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On the fence about breaking binky habit for almost 3-year old (Xposted in childhood yrs)

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Soooooo …. Just read a whole bunch of threads about older toddlers/preschoolers and binkies and now I just don’t know what to do.

 

Never planned to let DS have all-day binky access, but like many pp have said, he really really REALLY is attached to his “goo-bee” as he calls it. It’s getting harder to distract him from it and I just feel like maybe it’s time to get him off it, at least during the day.

 

I had thought about doing a “binky is for bed,” routine – keep it only in bed (he cosleeps – no crib) but I’m just on the fence about whether it’s even right to force him to give it up during the day. Right now he asks for it a lot – wants it during TV time, reading, car, grocery shopping – I can distract him during a lot of playtime and especially if we’re outside or out of our home.

 

The only people who seem to understand this are Mothering people – everyone else is “just take it away – he’ll scream for a few days ..” blah blah blah … But I do see that there is an issue of respecting his very real needs. EVERY day at 10:30 (which was his AM nap/nursing time for a long while) he finds me, wants his goo-bee and crawls into a nursing position. I would ABSOLUTELY still be nursing him if he had wanted to (he weaned at 2) – why should the binky be different?

 

BUT I am worried that it is very hard to soothe him without the binky – for a bonk on the head, a melt down, etc. I do know that it diminishes the amount of time he interacts with other people, it does reduce the frequency of his speech. He is in EI and his speech therapists are AMAZING and have always supported my desire to help his speech but also respect his needs for comfort. (He’s not on the spectrum, but I believe a little “behind.”)

 

I do know that part of me is looking for an “excuse” not to force the issue – but I also know he can’t take it to preschool with him in Sept. He is not asking for it less and frankly, he would not understand the concept of “giving it to another baby” or “leaving it for the goo-bee fairy” or something. He’s just not intellectually there yet.

 

So what to do?

post #2 of 13

Not a popular opinion here, but I don't let my kids have a pacifier past 1 year. And the reason is that I've seen what damage it does to the teeth (mine included I had a soother until I was 4-5 y/o). Now everyone is entitled to their opinion, and probably you can quote 100000 studies that say pacifiers don't cause damage in the teeth alignment, but I did my research and I preferred to be safe than sorry. My dk were still breastfeeding at the time when I took away their soothers, so I was a human pacifier for a while (well, I still am), but I'm ok with it.

Also, I don't know what impact constant pacifier use might have on speech, but I would talk to his doctor about that.

 

I don't know if you already made up your mind and are looking for reassurance; or different opinions in order to make up your mind, but anyways, here's my 2cents.gif
 

post #3 of 13

I have the opposite view. (I'll preface this by saying that my 1.5 year old son doesn't use a pacifier and was never into it, so I guess I might not be an expert.) But if he likes it and he doesn't have to go without it until September, why take it away now? A lot can change in 4 months and maybe he'll just lose interest by then more naturally. How is it hurting him to keep having his little morning sucking session?

post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 

thanks for the opinions so far - keep 'em coming! ;) 

 

I'd just add that he'd want it 24/7 if we let him. I'd estimate that about 30 percent of the time I can get it away from him by distraction, or trading for something he wants. But if he really wants it and doesn't get it - it's like full on, freakout meltdown hysteria with that "I am doing to die" panic crying. And I have no problem with those freakouts if I won't let him play with scissors - but this is ... different, kwim? 

 

I think I'm just at the point where I've thought about it too much and I can't even tell what's up and down anymore. I haven't made up my mind at all - just need some more opinions and ideas and experiences ... 

post #5 of 13

I'd say try for a time of day where its off limits, aka that nursing position routine and YOU become the pacifier be talking to him, rubbing him, soothing him.  I've always been a human paci for DD and even on some really nasty spills (2 black eyes and a fat lip - the lip being 5min ago!) just my reassurance and telling her all is well is more than enough to get by.  Granted we've done it that way from day one, but my point is eventually he will be without the paci and you will be that reassurance - so why not help with that transition?  I myself was a paci baby until someone saw me at 2 in a store with it and commented how I was too old for one - my mother ran home, threw out all of my "nupies" while I napped and then told me the dog ate them.  I was a sensitive kid and didn't take well to that.  So if it comes down to you needing to take it away, like for school, better to slowly transition rather than cold turkey.

