Breaking the binky habit (X-posted) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 40 Old 08-15-2006, 03:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just took ds (3 1/4 years) to the dentist for the first time today and he did great. He let her clean his teeth and he had no cavities. However, she said he has a 4 mm "overjet" and asked if he still uses a pacifier. He does, he is very dependent on it at night to the point that he will search for it in his sleep and put it in his mouth without ever opening his eyes.

She said if we take it away now, the overjet would correct itself but by 4 years of age it will be too late, and it may even be too late now. I was in braces for years and still remember the pain and embarassment that it caused me as a teenager. I do not want ds to have to go through this.

On the other hand, he is going through a lot of emotional turmoil right now because he is very jealous of his baby sister. I know some amount of jealousy is normal but he has undergone a complete personality change. He is very irritable, whiny, clingy, and just overall sad. I know a lot of this is also age-appropriate behavior but I can attribute a lot of it to his jealousy as well.

So, I hate to cause additional emotional turmoil by taking away something he has slept with for almost 3 years. (I gave it to him initially because I used to not feel comfortable nursing while lying down, I was tired of sitting up every hour, and it was easier to just pop it in his mouth whenever he started to wake up.)

My mother said he would be better equipped to deal with braces later than dealing with the loss of his binky at such a difficult time. I remember having braces, and I am pretty sure I disagree with her. However, I obviously haven't decided yet, since I am posting this.

What would you do?

If you decided to take it away, how would you do it? The dentist suggested bringing them to her so she could give them to the binky fairy and give him a treat. I am not a big fan of things like this, similar to weaning parties, because I don't think children who are very young can understand the concept of permanence. Yes, they get a treat now, but they will never get their binky back.

Thanks for any advice!
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#2 of 40 Old 08-15-2006, 03:06 PM
 
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Could you perhaps just start to limit the binky to certain times of day, or a certain area of the house like his room? If he wants to come out he needs to leave the binky in his bed, but he can go back there and use it if he feels the need to be reassured.

My dd is 2.5 and has big binky girl. She gave it up once but got sick and the sucking helped her to get better (GI problems and coughing). I gave it back to her and she has the binky teeth now, too. But IMO she needs it. We just try to help her limit the use of it. For example she normally doesn't get it out of the house but if we leave her in the nursery she does get it just for that time to help her feel more secure.

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#3 of 40 Old 08-15-2006, 03:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for responding so quickly! He is only allowed to have it in bed anyway (naps and at night). I am pretty sure nighttime is the problem since he has it on and off for 12 hours.
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#4 of 40 Old 08-15-2006, 03:21 PM
 
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Well seeing the doctor only gave you a 50/50 chance that he won't need braces if you remove it now... do you actually find that chance WORTH putting him through this situation at the moment?

What happens if you do torture your child by taking it away now, and he still needs braces anyways..
It wouldn't have even been worth it.

Because the chances arent greater than 50% , i would just leave it.

He will most likely need braces anyways, because it likey wont retract.

Also, he still has his thumb. You take away the pacifier, and what if he turns to this thumb? that could be A LOT more damaging to his over bite and you can't take the thumb away.
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#5 of 40 Old 08-15-2006, 03:24 PM
 
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Hi Dairy Queen mama! With my ds he was really addicted to his "Nuk" as we called it, that's the brand it was. I was about 4 months preg with DS2 so he was about 4.5, we decided it was time to get him off the "Nuk" We tried everything but he was just not willing to give it up. Soooo a nice little snip off the end of it worked he threw it out and was fine after that.
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#6 of 40 Old 08-15-2006, 03:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ilovemy2ds
Hi Dairy Queen mama! With my ds he was really addicted to his "Nuk" as we called it, that's the brand it was. I was about 4 months preg with DS2 so he was about 4.5, we decided it was time to get him off the "Nuk" We tried everything but he was just not willing to give it up. Soooo a nice little snip off the end of it worked he threw it out and was fine after that.
My MIL did that to my BIL when he was a toddler. But BIL didn't throw his out... he would sleep with it on his pillow next to him, and mourned that it didn't work right anymore. Sounds like your ds was ready to give it up, but my BIL was not, and it makes me sad to think about him carrying his broken paci around wondering what happened.

