I've been holding off on this post, sort of like when I hung on to the breast pump for a few weeks after finishing breastfeeding, 'just to be sure'. But I'm happy to finally write it, we are officially paci-free!

I was against pacifers from the beginning, mostly just because I didn't want to deal with eventually getting rid of them, and I also didn't want my kids to be the three year old at the park with a paci in their mouth.

As with many things about being a parent, things didn't go quite how I planned. It was clear that William needed a pacifier and pretty much from the beginning, it instantly calmed him. While it was definitely William who was addicted at the beginning, George wasn't far behind. So while I tried to avoid giving it to them too often in the beginning, it definitely helped me stay sane by keeping them calm, and before I knew it, they were having it a lot.

The paci took up their whole face! (3 weeks old)
At various points I restricted when and for how long I would let them have their pacis, and at 6 months, based on the pediatrician's recommendation (saying that getting rid of it before 6 months may be easier), I gave it a try, as documented here. The outcome was that I survived about five days, but it was tough and it wasn't worth it. I don't think they were ready. What it did do, was reeled it in a bit on how often they were having it. We started only giving it when they were really upset (and not just fussing), and still at naps and bedtime.

Same paci at 1 year old
This continued for months but within the last 2-3 months, they were really only having it at naps and bedtime (and occasionally in the locker room at swim lessons while they were getting dressed). They were doing really well without them during the day, but clearly they needed it for sleep.

So on the day after their 14th month birthday, we decided to 'trim' them, based on the pediatrician's recommendation. Supposedly you cut off the very tip, then a week later, a little bit more, until it's just a nub. Well, if you puncture it at all, it loses the feel they know and love, so we just went with that and trimmed a decent amount. They were confused, and eventually not happy when they realized all of them were the same way (we trimmed 3 and put the others away).

I'll list out the play-by-play, but all in all, it really wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. The biggest challenge was for George, learning how to fall asleep without the paci. William gets tired and lays down and goes to sleep; George would play and play, until he eventually would fuss and sometimes would go into getting really upset. We gave him books, things to chew on, even his favorite shoe to take to bed with him. It took about 10 days for him to settle into the new routine and be able to go to sleep without fussing.

Day 1 (Sat, June 21) - snipped paci before morning nap
Offered it to the boys and they tried them, looked at them funny, threw them down
am nap:
Didn't want paci in crib, W cried for 40 minutes, went to sleep. G was playing/reading. Once W fell asleep, G started fussing and crying, eventually went to sleep, both with (trimmed) pacis in. Ended up sleeping about an hour, but took at least an hour to go down.
pm nap:
Similar to the morning, didn't want pacis, threw them out of the crib, but were playing (in bed just before 2, still up playing at 3). W fell asleep, with paci in, G then started fussing, eventually fell asleep for an hour, W probably slept for almost 1.5 hours.
No real crying, but active and playing (no pacis in crib). After about 30-40 mins, started fussing, Dave gave them trimmed pacis, W went to sleep with paci in, but it was out when I checked on them later. G was still reading when W fell asleep, started fussy, was standing and crying when I went in, gave him trimmed paci, fell asleep. Checked later, no paci in.

Day 2:
am nap: 
Fussed a little, but mostly just played, chatted, were in crib for almost 2 hours, but did not sleep.
pm nap:
W drifted off in stroller but luckily didn't affect afternoon nap. Put in bed a little before 2, offered pacis, played/fussed a little for maybe 10 mins, both were then asleep. Around 3:45, W woke up fussy, I went in to soothe, g stirred and I expected both to be up, even though I could tell they weren't ready, both went back to sleep until about 4:20.
Pretty good, W settled down, I think he was asleep for a bit, maybe 20 mins or so, when I heard him start fussing, went in and G was taking his paci, both were up again, soothed them, W back to sleep, G kept reading his book, finally was out around 8:15. Checked on them before bed, no pacis in mouths.