post #6 of 13

Both of my kids LOVED their pacifiers, and would have used their ni-nis all day if we let them.  When they were about 18 months, I started restricting them, slowly but surely, until they only used them at bedtime (first it was, no pacifier in stores/library/whatever other public place-but they coudl have it in the car, then no pacifier once we stapped out of the house, then no pacifier from after dinner until bedtime, then none after nap until dinner, then none after wakeup until lunch- each phase was a couple months long and did involve some tears and protest, but not hysterics as I had other things ready to distract them).  By the time they were 2-1/2, they were down to bedtime only, (neither one of them napped by that point either - lucky us!!  So they'd hand it over when they woke up and it would get put away for the day so there was no temptation).  When they were each 3, I started trying to get them to sleep without the pacifier every once in a while, but if they got hysterical, or started sucking their fingers, they got the pacifier back (this was done in a "let's see if you can go to sleep without it" kind of way, to not make it a huge pressure deal - and I would then sneak back into their room and slide it out of their mouths while they were sleeping so it wasn't just there, but they would be able to find it if they needed in the night - we were part time cosleepers at that stage and they started the nights in their own beds).  Both of them were ready right around 3-1/2 (daughter a few months older than son)....with a just few tears, but no huge fits, no tricks or lies, no big deal about them being "big kids", no parties or fairies or packing and mailing...it was just time, like it's time for other phases to end.  And my daughter is not what one would call an easygoing kid...gentle, incremental, but persistent was the way we got it done.  

 

Oh, and when we were going to add a new restriction phase on, I would prep them for a day or so that it was coming and didn't just spring it on them.

Good luck!

post #7 of 13
My DD threw her binky away at 12 months and never accepted it back so I'm no expert but I thought I'd chime in. At this point it sounds like the frequent paci use IS holding him back a bit (amount of time interacting/speaking) and that apart from any potential teeth alignment would spur me into action. I really like the way The4ofus described the gentle, progressive way she essentially weaned her kids off the paci. Really if you were nursing still and had thoughts of cutting down, it would be a very child-respectful way to go. I don't see why the same compassionate approach wouldn't be appropriate to the binky. It's close to the way I essentially nightweaned: no pressure, let's see if you can get by without it but if you really need it,, we will try again. Hth
post #8 of 13

I agree with skycheattraffic - I think having a binky in the mouth really really stunts growth and development of language, communication, even observation. When kids have binkies in their mouths they tend to "zone out" and so they dont really pay much attention as they would if they didnt have it. I know you dont want to go cold turkey, but if he wont understand cold turkey then he wont understand gradually restricting it some times and not others. To me that would be more cruel, since toddlers dont have good knowledge of time and certainly cant read a clock. He wont know when it's 10am-5pm if that's when you dont give it to him, etc. And if he's a bit behind it may be even more confusing and scary to "not know" when he gets it and when he doesnt. I think cold turkey would be more humane.
 

post #9 of 13
I think I'd try to work on gently weaning him off the binky but I'd be gradual and work on it slowly. Maybe when he asks for it, you could set a timer? Or would he freak out every time the timer went off and it was time to give it up? I guess I can see (as a PP suggested) how cold turkey would in some ways be easier, because he only has to go through the disappointment once, as well. It probably depends on how he is.

When I night weaned from the breast at 2, I decided to go cold turkey, but if it was too upsetting I'd try and give up and try again in a couple of months. As it turned out, it was really easy and she was fine with it. Have you tried taking it away? I thought night weaning would be horrible, but it turned out to go without any real fuss. I wonder if it would be easier than you think.

And then if it is horrible, I don't think there's anything wrong with giving in and trying something else. Maybe limit it more and more until he doesn't have it much anyway. Also, you could offer him more of other kinds of comfort to make up for that lost comfort. Does he have any other comfort items, like a special stuffed animal? You could redirect him to a different comfort item too.

Good luck and keep us posted! I know this kind of thing can be very difficult, and I think it's really wonderful that you're concerned about his comfort as much as with the problems a pacifier can cause when used long-term.
post #10 of 13
My DD never took to a paci, but my friend with twins did. Her kids always had their binkies, and she decided with her hubby that it was time to say bye bye to them. She got all of the binkies and cut the tips off during dinner. When the twins asked for them at bedtime, she said sure and gave them the altered binkies. The kids said that they were broken and threw them away. They went through all the binkies, declaring them all broken, and throwing them out. After dad read them their bedtime story, they asked for their binkies again, mom reminded them that they were broken but they wanted to see them. So hop outta bed, look at them in the trash, "broken!", back to bed. Dad sang them to sleep in about 45 minutes.