aran .......... Mr. aran .......... DS1 .......... DS2
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#7 of 40 Old 08-15-2006, 04:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am happy to hear the no-cry solutions that are offered here. I just made the mistake of visiting the "mainstream board," as it is so often referred to on here (they have a "pacifier vs. thumb debate board" and I thought it would have some links to studies). It is full of "pacifier success stories!!!" that involve a lot of CIO, and all the follow-up posters congratulate the mom for being strong and doing such a great job!!!:Puke

Ilovemy2ds--Thanks for the idea about cutting the tip. Ds would probably just ask us to buy some new ones, LOL. Or, like Aran's BIL, he would probably sleep with the broken binky. At least it wouldn't damage his bite, but it would make him (and me) very sad. I agree, it sounds like your ds was ready to give it up and I'm glad that worked so well for you. At this point I am pretty sure ds is not there yet.

Jayden's mom, I have been trying to do some research since I read your post about the chances of his overjet correcting itself at this age. I did not ask the dentist for specifics on how great the chance is or anything like that. Looking back, I definitely should have. I guess I could call. But I am still not sure that would help me with the decision completely.

We talked about his teeth and his binky before his nap and he said, "I don't need my binky for my nap." I put him down and laid with him for a while, then got up to do work (I am a WAHM), then heard him on the monitor, "I want my binky!" His voice was very shaky and bordering on panic. I just am not sure I can take it away but I feel kind of like he may be mad at me in the future for causing his teeth to be like this. I can just hear him saying one day, "Mom, you should have just taken it away!"
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#8 of 40 Old 08-15-2006, 04:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by DQMama
My mother said he would be better equipped to deal with braces later than dealing with the loss of his binky at such a difficult time. I remember having braces, and I am pretty sure I disagree with her. However, I obviously haven't decided yet, since I am posting this.

What would you do?
I tend to agree with your mom. I had braces from age 14-16 (I'm 23 now, so not too long ago). They sucked when they were tightened but that was the only time I was ever in real pain from them and really, what's so embarrassing about them? I hated my crooked teeth, I loved my braces. Plus now there are the invisiline braces that are made of clear plastic and removable. Plus at the age he'd get braces he'll be better able to handle any emotional trauma (for lack of a better term) caused by any embarrassment then he is now to deal with the loss of his comfort sucking. I'd risk the crooked teeth and let him keep the binky until he's better able to handle the stress of loosing it.
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#9 of 40 Old 08-15-2006, 04:44 PM
 
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Maybe make a slow transition. If he was willing to try and give it up before his nap then keep working on it. When he wakes up in a panic give it to him but if you don't think he's too worked up about it then try reasoning with him.

Maybe place it on his pillow so he can see it and where he knows he can get it if he needs it.

Also, do some research on Elizabeth Pantley's method to help babies fall asleep without their pacifiers. She explains in her book how to take the paci (or the breast) out of their mouths before they are totally asleep and it helps them learn how to fall asleep without it.

Charlie is 27 months and needs his paci to sleep. It seems to be affecting his bite, too, and we are going to start trying some gentle methods to help wean him off. He didn't get there overnight (no pun intended) and he won't give it up overnight, either.

Best wishes and if you find something that works please let us know!
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#10 of 40 Old 08-15-2006, 04:49 PM
 
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If he's only using it at night then IMO just let him have it. One of these days he'll give it up on his own. I mean I can't see him being 10 and still having it, KWIM?

My first dd sucks her fingers still at age 5.5 and has perfect baby teeth. When the dentist did an xray we saw very, very crooked adult teeth lined up underneath. I asked if they would straighten and he said not likely. I had braces, dh had braces. Our kids probably will, too. Even the one with the currently perfect teeth.

My dd2 has an orthodontic binky and is the one with the "binky teeth." Who knows, she might have needed braces anyway. It's not worth it to me to put her through that right now. She did not breastfeed or bottlefeed (tube-fed) and her binky is her main source of oral comfort.

We missed the window of opportunity. During that time when she didn't have it she missed it. Didn't cry, but acted really sad like part of her was missing. I could never break the binky by cutting the tip off of it, but I know that if you do it at the right time it probably works.

