Replacing a pacifier - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 12-18-2011, 06:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Here are the basics. My 3.5 year old son is using a pacifier almost constantly. He has used one since he was around 1 year old. From the beginning he used it only in the house and not when we were out and about. He just naturally did this and it worked for all of us. Then about three months ago with no fuss or trouble transitioning (Daddy suggested and he said ok) he went to only using it during naps and at night. Now for the last month he uses it constantly. In the house, in the car, out of the house...the only place he will put it down is when he is going into a store with me. And no, I truly can not think of any event or experience that could have precipitated this chance.  

 

My husband is extremely considered about the permanent formation of his palate and his language development (he does have trouble forming many sounds but it got better during the time he wasn't using the pacifier). Although not quite as concerning to me (I do feel those are valid concerns though) I notice a marked change in his demeanor and temperament between when he uses it all the time and when he doesn't. When he originally switched to using it just at sleep time I noticed some major shifts including a decrease in the amount of whining he did, an increase in how engaged he was with other people, and also how much better he slept which of course I'm sure helped with the first two things. We feel all of the above are very good reasons for him to leave behind this method of comfort and transition to something else.

 

Our parenting style is to not use power over our son and to treat his needs and opinions (whether we understand them or not) as just as valid as ours. Given that, we are truly wanting to help him transition to something else that would fill the need that the pacifier currently does. Maybe something we could give him/have him do at the same time he now reaches for the pacifier. Then given a little time maybe he will be able to put the pacifier away without feeling it is a loss because he associates something else with filling that need. He absolutely has never attached to any blanket, stuffed animal or the like. And he is such a busy boy (very physical) that it can't be anything that he would have to hold in his hands. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. And please note, while I know there are other valid parenting styles that might endorse taking the pacifier away I am not interested in these methods. Thanks!

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#2 of 16 Old 12-18-2011, 12:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by healthy momma View Post

Our parenting style is to not use power over our son and to treat his needs and opinions (whether we understand them or not) as just as valid as ours.

 

While I understand wanting to treat your child with the respect you would any adult, you need to remember, children are NOT mini-adults.  Your 3yo does not yet have the ability to comprehend the consequences of prolonged pacifier use.  It is your job as a parent to do what is in the best interest of his health.  This isn't a matter of "You can color the grass with a pink crayon because you're free to use your mind as you wish" or whatever- it's about his health.

 

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My husband is extremely considered about the permanent formation of his palate and his language development (he does have trouble forming many sounds but it got better during the time he wasn't using the pacifier). 

 

 

Your husband is right about his palate becoming deformed.  Have you spoken with a doctor about his language issues?  You may want to see a speech-language pathologist for an evaluation if his language development is that delayed, as there could be another cause.  However, since it got better when he wasn't using a paci, I'm thinking that the two are related.  It's up to you.  Do you want a child who can adequately communicate his needs?  If his speech is delayed enough, it is probably quite frustrating for him.

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And please note, while I know there are other valid parenting styles that might endorse taking the pacifier away I am not interested in these methods. Thanks!

 

So- what are you asking for if you don't want to take the pacifier away?  A magical way for it to stop the deformation of his palate?  A magical way to make him forget about it?  I don't think there is any such thing.  It might help if you go back to why you started him on it in the first place- did something traumatic happen that made him need the extra soothing?  He was 1yo, so I'm guessing it was a carefully thought out plan to help him through a difficult time- I could be wrong, but if you could elaborate it'd be especially helpful.

 

 

On a related note... when I got pregnant with my DD1, I had just gotten my braces off, but was still seeing my orthodontist.  He warned me about paci use and thumb sucking- they both deform the palate.  I ended up with a DD who sucked her thumb, but she stopped before she turned 1.  

 


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#3 of 16 Old 12-18-2011, 02:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for your obviously passionate if unsolicited advice.

 

If anyone else cares to answer my actual question please feel free. Just as a reminder, this is what I am looking for.