There was a week of progressivly less and less requests, the first three days being the most challenging. But happily they saw a huge change in their kids in just one weeks time...I will quote from my friends blog on this, "What I find most amazing about saying bye bye to the binkies is the change that has overcome Gracie and Luke. They were chatty before, but I couldn't understand most of it around the binkies. They played before, but were calmer and more likely to sit than play in the house. Now they are talking all the time and running around our living room like crazy. They hop, skip, jump, play hide and seek. They smile and laugh and sing and read books to us and make monster sounds. They seem to have more energy and more joy. Were the binkies really holding them back? Were they keeping Gracie and Luke from talking and singing and becoming? It frightens me to think so, to think that because we waited so long to boot the binkies that they might have some way hindered Gracie and Luke from becoming who they were meant to be. At this point, Daddy and I are blissfully happy to say, "Bye bye binkies! You were helpful while we needed you, but we are glad to see you go."

I included that bit to give you something positive to focus on as you decide how best to ween you son off his binkie. I like the idea of both the gentle child friendly stepping away from the binkie and the child empowering let them decide to throw them out methods. You know yourself and your kid the best, so I know that you will decide the best way for yoir son. You just seem caught up in the negative idea of taking something that your son clearly loves away so I wanted to tell my friends experience of how rapid and radical the amazing growth her kids experienced when the got rid of the binkies...the change she described happened in only one week. It was an amazing gift she gave her kids...the chance to blossom.
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thank you all so much for your kind and thoughtful replies - sorry it took me so long to respond - just been overwhelmed with work and life! 

 

So, Binky D-day is SUNDAY. *gasp* 

 

For all the many reasons you've all mentioned we are going to do it, but gently. 

 

My plan is this: Binky is only for bed. (I'll night wean off the binky later. I just can't fathom doing both.) 

 

I've made a little book with pictures of him with _ and without _ his binky and it's about how he used to have his binky all the time but now it's just for bed. Sunday AM we'll read it and the binky will go in a special binky box. He will not be happy about this as he usually has it for the first hour or so while we wake up, get breakfast, get his sister ready for school, watch a little tv, etc. 

 

 But I'll tell him "If you want binky, we stay in bed." He'll probably stay but after a while I'll say "Want some breakfast?" Binky stays in bed. The first day (or two) I'll let him retreat with me to the bed for some binky time (after trying to distract him, delay him, etc.) But if he wants to do any of the things he loves to do - park, play with his sister, ride his tricycle, etc - Binky stays in bed. My hope is that after a while, he'll want to go do all those things more than have binky and feel OK about leaving it there b/c he knows it's there when he needs it and then eventually he won't need it so much. 

 

Anyway - it's going to be rough, I know. I can't imagine a car ride, he always has it when he's on my back in the Ergo in the supermarket, during that witching hour when I'm making dinner, etc, etc etc. *sigh*

 

But the time has come. The binky has to go.  

post #12 of 13

Good luck!    And don't be too hard on yourself, or him, if it's still too much to take in one fell swoop.  If "Binky stays in bed" is just too much, "Binky stays at home" for the first few weeks could be a slightly more graduated transition. 

 

Will be thinking about you!!

post #13 of 13

Throwing in my 2cents late, but might be of interest to OP.

 

I never indented to let my DS have a paci, but he was given one in the hospital and it helped sooth him. I mostly limited it to the crib or in the car. The first time he caught a cold around 12months, it was awful, cause he wanted his paci to feel better, however due to the cold he could not breathe with it in his mouth. During the sickness he had to go to sleep without it. I can tell you it was a tough week. Once he was better, he went back to the paci. I wanted to ween him by 24mon, however it was heart-breaking think of taking it away from him. It turned out he caught another cold around 22mon, same story he couldn't breathe with his paci, so I hid it. It was a rough several nights, however when he got better - I just never gave it back to him. He never asked for it again.

 

So good luck, I am not for or against paci's - I can see both sides. However be aware of the idea of not being able to use it if your LO gets sick.

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