here, it will be an easier transition if she doesn’t consider herself THE baby of the house anymore; allowing her to understand why he gets a binky and she doesn’t. Our plan is to transition her out of all things “baby” enough in advance of baby brother so that she doesn’t feel replaced- she’s the BIG GIRL , not the baby. Binkies were the first step. We’re working on diapers now.. Next on the list is the crib and then bottles. Woof! The only constant in this mommin’ gig is change, huh? Wish us luck!