No paci, so a chew stick will have to do
Day 3
am nap: 
A bit fussy, W slept for prob 30 mins, until I walked in as George was fussing and saw him tossing his blankie on W's head, waking him up. Left them in the crib for another 20 mins with books, they were happy.
pm nap:
W was fine, fell right asleep with paci. G very upset for about a min, then was asleep, no paci
W woke up crying once, went in, left and he cried for a sec but went back down. Both woke up really upset at 4 -- clearly needed to sleep longer but woke each other up.
Played for a bit, W laid down and went to sleep pretty quickly. G had more trouble, whining, some crying, I had to go in several times, he wanted to read a book, etc. finally at 8:20 he fell asleep. Not a peep all night. G woke up first at 6am.

Books to help distract us
Day 4:
am nap: 
G pretty fussy, but not for long, both slept but only for 30 mins, left in crib to read and were fine.
pm nap:
W fine, G sad but quickly fell asleep. Slept for 2 hours.
<snipped paci again so it was a bit shorter, but they could still hold it in their mouth>
bedtime: W took the paci, basically fell right asleep, G was very fussy, whiny until 7:45 or 8, gave him something else to chew on. Not a peep all night, G woke up first at 6am

Finally gave in

Day 5:
am nap: 
G pretty fussy, took a long time to fall asleep, must have been 9:30 or so, but slept until 10:30. W went down pretty easily, also slept til 10:30.
pm nap: 
G whiny and sad, crying a bit, took almost an hour for him to settle down and sleep.
Went down okay after some soothing. slept through no problem.

Day 6
am nap:
Did not sleep, fussed, were in bed about an hour.
pm nap:
Took G 30 minutes to go down and slept a little over an hour, not much longer for W (Jessica was here)
Went down very easily due to lack of daytime naps, but G woke up 1x, W 2x, very upset (and at different times), needed to be soothed, all happened before I went to bed at 10. Slept through no problem.

A shoe will have to do
Day 7:
am nap:
G very fussy, took an hour to fall asleep, but then slept an hour. W didn't really have problems.
pm nap:
Both played for a long time, finally W laid down to sleep at 3:35, G never slept, woke W at 4.
G fell asleep while still drinking his bottle, W no problems. Slept through. G up first.

Day 8:
am nap:
G switched between playing and screaming in crib, after an hour, we got him out. W was able to sleep for an hour or so.
got to our outing around 11 and it looked like g was just waking up... (while in the car)
pm nap:
G screaming on and off for maybe 10 mins, then asleep, woken up 2 hours later. W also slept 2 hr/went down earlier/woke up earlier.
W no problems, G playing/on-off screaming for maybe 20-30 before falling asleep. A few sounds before we went to bed, but nothing during the night. G up first.

Day 9:
am nap: 
G protested a little, bad crying for 5 mins or less, then asleep, had to wake up for church.
pm nap: 
A little screaming from G when I left the room, checked on him a few mins later and he was playing, then quickly asleep. W woke up an hour in, woke G up. W went back to sleep but not G.
W was a bit upset, changed his diaper, okay, but then upset again. G on and off of playing, really upset. Left him for 5-10min and he finally was down but not until after . G up early (5:45)

Or maybe the hairbrush
Day 10:
cut paci so they really can't even hold it in their mouth now and that was pretty much the end of them, they want them anymore.
am nap: 
A little crying from G but mostly he just played, never went to sleep. W was a little fussy but went to sleep quick. Slept for an hour
pm nap: 
G went straight to sleep, W played for a little bit. G woke up 1.15 in screaming, couldn't be calmed, cried on and off until he woke W up.
Both fussy, had to go in multiple times, G cried for a bit, but still asleep by about 7:40. G woke up at 5:30ish.

Day 11: We turned a corner!
am - no crying, pretty much straight to sleep, slept at least an hour
pm - no crying, G played for a long time, probably 40 mins
bedtime - just a little fussing from W, but really nothing.

