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When Do We Call It Quits On the Pacifier?

When is it time to quit?

When Cullen was just a day old, I brought him home from the hospital to a house bustling with grandparents in from out of town. Within hours of crossing our threshold, I had well meaning grandmas boiling pacifiers and trying to stick them in his mouth every time I turned around. At the time, I was annoyed and upset. I didn’t think he needed a pacifier plunged in his mouth as he left the womb. But I did know that there would likely come a time when pacifiers became a part of our soothing routine.

A few weeks later, when Cullen was a lot more alert and had a much stronger sucking reflex, we tried the pacifiers again. It wasn’t an instant love. Sometimes he spit them out, and sometimes he’d suck and be soothed. For whatever reason, we lucked out that he has never gotten too attached to good old paci.

We talked about taking it away around six months, but that was right when we moved to a new house in the ‘burbs that required a lot more driving. Our main need for the pacifier is surviving the car and the stroller, so it suddenly didn’t seem like the best time for it. We talked about it again around his first birthday, but then I think we got lazy and forgot.

I never imagined he’d be 15 months old and still using the pacifier, but here we are. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think pacifiers are evil or dangerous or any such thing. But I know that the longer he has one, the harder it’s going to be to take it away. I have friends who are currently trying to wrestle them away from three and four year olds, and that’s not a road I’d like to go down.

The good news is, Cullen isn’t overly attached to it. He mostly uses it in the car or in the stroller, and he has a few of scattered around his crib. He doesn’t require one to fall asleep, but it definitely helps him get back to sleep more easily if he wakes up too early in the morning. My biggest fear is the car rides. We drive back into the city quite a bit, and the pacifier is usually needed if we hit traffic or our car ride is particularly long.

I’m thinking we’ll try to start phasing it out soon – provide some new car ride distractions to get us over the hump. I just got him a snack tray for his stroller, and snacks always win over paci, right? Slowly but surely, we’ll see how it goes.

For the experienced mamas out there – any tips?  How and when did you quit the pacifier?

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