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#11 of 40 Old 08-15-2006, 04:53 PM
 
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I clipped the tip off of DS binkies because he would steal DD when she was little so they both got weaned at the same time. But another way is you could try the Binkie Fairy (Super Nanny). She had the little girl put the binkies in a bag and tied it to the tree outside, she explained to the little girl that the Binkie Fairy would come and take the binkies to the new babies who needed them and would bring a nice present back. The next morning the little girl went outside and found the present the Binkie Fairy had left and they had no more problems. I haven't tried this but it sounds like a good idea for an older child who is able to understand.
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#12 of 40 Old 08-15-2006, 05:15 PM
 
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My ds didn't give up his paci until he was 6.5

Yes that is correct. Not a typo. For the last 3 years there were definite limits on when and where he could use it [mostly in bed, during quiet times, and for very long car rides] but other than those limits, I decided that it was his decision to make -- not mine. It was obviously a source of real comfort to him and TBH I did not feel I had the right to take it away. I mean if he was a thumb-sucker, I would have had even less control. I could find no compelling reason that was strong enough to override his legitmate use of it as a comfort. Not even straight teeth.

When he was ready to give it up, it was easy as pie. We had been talking about it on and off for years, and he was well aware that most kids give it up much, much sooner [like at 2 or 3]. When he was finally ready, he just gave it to his Dad one night and said he was done. Hasn't asked for it since.

For the last 2 years I refused to buy him any new ones. He kept using and cleaning the same 3, then, 2, then 1 as he lost them. But he didn't lose the last one -- he willingly gave it up -- with no trauma at all.

I really have no regrets doing it this way and --like I said -- can't come up with a good reason to have done it differently.
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#13 of 40 Old 08-15-2006, 05:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, this is so hard. I am so torn. On the one hand, I agree w/ you ibex67 that I feel like I don't have the right to take it away. On the other hand, I feel that as a parent, I have the responsibility to make sure he has healthy teeth and jaws. Even though braces can correct them in the future, it doesn't feel right to let him mess them up. But it also doesn't feel right to take the binky.

My feelings are also wrapped up in the guilt I feel over weaning him when I got pregnant with dd. I now wish I had let him continue to bf. At the time I felt there was a window of opportunity to wean him, and this belief was validated by the fact that it was a very easy weaning with absolutely no tears and no evidence of sadness. Now however I feel he would be less jealous and less sad if he could nurse along with his sister. Then maybe he would not need the binky and I would not have this problem nor would I have the jealousy problem
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#14 of 40 Old 08-15-2006, 05:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by DQMama
On the other hand, I feel that as a parent, I have the responsibility to make sure he has healthy teeth and jaws. Even though braces can correct them in the future, it doesn't feel right to let him mess them up. But it also doesn't feel right to take the binky.(
Hmmm ... I know I don't have a completely unbiased view here because I have a large overbite, never used a pacifier, and never had braces either [parents didn't think it was important enough to spend money on, tbh]

But I do think a couple of things:

- we live in a society right now that is unbelievably preoccupied with "pretty teeth" -- unless your teeth are snow white and stick straight -- it's like you aren't healthy -- and that's a load of BS. So, I think it may be easy to overestimate what is healthy vs what is cosmetic.

- dentists can have very conservative opinions about dental "health" -- obviously. I've known plenty of mamas who are told by their dentists that they have to night wean their babies or their teeth will rot. Mama's milk simply doesn't have the same effect on teeth that the sugars in cows' milk does. Dentists often don't have the facts right about that.

There is a huge genetic component to teeth health and strength. My dad and I have never really taken care of our teeth and they are strong and healthy with hardly any cavities. My mom on the other hand has always been fastidious and she has very weak, soft teeth, prone to problems.

Anyway, I don't mean to be dismissing the dental health aspect of it -- I know it is a legit concern -- I just try to keep it in perspective.
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#15 of 40 Old 08-15-2006, 06:39 PM
 
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I'd put the decision off for two or three months and let things settle in with the baby sister. This is just not the time to tackle this.

I will share our experience. Our son was deeply attached to his pacifers. He has sensory problems and physical disabilities and the pacifers were very helpful. He had a bad situation dentally which was partially from pacifer use but more from other reasons. We decided as hard as it was at the age of four we needed to have the pacifer not cause more damage.