Day 12:
am - no crying, G fell asleep pretty fast, up by 10, took W a long time (mostly playing, probably down by 9:35, had to wake him at 10:35, not happy)
pm - no crying but took them a long time to go down, prob not until 3pm, had to wake for music at 4:15, not happy
evening - took a while to go down, but only a little fussing, mostly playing. Down prob by 7:50 or so

Day 13:
woke up late - 6:50 for W, 6:35 for G, so decided to put them in crib at almost 9, but took them out about 9:20 when they clearly weren't taking a nap (but were just playing)
got pretty tired on the way home in the car around noon, put them down right at 12:20, didn't fall asleep until 1. Dave had to go in multiple times but they ended up sleeping until 3:30 or so
bedtime - W had trouble going down, G fine, both down about 7:45, G woke up 9:30 really upset, took a good 20 mins to get him back down. woke up at 6:20.

Or a tube of lotion
Day 14: woke up about 6:20, put in crib about 9:30 for them to read and play. Put them down around 12:45 or so and they went straight to sleep, slept until 3:30, no wake ups (so only one nap). In bed and asleep by 7pm slept til 6:15am.

Day 15: Woke up at 6:15, quiet time 9:30-10 (no nap). Nap 12:20-2:20, fussed around 1:30, then back to sleep. Asleep by 7pm.

Day 16: Woke up at 6:15, no am nap, about 2 hour pm nap

Day 17: G wakes up at 6:50, W 5:45, W takes short am nap, didn't even put G down, very short pm nap since W woke G up, G very sad, but still had tough time going down at 7, finally asleep about 7:45. W straight to sleep.

Time to stop keeping track and now Day 24, it just has to do with sleep and nothing to do with the paci. The first few days were the hardest, but this time there was no turning back. It was clear that they could soothe themselves and put themselves to sleep without the paci (even if they preferred not to).

We thought for a while that they were going down to one nap. In fact, I signed them up for a MyGym class for 9:15 on Tuesdays, but for the past 5 or so days (pretty much since last Tuesday!), they've been taking two naps again.

So the biggest effect of taking the paci away was on their sleep - both positive and negative. On the negative side, it definitely took them much longer to fall asleep for a good two weeks (and there was definitely some crying). While there were times they woke up after going to bed, this was always before I went to sleep around 10 or 10:30pm. Since we took away their pacis (and I keep knocking on wood), they have not woken up in the middle of the night a single time. When they had the pacis, we would have to go in there maybe once a night three times a week to replace a paci. It was pretty painless, either Dave or I would go in, pop it in their mouth (we kept a stash of spares on the shelf) and then we'd fall right back to sleep. But that doesn't happen anymore. Now it seems like they're sleeping much more soundly, or if they are waking up at all, they didn't have the paci to fall asleep with initially so that seems to have helped.

The one- or two-nap thing is still up in the air. They're around the age that they'll probably be ready to drop a nap pretty soon and initially, I briefly regretted taking away the paci when I did as I thought it may have made them drop a nap sooner than they would have if they still had the paci. Now I don't think that's the case, but it's more on a day by day basis. If they wake up early, we'll do a morning nap, if they sleep in (which for a good 4-5 days in a row was 6:45!), then we just do quiet time in the crib with some books so mom can take a quick shower. But what I keep learning, is that nothing with sleep is ever routine, it's constantly evolving. The most important thing -- that they sleep through the night -- has stayed the same from when they first started doing it, but naps, bed time and wake-up time are constantly changing and probably will continue to. George has woken up at 5:30 the past few days and 5:20 this morning. And not just woken up where we can give him his milk and he few books, no, he's upset and wants to get out to read books with Dad. I think it's teething, we'll see.

So looooong story short, the pacis are gone for good! I finally threw away the trimmed pacis after a week or so of them not using them. I still have their travel pacis that I may bring when we fly to Florida at Christmas, in case their ears have problems, but not sure I'll risk it. More a safety blanket I guess. What's surprising is that they haven't really taken to their lovies (William curled up with his more when he was using the paci than he does now), or small stuffed animals, or really anything. As you can see, books are a hit, and George usually has some random thing he's pointed to that ends up in his crib. We'll see if they take to anything more long term.

I'm so proud of them and sooooo thankful to be done with pacis!

1 comment

  1. This is basically a whole post of Jorge's random sleep companions: shoes, brushes, books, lotion, sippy cup, Carlos, etc