Cold Turkey Paci Weaning - Do not try this at home!

Posted by  | Saturday, May 22, 2010  at 9:04 PM  
The only experience I have for this week's topic is weaning Will from his pacifier. My kids have never had any other blankets or stuffed animals that they are majorly attached to. They go through phases and we're always sure to limit how many "things" they require for sleep times. So nothing has stuck in that area! But, little Will sure loved his paci. This is what I wrote the week of January 19th, 2008. He was 19 months old when we took his paci away. Disclaimer: I do not recommend our method of paci weaning. See my notes at the bottom, also in red.

Jacob and I decided a while ago that we really wanted to wean Will of his pacifier before baby #2 comes along. Ever since about 10 months old - he has never used his paci outside of his crib for naps and bedtime. (Sometimes he would if we were out of the house during a "sleep time" such as traveling and such...) He knows the crib is where it stays and dutifully would throw it in the crib after waking each time. Lately, he had been waking up a lot at night and not being able to find a paci. We had developed a bad habit of going in to find it for him and I just didn't want to have to worry about having TWO waking in the middle of the night. So this definitely fueled our decision to the kick the habit now instead of later.

I knew I wanted him to be rid of it by age 2 (this June) but we had a lot of changes coming that just wouldn't allow for an easy transition off the paci. The baby coming...possibly moving...getting into a toddler bed...would all happen before or around age 2. So, at the suggestion of my friend Mary, we decided MLK weekend would be a great time to drop the paci! We actually have four days at home with him because Jacob will stay home with him this Tuesday for a regular "Dad day."

We got a good nights sleep last night and Will enjoyed his final night with his paci. We didn't really do anything to prep him because I'm not sure he would have understood. Instead, we went cold turkey with this morning's nap. He kept asking for his "bapa" (completely new word for paci that we have never heard before today...probably because he's never had to ask for it!) and searching his crib. He pretty much cried (not wailing - just whining and protesting) off and on throughout the whole nap. The only time he wasn't crying was when Copper the cat got locked in his room. He thought that was hysterical! But got mad again when I had to go and let her out.

Oh - we did try to do the whole "broken paci" thing and cut off the tip. Jacob said to Will..."There's been a terrible accident." (I thought that was kind of mean...) But seeing the "broken" paci only made him more mad. So we just took it away before his first nap without the paci.

He only cried for about 20 minutes off and on before falling asleep at his second nap around 1pm. He has woken up twice since then and cried for a few minutes but then fell back asleep. As of 3:45 he's still sleeping!

I feel like we're sleep training all over again and it kind of motivates me to maybe drop the paci sooner with #2. I definitely think Will was not this attached to his paci even 6 months ago. We're hopeful that tonight will be relatively easy and that tomorrow he'll be over it. He's always been such a GREAT sleeper that we're pretty certain he'll get over this quickly. But...It's still so pitiful to hear him crying for his paci and not knowing what to do with himself.

The next day's update:

Saturday Bedtime: He didn't even ask for his "bapa" but he did try to ask for extra hugs. He also cried for maybe 5 minutes before calming down and eventually conking out. He slept completely through the night and didn't wake up until 7:45!

Sunday Morning Nap: This one really can barely be called a nap anymore. Especially without the paci - I think he'll have a hard time falling asleep in the morning because he is not always tired enough. We are pretty much letting it be quiet time in the crib. I think because I gave him books to read, he didn't think twice about the paci. He stayed quiet in his crib for almost an hour, just reading books. He was in a great mood this morning.

Sunday Afternoon Nap: No tears! Still lots of begging for extra hugs, but no tears when I put him down. However...he is really fighting sleep and after an HOUR of talking and playing we had to go in and turn on his sound machine. The sound of the waves was all it took before he conked out. I think he doesn't have a way to soothe himself to sleep without the paci, especially for naps. He slept for a little over an hour before waking up and has been whining off an on for about 20 minutes now. He REALLY needs more sleep than just an hour nap...I don't know what we're going to do!! Oh and the waves are still going - they just aren't getting him back to sleep this time.

My current thoughts are that bedtime is going to be easy, but naps are different story. Hopefully that will improve or we'll have a grumpy boy pretty soon!

Update one week later:

This week has been rough for Will. He seems to be sleeping GREAT at night, but daytime sleep is still a battle. He did pretty good at the sitters on Wednesday, but not on Thursday. He also didn't do well for Gigi and Grandy on Friday. Both Thursday and Friday he fussed most of his 2nd nap and probably only slept for about an hour each day.

