August 13, 2009

Binkie Elimination: Night One

See this?This is a Boogie binkie. In my birth plan before she was born I specified that the hospital nursery was NOT to give her a pacifier. One day after a brief stay in there she came back to my room with this in her mouth. "I know you didn't want her to have a pacifier," the nurse said cheerfully, "so you can just take it away if you still don't want her to have it." As soon as the nurse left I plucked that thing right out of the Boogie's mouth. I didn't want her to have it! If she sucked anything I wanted it to be her thumb -- thumbs never get lost, right?

Then when it was time to go home our sweet newborn who had been so sleepy and content while in the hospital screamed bloody murder when we put her in her car seat. Unable to bear the thought of our brand-new baby crying all the way home, we shoved the binkie in her mouth ... and she fell asleep. Uh-oh. Step one to pacifier addiction.

It turned out that the Boogie hated every car ride ... so I just let her have the binkie in the car. Then at home sometimes she would be so overtired and I just couldn't nurse her anymore right then ... so I let her have it every now and then at home. She had a very strong need to suck and it was either the binkie or me! I figured it would be okay until she figured out how to get her thumb. "Every now and then" got to be more and more often until after a few weeks I gave up and let her have it whenever she wanted.

After a while I realized that the one pacifier from the hospital nursery would only last so long before it wore out or got lost. We tried introducing different styles to the Boogie but she would have none of them. This particular pacifier is only available online so we finally ordered several to have as back-ups. We were pleased to discover that it came in pink as well as orange and blue. That way when the Boogie was dressed in pink from head to toe her binkie could match her outfit!

Eventually (read: many, many months later) we limited binkie time to riding in the car (which she still hated) and bed or nap time. As she got a little older we stopped giving it to her in the car. She learned that when she got up she had to leave the binkie in the crib. Once she figured out how to climb into the crib herself and I realized she was getting in there for a binkie fix, I started putting it somewhere else during the day. All in all she has done fairly with the addiction, gradually weaning herself until she only needed it to fall asleep, and learning other ways to soothe herself when she is upset.

I'm pleased to report that in 28 months we never permanently lost a single binkie. Once on a plane trip to Washington when the Boogie was about nine months old she threw her binkie down the aisle. I peered around but couldn't see it, and wasn't about to go crawling around the airplane floor. I figured I would look for it after we landed and everyone disembarked, but I wasn't going to worry about finding it since I had a couple of replacements. A few minutes later someone tapped me on the shoulder and there was the bink! So even then we didn't lose it. We had so few of them we had to keep close track of them -- it wasn't like we could run to the store to get one if we couldn't find any, since they're only available online. One would go missing from time to time and we would eventually find it buried in a toy bin or behind the crib or tucked up on a shelf. After a while they begin to wear out and have to be thrown away. Now the Boogie is down to two binkies and we are loathe to order any more.

To be perfectly honest, I am totally okay with letting her keep her pacifier. I'm all about keeping the peace, you know? But things worked out and stars aligned, etc. etc., for us to nix it this week before the two she has left completely disintegrate. We started planning a month ago to take it away this week -- I have been dreading it for a month. Every now and then over the past few weeks we have told her, "Binkies are for babies. You're a big girl. Pretty soon you won't need a binky anymore." The other day when I told her binkies were for babies she replied, "No, binkies are for me."

I researched different ways to approach it and discussed it at length with My Man. Should we tie the binkies to some balloons and let them drift away? In my mind I pictured the Boogie FREAKING OUT over that one, so no. Should we take the binkies to the store and "buy" something with them? Again, I could see her being very upset about that. Should we cut the tips off of them so she could still have them, only not be able to suck on them? Once again, I think that would have been very upsetting and also confusing. In the end I simply put them away out of sight yesterday morning and didn't mention them to her all day. She fell asleep in the car at naptime so that took care of that. At bedtime we went through our normal routine and put her to bed without mentioning the binkie. Surprisingly she never did ask for it. She did cry and call for us for a bit which was not as difficult as I thought because she was asking to sit on the couch (something she's been doing a lot lately at bedtime) instead of asking for binkie. After about an hour I decided to give her ten more minutes before getting her and rocking her to sleep, and what do you know, she was asleep about five minutes after that. (Good thing, too, because I probably would have just replaced one sleep problem with another.)

Night one down, hopefully not too many more to go! Whew!


Cove Girl said...

Congratulations! I always like watching Super Nanny and what she does, by having the child throw them away making them understand that they are a "big kid" now, but then again some of those kids are 6 and with a binki so that's way excessive. I'm sure it will only get easier.

I Was Born In 1984! said...

Wow, I didn't know it was such a pain in the rear for them. Sam is still addicted to her blanket, but Hailey hasn't really latched on to anything, nor has Jackson. The blanket is starting to show some wear, so hopefully it will just wear out completely....

Good luck with the permanent binkie removal. I hope it only gets easier!

Engrafted Lives said...

Looks like this might be easier than you imagined. Time will tell.