Friday, June 25, 2010

Bye-Bye Pacifier

My husband came up with the plan. It was a slow weaning process, meant to be carried out over several weeks if necessary. I thought it sounded like a great plan. Three basic steps:
  1. Keep the pacifier (aka "fire" as my husband nicknamed it) out of sight during the day, except during naptime. I didn't think there would be any difficulty with this one. Most of the time Ella really doesn't want her pacifier during the day anyway unless she is tired or happens to see it sitting out.
  2. Don't give the pacifier to Ella when she goes to sleep at night. She almost always falls asleep very easily at night (we just lay her down with her monkey, blanket, and pacifier, play her lullaby music and walk out of the room - she's usually asleep in five minutes).
  3. Don't give her the pacifier at naptime. This is step I was absolutely dreading. Ella usually falls asleep fairly easily at naptime (although lately she's been fighting it more), but it seems like she really relies on her pacifier to fall asleep at naptime.
At the beginning of the week, I started with step one. I made sure Ella didn't see the pacifier at all during the day, unless she was going down for a nap. This step was easy. She never asked for her pacifier, and never fussed about it. This is pretty much what I expected from her.

Last night, we decided to try step two. I laid her down with her monkey and blanket, turned on her music, and walked out of the room (after a few kisses and "I Love Yous", of course). She fussed, but not terribly. It took her a little longer to fall asleep than usual, but really, it wasn't too bad at all. When I went to check on her before I went to bed, she was sleeping peacefully (without a pacifier, of course). I walked away happy, but maybe even more than happy, sad, because in the last almost 17 months I've been checking on her every night, she's always had a pacifier, either in her mouth, or next to her. My little girl is growing up!

During the day today, I decided I would try step three, just to see how she would do. I laid her down with her monkey and blanket, and she asked for her pacifier. I told her she didn't need that, and asked if she'd like a book instead. I gave her a book, turned on her music, and walked out of the room. I fully expected her fuss, cry, and whine without her pacifier. But, amazingly, she didn't! She fell asleep quickly and without hardly any fussing. So, honestly, at this point, I'm thinking it was just a fluke and she must have been really tired. Time for nap number two today. Same routine, and once again, she asked for her pacifier. I distracted her with a book, and left the room, not optimistic at all she would fall asleep for a second time without her pacifier. But she did! I was (and still am) in shock!

Now, I'm not naive enough to think that the pacifier will magically be out of our lives just like that. In fact, she had more difficulty falling asleep tonight than she did last night. But, the fact is, she did fall asleep without the pacifier, and that's a great step. I still can't believe she's already old enough to be getting rid of the pacifier . . . when did she grow up?

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