 

"Given that, we are truly wanting to help him transition to something else that would fill the need that the pacifier currently does. Maybe something we could give him/have him do at the same time he now reaches for the pacifier. Then given a little time maybe he will be able to put the pacifier away without feeling it is a loss because he associates something else with filling that need. He absolutely has never attached to any blanket, stuffed animal or the like. And he is such a busy boy (very physical) that it can't be anything that he would have to hold in his hands. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated."

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#4 of 16 Old 12-18-2011, 03:43 PM
 
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Have you tried just limiting it's use to in the house or bedtime again? I know people who make it a "bedroom activity" so if during the day the child feels they need to use it outside of sleeping times they can go to the room with the paci for awhile & then come out but the paci has to stay in the bedroom. It's not replacing it but it might be a step in the right direction.


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#5 of 16 Old 12-18-2011, 05:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the suggestion lifeguard. It definitely would be a step in the right direction and that is basically where we were a month ago. Unfortunately, that is not really working well for any of us this time around. He will willingly leave it on his bed in the morning but within 15 - 30 minutes it is a "must have" item. Also, if I or my husband is having a hard time understanding what he is saying we simply say "I can't understand you with the pacifier in your mouth. Would you please take it out so we can understand you?" and he does. But then back in it goes. 

 

After some more thought what I probably should have stated from the beginning is this. I am having a crisis of imagination/creativity. Has anyone observed a particular activity or item that gives their child pleasure or helps their child feel comfortable? That is the type of thing I'm just coming up with a blank on but I'm sure there are things I could try to introduce that might work for him.

 

Thanks again for the responses!

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#6 of 16 Old 12-18-2011, 07:31 PM
 
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Maybe a bracelet or necklace with a special bead on it? Is he into anything? Something he can play with or fidget with when he needs to and also just wear and feel the power of protection and comfort from?

You can have him pick it out, or help to make the necklace or something.

You can have a little ritual or celebration.

"You're a kiddo now! (my 2.5 yr old DD loves to be called a kiddo...it is between baby and kid for her).

"We have a great necklace that is just for you that will be comfortable and safe and protecting"

That sort of thing?

 

I do not know. I am at a loss for s replacement too.

 


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#7 of 16 Old 12-18-2011, 08:36 PM
 
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What we used to do when ds1 woke up was have him put his paci in a little basket that fit in out cabinets. I would say, "Give your paci a kiss, you will see it later at nap/bed time" and he did. Then the paci basket went way up high in our cabinet and when he would ask for it during the day, a quick reminder of, "Oh, its not nap/bed time! When its nap/bed time, you can have your paci back." He was 2 when we started this. Going with what a pp said, I could see putting the paci into a basket then getting something out of that basket to replace it (a sturdy, kid friendly bracelet? Something small to fit into his pocket?) working. What do you think?


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#8 of 16 Old 12-18-2011, 09:49 PM
 
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it's like weaning off anything...it takes time, there are back slides and he may have meltdowns about it, but by staying w/him, voicing his emotions for him, empathizing w/him, and offering him your love and support (and not giving in) he'll make it through this stage. I like the idea of limiting it to the bedroom for a while and you could perhaps take that one step further by setting a time limit and decreasing it each day by however much you see fit. After the day time use gets whittled down it could then be limited to nap/bedtime.

Good Luck!!


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#9 of 16 Old 12-20-2011, 08:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Love the bracelet/necklace idea colsxjack. His daddy even has a special necklace so he'd probably really like that. Thanks to everyone!

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#10 of 16 Old 12-20-2011, 10:59 AM
 
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Is he getting molars?  Teeth or belly bothering him in any other way?  Diet change?  Possible food allergy?

 

My kids all get crazy about putting stuff on their mouth/in their mouth, etc.  Downright obsessive.  I even caught myself telling my SIX year old to quit putting things in her mouth...and then I realized she was getting her 6 yo molars! 

 

What I'm trying to say is maybe this has nothing to do with general anxiety, and maybe he's got some physical thing going on that needs addressed. 