What we did was to talk about it really honestly. None of the fairy trickery stuff. I agree that is disrespectful. We talked about how teeth get bent and how the pacifer was making it worse. We talked about how it would be hard but we would support and help him. We gave him the option of how he wanted to handle getting rid of the pacifers. He decided he wanted to box them up to send to Grandma's house so she could keep them and someday when he was all grown up he could look at them and remember how they helped him feel better. He gave each pacifer one more suck and a kiss goodbye and packed them up. I feel it is important to allow a respectful end like this. Saying they are going to another baby or cutting them up I don't think is cool when they are a comfort object. We knew that in order to quit they really had to be out of the house. Later on he mentioned that they were at Grandma's for safekeeping but never asked for them back.

I gave him a teether that vibrated it was shaped like a star. I told him a story about how feeling brave while looking at the stars in the sky and how I was giving this to him for courage. It was helpful to have another object.

The first night or two there were some tears and need to be held. By the third day he'd totally moved on and it wasn't a problem. All in all it was dramatically easier for all of us than we anticipated. I can't imagine having done it a year earlier though.

Our son's open bite dramatically improved pretty quickly after the pacifers were gone. He still needed braces which is something we were told before we got rid of the pacifers.
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#16 of 40 Old 08-15-2006, 06:47 PM
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I had braces and I would not wish that on any child. If you can prevent it, even if there is only a chance, I say do it. My child was also a nuk user but weaned from that easily. Weaning from the breast was not so easy but after age 2 children become easier to talk to about stuff like this and include in the decision making. At 3 and a quarter, your son is old enough to talk to about what is going on and include in the decision. I would talk to him about what is happening to his teeth as a result of the pacifier. Get a mirror and show him. Treat him with respect but tell him gently that the pacifier is hurting his teeth a bit and making them grow in not as straight as they should. Tell him that if he does not stop using it, he may have to have the dentist do some work on his teeth that will take a long time to straighten them out, cost a lot of money, and not feel good. (I have a similar discussion with my 3 year old about teeth brushing at least once a week.) Talk to him about what the pacifier does for him, why he likes it. There might be a way to find a better substitute. If you can get to why he uses it, you might be able to get him something else to use for comfort that is not going to hurt his teeth. I did something like this with a weaning party but included dd in the decision and timing and it was very respectful. It was not really a party as we did not invite anyone over but she did get to plan how she would go to sleep without nursing (the last to go) and with what and that helped her to make the transition.
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#17 of 40 Old 08-15-2006, 06:56 PM
 
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I wanted to wean DS 21 months this summer but we ended up moving so I decided to put it off until fall. And then I thought - well I'm not weaning him from breastfeeding... why should I wean him from the pacifier? It's obvious a source of comfort for him. I plan on trying to cut the tip off before the holidays to see how it goes. The idea of a week at my mil's chasing down the ever-elusive "plug" as we call it is just not sitting well with me - but if necessary we will wait it out too.

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#18 of 40 Old 08-15-2006, 07:59 PM
 
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I plan on trying to cut the tip off before the holidays to see how it goes.
I would urge you not to do this. It is a choking hazard. Also, if you think about it the binky is his comfort object. I think it is really unkind to mutilate a person's comfort object.
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#19 of 40 Old 08-15-2006, 09:48 PM
 
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Step 1: Tell him in whatever way you chose that the binky is going and give him a LONG time to digest this (i.e. binky is going in __ weeks, discuss this every day during that time leading up to the day, etc.) If you are OK with some "fantasy" in this -- use it. I.e. -- for us, we used a "nuk" man - who was coming to take his "nuks" to give to the "bitty babies" of the world who need them more than our big boy does now, etc. We discussed this frequently throughout each day leading up to the day the nuk man came . . .

Step 2: On D-day, simply remove them from the house - so neither you or your DC can get them. Go cold turkey.

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#20 of 40 Old 08-15-2006, 10:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by TripMom
Step 1: Tell him in whatever way you chose that the binky is going and give him a LONG time to digest this (i.e. binky is going in __ weeks, discuss this every day during that time leading up to the day, etc.) If you are OK with some "fantasy" in this -- use it. I.e. -- for us, we used a "nuk" man - who was coming to take his "nuks" to give to the "bitty babies" of the world who need them more than our big boy does now, etc. We discussed this frequently throughout each day leading up to the day the nuk man came . . .