This morning he fell asleep during his first "nap" but we only let him stay in his crib for about an hour. He went down around 12:45 (with lots of pitiful protest tears) and cried for about 10 minutes before conking out. He's still asleep now and we hope he sleeps for a LONG time today to catch up.

I'm still not convinced the sleep battles are all paci related. I think sleep has been difficult for four reasons:

1. No paci is definitely part of it.

2. Teething. I thought all of his molars were in, but there is one that is still working through the gums. On top of that, his bottom eye teeth (the pointy ones - what are they called?) are just starting to show signs of appearing. He has indicated to us during meals that his teeth hurt several times recently. So I think this is probably 50% of our problem. We have tried some regular Tylenol the past day or so to see if this helps.

3. Dropping the morning nap. He's definitely in that in between time where he could sometimes use the morning sleep, but most of the time it just makes his 2nd nap poor. I think its going to take a while for his sleep schedule to even out without the actual sleep in the morning. I'm certain that we'll at least maintain the quiet time with books in the morning until the new baby is on a decent schedule. If for no other reason than my sanity!

4. Typical 19 month old rebellion. I've heard of a lot of other kids going through a phase of sleep rebellion around 18 months or so. For this reason - he is just going to have work through this and learn that nap time is going to last at least 2 hours whether he sleeps or not!

The pacifiers are still packed away and will meet the trash can once I decide that they're too gross to use for #2. :)

My thoughts more than two years later...

-Adeline NEVER took a paci as an infant. When she was about 16 (?) months old, she found one and instantly fell in love. However, I never let her take them to bed. (Completely opposite than I did with Will - Ha!) Weaning will be simple. If she doesn't see them, she doesn't ask. She's not really attached.

-If I have to wean a child from a serious paci addiction in the future - I won't use the cold turkey method. Don't recommend it. Especially not when your child is in the process of dropping the morning nap and teething. We really decided on a whim and jumped in without a plan. BAD idea.

Anyone else have any tips for weaning from these comfort items?


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I think it's different for each child/family and there isn't a "right" formula for dropping a paci! The best advice I got was to pray about it-- totally the best thing to do with ANY parenting decision! Our daughter got to keep her paci until she was almost 2 1/2 because we moved overseas right after she turned two and it was a lot... we actually lost it, and didn't want to replace it, so figured it was a good time to try to get rid of the habit. Since she was older and mature enough to reason with, she agreed to get a pet fish in place of a new "bop bop". :) Wprked like a charm!

Christina said...

I think you are right that there isn't a right way and all children are different. I agree that an older child will be more able to do the cold turkey thing. Will was way too young to understand any reasoning about the situation. I think my point was (and I probably didn't convey this well...since I simply copy/pasted from our blog) that we didn't put any preparation into it. No prayer, no real thought...just decided it needed to go and we had a good four day time period to do it.

I def. agree not doing it during big transitions (which we did - the nap! not wise.)

My niece traded hers in for a new Barbie (I think?) sometime around age 3. Literally "paid" for the Barbie with her paci at Target.

Family Oliver said...

We did cold turkey no paci and I highly recommend it. Our daughter had just turned 12 months old. She slept with up to 4-5 pacis (so she could find them in her sleep) and walked around most of the day with one in her mouth. Her eye teeth were coming in directed toward the back of her mouth because of the paci and I finally said enough.

Days 1 and 2 were okay. She did cry for up to 30 minute before going to sleep, but slept through the night each night. Day 3 was the hardest. I think she realized the paci was gone for good and was super clingy that day. By Day 4, she was a different child, happy and into everything. It was like the paci had been holding her back. She no longer had the anxiety of keeping up with it all day/night long.

Christina said...

I have often thought that had we done this cold-turkey thing about 6 months earlier at around 12 months - it would have been much better. He wasn't nearly as attached to that paci at 12 months as he was by 18 months!

I'm glad to hear others had a good experience with this method of paci weaning. Maybe the cold turkey part wasn't the hard part...but instead the timing of teething and nap dropping. Maybe I should consider rewriting my post.

Anyone have experience with little girls that suck their thumbs? I think I prefer the paci to the thumb b/c I can't exactly take away her thumb. :)

Terra Jones said...

I guess we did cold turkey... I didn't want my son to have a paci, but they gave him one in the nursery (despite my "DO NOT GIVE KEATON A PACIFIER" sign I taped on his cart...)

After a week, I was sick of looking at it and took it away, lol - worked for us, lol

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...