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#11 of 16 Old 12-20-2011, 07:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hmm. He's not one to "complain" much about any physical aches or pains he's got going on so I'm not sure. I haven't noticed anything but I'll watch a little closer. The only thing that really gave me pause when considering your questions is that he has become much pickier about the foods he'll eat but I'm not sure how long it has been going on. I just chalked it up to kids going through phases but should consider food allergy (I have some definite sensitivities) or a slightly less than perfect diet effecting the way he is feeling. Thanks for the thought.

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#12 of 16 Old 12-20-2011, 08:42 PM
 
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Google "chewelery". This is a type of rubbery necklaces and bracelets made to chew on. Might work as a replacement, and would not be the constant pressure on the palate; more like chewing gum.


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#13 of 16 Old 12-20-2011, 08:56 PM
 
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The Out of Sync Child Has Fun has a ton of great oral activities that might meet your son's needs for oral stimulation without the concerns about dental development. They are also pretty fun.

 

What's his sensory diet like?

 

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#14 of 16 Old 12-21-2011, 04:31 AM
 
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I've heard of people poking holes in pacifiers to make it "broken" and unusable. And the child will just accept it and move on knowing that it doesn't work anymore. However, it may only work with a certain age group. And I guess in a way, its just tricking him, instead of dealing with the actual issue, but I thought I'd throw it out there in case you get desperate!

Have you tried to explain to him that it could affect his speech and such? I know he may not understand the consequences, but I just always explain things to my 2 yo even if it seems "over his head" I still try to make him understand. Most of the time when I can get him to look me in the eyes and see things from my perspective, he understands.. They are smarter than we think!

I hope that you make it through this without too many hang-ups! This too shall pass! smile.gif

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#15 of 16 Old 12-21-2011, 11:31 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by healthy momma View Post

Thank you for your obviously passionate if unsolicited advice.

 

If anyone else cares to answer my actual question please feel free. Just as a reminder, this is what I am looking for.

 

"Given that, we are truly wanting to help him transition to something else that would fill the need that the pacifier currently does. Maybe something we could give him/have him do at the same time he now reaches for the pacifier. Then given a little time maybe he will be able to put the pacifier away without feeling it is a loss because he associates something else with filling that need. He absolutely has never attached to any blanket, stuffed animal or the like. And he is such a busy boy (very physical) that it can't be anything that he would have to hold in his hands. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated."


See?  I didn't think her answer was very passionate or unsolicited.  If you already know what you want to hear, ask very, very specifically in such a way that you get only the answer you already know you want.  I would not have assumed you meant "What can we give him that will be like a pacifier but, not a pacifier" by your original question.

 

 

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#16 of 16 Old 12-21-2011, 11:46 AM
 
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I know this isn't exactly what you are looking for, but I worked really well for my DD at 3. We talked with her about how lots and lots of other babies need pacis and since she's getting so big, maybe it would be time for her to give the pacis to some other babies. She agreed almost instantly and we put the pacis into a big manila envelope and "mailed" it to all the babies of the world at the post office a few days later (I'm sure much to the confusion of some postal workers!).

 

I add this because you seem to want a middle ground-he has it sometimes but not all the time. There may not be a middle ground. For my DS1, there isn't middle ground. He can't just have it some of the time, he gets very upset. Removing it and putting it up on a high shelf would result in him climbing to try to get to it. Stopping the climbing would result in a tantrum and he would sit and sob and sob and sob until he got it. Nothing else would soothe him at that point. I'm not too concerned about it now as he's only 2. We've worked out a system that kinda sorta works most of the time. But it will be an issue that will have to be forced as he gets older with palate formation, teeth etc.

 

Also, if you give him an opportunity to look at it from a different perspective, he might latch onto the idea (no pun intended!). DD was very attached to the paci at night. But as soon as we suggested that she was getting so big and maybe she could give it away, she was done with it. Your DS could react the same way. We didn't bribe DD or encourage her in any other way, just suggested it. If she hadn't gone for it, we wouldn't have forced the issue. We would've worked something else out. Kids can be surprising, you never know what they will go for!

 

FTR, I did try the hole poking a pp suggested. I've heard a lot of good things about it in a lot of places. It just made DS1 hysterical because it wasn't right and he wanted a paci that was right.  

 

Best of luck!


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