Step 2: On D-day, simply remove them from the house - so neither you or your DC can get them. Go cold turkey.
I know plenty of people do this and it works out great for them. I also know that it wouldn't have worked for us. One, because I am no good at enforcing rules that I am not passionate or sure about and as I expressed earlier in the thread, I wasn't convinced that there was a good enough reason for him to have to give up a source of comfort like this. Two, I also feel like it's not quite fair. Like it infringes on my son's basic rights or autonomy. Why shouldn't he have control over his methods of self-comfort. I mean it's not like I am supporting a valium addiction?

Anyway, I know this method can work. But I also understand why some people wouldn't choose it.
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#21 of 40 Old 08-15-2006, 10:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Roar
What we did was to talk about it really honestly. None of the fairy trickery stuff. I agree that is disrespectful. We talked about how teeth get bent and how the pacifer was making it worse.

I gave him a teether that vibrated it was shaped like a star.

Our son's open bite dramatically improved pretty quickly after the pacifers were gone. He still needed braces which is something we were told before we got rid of the pacifers.
I like the idea of talking about it honestly. After thinking about it for a while, I feel this is the most respectful approach for my particular child, based on his personality.

I also love the idea of the teether--how long ago was this, and do you know the brand? He loves stars and I have never seen a teether like that.

I am happy to hear his bite improved.



I still haven't decided! Every time I read a post that says do it, I'm like, yeah, I should. But then the next post says don't, and I'm like, yeah, I shouldn't. :

Maybe we will try taking it away at night but letting him keep it for naps. That way he knows it is still there and doesn't have to be sad that it is gone. He can look forward to having it at naptime. Then after he falls asleep at naptime I can take it away. It won't matter if he wakes up looking for it because he doesn't need much nap anyway. He can just get up at that point. I doubt 10-15 minutes a day will hurt his bite. Plus he will be giving up naps soon so with that he can give up the binky. Hmm, this might work.
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#22 of 40 Old 08-15-2006, 10:43 PM
 
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We go thru this thought process on a regular basis (wether to take a away her comfort object). I had never planned to give our dc pacifiers, and dd#1 sucked her fingers untill she gave it up herself at about 6.5. I never worried about it and she totally "weaned" herself from it. DD#2 had very severe reflux and constant sucking was about her only pleasure for her first 9 months. I introduced the Nuk for my sanity at about 1 month old. She still needs it as her comfort and security measure. We have talked about confining it to her bed only, but she almost has a panic attack at the mention of it, so I don't think she is ready. She had one get a hole in it, and it was a major trama that she still talks about (it has been several months), so I don't think that would work for her. She is very shy and holds a nuk infront of her to get people to back off or if she does not want someone to talk to her, so it is very much a security devise also. DD#3 uses one occasionally - only because #2 thinks every one should have one, but I think they could dissapear and she would not care.

DH used one untill he was almost 5. His mom told him he had to give it up to go to school and talked it up all summer and about a week before school started, he gave them all up. He was also very shy (same personality as #2), and remembers how much he needed them.

So basically I am one of those "bad" parents that has a big kid walking around town with a binky in their mouth

All my girls have very non-straight teeth and an over bite, an will probably need braces, but DH did too, so it is the nuk or genetics???

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#23 of 40 Old 08-15-2006, 11:27 PM
 
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I'm not at the point of weaning ds2 from the paci yet (although I'd like to -- it just bugs me), but I had heard that poking a small hole in them (rather than cutting the entire tip) would make them less satisfying & slowly encourage the child to let it out of their mouth sooner. I'm not necessarily advocating this, just throwing the idea out there. Of course, then you'd also have to worry about the interior getting all nasty...

