Recently I have had the paci talk with several friends. Deciding when to take the pacifier away is a big decision! For some children it may be a minor event, but for others like my kids, it was a huge adjustment! So, I decided to call on the Paci Fairy for a little extra help! If you haven’t heard of her, then allow me to let you in on a little secret – She Is Amazing! And she is exactly what my kids needed!
For my little ones their pacies were one of my can’t-live-without necessities! It not only helped to soothe them when fussy, but it also served as a therapy tool for their eating issues. When our first son was born he could not suck or swallow. It took months of 8+ hours a day working with him. But once he finally started learning, the paci in a way gave him 24/7 practice. As our babies got a little older we found that the paci helped to quiet them down when in stressful and/or public situations, and also saved a lot of cell phones, keys, etc from becoming chew toys.
I once read an article that suggested either taking your child’s pacifier by the age of 1, or waiting until closer to 3 years of age – but not in between.
The reason being that during 1 to 3 years of age so many milestones are hit. If you take away something that comforts and calms them, then you are increasing the chances that they may regress. This made a lot of sense, and since my children had very difficult first years, I decided to wait until age 3.
For me it was important that we conquered other milestones first such as potty training, sleeping in a big-kid bed, got through any biting phases, learned other tools for self-calming when upset, and got past any chance that a thumb would become a paci substitute – because you can’t take that away!
So, around the age of 3, when we decided they (and we) were ready, we would start to talk about the Paci Fairy. We did this for a week or more leading up to the big day.
Finally, when that big day arrived (which was surrounded with weeks of NO changes in their life), we would decorate an envelope. Once finished we had our child give all their pacies one last kiss and stick them inside.
We then walked down the driveway, stuck our envelope in the mailbox and walked back inside for bath time. After their bath we headed back to the mailbox to find our envelope had been taken by the Paci Fairy, and in its place she left a new wrapped present!
None of our kids ever received anything expensive, but it was something we knew they would love. Our daughter got a Cinderella Barbie with a matching blue horse, our one son got a remote control car and our third got Hulk – his favorite super-hero.
Every time they asked or cried for their paci we asked if they wanted to give their gift back? Thankfully they always said no and the discussion was over.
Our daughter was over the paci within a few days and really only asked for it a couple of times. But one of our boys, however, cried so hard the first night that he vomited (thanks reflux), but after that he was fine as well.
Like my wise pediatrician once told me “they won’t go off to college with it.” And I’m sure he is right! Even if I didn’t try to break the habit, I’m sure at some age prior to 18 they would have given it up.
Each child is so different. Some like their pacies, others LOVE them, and others could not care any less. So only you as the parent/guardian will know when the time is right to end the paci phase.
But whenever you do decide your little, or big, sweet pea is ready for a minor or major adjustment, consider calling my friend – the Paci Fairy.
Here is our third, Cohen, decorating his letter, walking it out to the mailbox, and opening his gift after bath time 🙂