February 19, 2015

Toddler Transition: Taking Away the Pacifier for Sleep

Our most dreaded toddler transition came upon us last week, when it was time to say goodbye to the pacifier. I've wanted to do this for a long time now, pushing it back to be our last big change before baby. The transition to her big girl bed went smoothly, potty training went well, and now it was time to ditch the paci. I knew this would be the hardest transition for us. Just so you know, Miss A only used her paci for sleep- naps (when they happen) and at night. We stopped using it during the day shortly after eighteen months and she did well with that back then. So, sleep was easy for us, as it meant she could have her beloved soothie, and even if she didn't nap, she'd willingly go into her room because she knew she'd have some time with her paci!

...I wasn't ready to give that up. 

It so happened that the last and final pacifier we had in the house broke. It was obviously a sign...I wasn't about to go buy new ones if we were going to take it away anyway. So, fate decided for us.

The morning I saw that it was broken, I showed her and explained that she couldn't use it anymore. It was no good. I told her she could get a new toy instead. She was excited about that and seemed to understand that it was broken. So she threw it away, and I knew that was waaaay too easy. Later on that morning we went to Target and she picked out a Doc McStuffins toy, a full set of the characters from the show. She's been asking for them for awhile now, so I knew that was a good choice. At home she happily played with them and went to her room willingly for quiet time, asking for the paci, but not getting too upset about it.

Well. Bedtime rolled around and I was pretty nervous. As soon as we went to her room she asked for her pacifier. She was so upset when I reminded her we had thrown it out and said we needed to go find it in the trash can. It was so sad, I felt so terrible, and she cried and cried. I went along with the rest of our bedtime routine, reading her books, tucking her in, and sang some songs to try and calm her down. She didn't want me to leave the room for the longest time. When I finally did, I had to go back in several times because she was so upset. It was hard. I was alone, as hubby had a night shift that day, and I was this.close to throwing in the towel. Texting him was the only way I could communicate with him and he kept saying we had to do it, so I stuck it out until she finally fell asleep, an hour later. She woke up soon after, wailing for her paci, and I had to go back in to soothe her again.

I was expecting multiple wake ups that night, and she did wake up once. She cried and cried; I felt like I was sleep training all over again. Ugh. It was SO hard. Eventually she went back to sleep and woke up very early the next day. Every night since then (I believe we're on night six now), it has gotten easier, but our bedtime routine is longer than what it used to be, and she hates it when we try to leave the room. She sleeps with a teddy bear now that I encouraged her to snuggle and hug to fall asleep, her Minnie light that casts stars on the ceiling, and an assortment of toys, books, and stuffed animals that changes every night. Songs are now a part of our bedtime routine- she asks for four songs, and I'm trying to cut that down, as well as how many books we read. I can't imagine having a bedtime routine this long once her brother is born, especially on any nights I'm alone. Slowly but surely, we will try to cut it down, and hopefully this weird fear that she has when we leave will go away. Last night she fell asleep within ten minutes of me leaving, a huge victory! She's waking up earlier than she used to, 7:00am most mornings, so that is also a change. Not a welcome one, I liked sleeping in till 7:30 or 8:00!

Nap time, which is more like "quiet" time now, is also really hard. Some days she has flat out refused to go to her room. Yesterday she did, and actually fell asleep for 30 minutes, then woke up screaming bloody murder. Waaay to short of a nap, obviously, and she was not happy. Still, I'm doing my best to try to get her into her room for just a few minutes of peace, or at least, just so I can lie down for a minute.

My advice for taking away the pacifier- don't do it during any other transition. I mean, I can't imagine doing more than one big change at any time, it's too stressful for Mom and child alike. Taking things slow always seems to be the best way to do any transition. I'd also say have lots of wine...I wish I could have had a glass or two that first night!!


  1. We need to take Connor's from him but I've tried twice before and it didn't work and I gave in. I am hoping to tackle it again in the next couple of weeks.

  2. Such a good post for me right now - I totally need to do this but I keep putting it off!! Good for you girls!!!!

  3. I am DREADING this. And seriously considering letting Caleb keep his til kindergarten. Lol, just kidding. But seriously. With transitioning to the big boy bed, the impending arrival of a new baby, and the looming potty training phase, I am thinking that Caleb's paci will be the last thing I am going to worry about...You've done a great job though, Mama! Stay strong!

  4. Great post. Dreading it in this house!!! xx



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