I seem to recall reading here on MDC somewhere that a woman's Ped. said "if the biggest problem he has in life is crooked teeth, then he's doing pretty well!"
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#24 of 40 Old 08-15-2006, 11:30 PM
 
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My MIL did that to my BIL when he was a toddler. But BIL didn't throw his out... he would sleep with it on his pillow next to him, and mourned that it didn't work right anymore. Sounds like your ds was ready to give it up, but my BIL was not, and it makes me sad to think about him carrying his broken paci around wondering what happened.
ahhhhh!!
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#25 of 40 Old 08-15-2006, 11:36 PM
 
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My MIL did that to my BIL when he was a toddler. But BIL didn't throw his out... he would sleep with it on his pillow next to him, and mourned that it didn't work right anymore. Sounds like your ds was ready to give it up, but my BIL was not, and it makes me sad to think about him carrying his broken paci around wondering what happened.


oh my gosh! that IS sooo sad.
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#26 of 40 Old 08-16-2006, 10:03 AM
 
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I'm not at the point of weaning ds2 from the paci yet (although I'd like to -- it just bugs me), but I had heard that poking a small hole in them (rather than cutting the entire tip) would make them less satisfying & slowly encourage the child to let it out of their mouth sooner. I'm not necessarily advocating this, just throwing the idea out there. Of course, then you'd also have to worry about the interior getting all nasty...
You have to know your audience there. My son would have said "we need to make a trip to Target now because my pacifier seems to be damaged". If your kid understands they sell more at the store this kind of indirect stuff isn't really going to trick them.

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I seem to recall reading here on MDC somewhere that a woman's Ped. said "if the biggest problem he has in life is crooked teeth, then he's doing pretty well!"
My son's orthodontist said "We can always fix dental problems later, mental health isn't so simple".
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#27 of 40 Old 08-16-2006, 10:05 AM
 
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http://shop.nurturecenter.com/fiyemaacte.html

The star teether we gave him was like this. I'm guessing if you check the baby section of a local store like Target or the evil Walmart you can find one there.

Best of luck to your son. This isn't an easy thing.
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#28 of 40 Old 08-16-2006, 11:45 AM
 
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I know plenty of people do this and it works out great for them. I also know that it wouldn't have worked for us. One, because I am no good at enforcing rules that I am not passionate or sure about and as I expressed earlier in the thread, I wasn't convinced that there was a good enough reason for him to have to give up a source of comfort like this. Two, I also feel like it's not quite fair. Like it infringes on my son's basic rights or autonomy. Why shouldn't he have control over his methods of self-comfort. I mean it's not like I am supporting a valium addiction?

Anyway, I know this method can work. But I also understand why some people wouldn't choose it.
Yes. I would say key to this method is that the parents have to "enforce it".

If you don't believe that there is a "good enough" reason to take the binky away - not sure why you are posting on this thread? The OP has dental reasons for wanting to take away the binky - and is looking for info on how to do this . . .

TripMom . . . . . loving mom : to DS (7) and BBG (4.5)
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#29 of 40 Old 08-16-2006, 12:29 PM
 
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nak...I was annoyed with the sucking sound dd made when I slept with her during my pregnancy with her brother. One night I told her how big she was and I asked if we could throw away her pacifier. She said yes...I knew she did not understand permanence at the time so I asked her to throw it away.

This is a personal opinion most are not going to like but I can't stand older kids with pacifers. I would rather dd walk around with a ratty old blanket or animal than a pacifier.

I would talk to ds and explain the consequences if he goes to his thumb than I doubt he will continue to keep it in his mounth the entire night therefore it should not damage his bite anymore than a pacifier.

If there are other emotional issues maybe they can be 'met' with a healthier substitute, stuffed animal, blanket, hugs from mom or dad, thumb, ect.

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#30 of 40 Old 08-16-2006, 12:52 PM
 
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First, thanks for all of the varied responses on this thread. I haven't tried to wean dd from the paci yet but she is SUCH a 'sucker' that I know it may be awhile until I can and that it will be a big deal! It's nice to know that other parents have this situation.

Second, to the OP. It's hard to be given a choice like that.

I agree that dentists will lean to the conservative side. I think if you are going to need braces, you will/won't based on more than some childhood pacifier sucking. NOT a scientific opinion, just mine! Genetics play a big role.

They are better with braces these days, so it might not be as much torture as you and I remember. I wore them for 3 years, then my retainer for 10 years because I NEVER wanted to go through that again.

My kid is only two and soon she'll have a sibling, so I am not taking the nuk away anytime soon... but when we do I assume it will be like weaning- slow and gentle, when she is ready.

Megan~ mama to Cecilia (9/1/04) Carl (11/19/06) Vivian (9/10/09) & spring 2011 baby.
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