Binky. Pacifier. Dummy. Fussifier. Pappy. No matter what you called it, if you have children they likely used one. When I got pregnant my husband and I had everything planned out. I wanted to do a natural, medication free birth and we weren’t going to use binkys. None of that happened. After 12 hours of intense at-home labor I went to the hospital and asked for all the medicine. The epidural is serious a gift from the gods. Good thing too since after 34 hours I had to have a c-section. Then, when our son was born he was tongue tied so we had that clipped. The nurses suggested a binky to help with getting used to his “new” tongue. Clearly parenting was starting out just as we had hoped!
Our son had his binky all the time when he was an infant. But the older he got we changed the rules and only allowed him to have it in the car and during sleeping times. We always tried to remove it during stress-free situations. Around 8 months old we removed his car binky and he was only allowed to have the binky during nap and bed time. Our son was lucky and never really had an issue with teething, at least not until all four of his canine teeth were coming in at the exact same time. His gums were so swollen it looked painful. Add in the random outbursts of crying and my heart hurt for him. We caved and let him have the binky if it was obvious they were bothering him.
There have been a couple times throughout the first year where I thought we would go ahead and try to get rid of the binky altogether. Honestly, I think the only reason I didn’t do it is because I didn’t want to take away such a comforting aspect of his life. But last week that all changed.
Our son is just shy of 22 months now. Last Thursday he woke up with congestion, runny nose, and a cough. We did our regular routine of Advil, Zarbee’s immune booster and Zarbee’s cold “medicine.” (If you have never used Zarbee’s, I highly suggest it, along with Hyland’s) That night when we were doing our bedtime routine I noticed our son was trying to suck on his binky but kept dropping it because he couldn’t breathe due to the immense amount of congestion. So I had an epiphany. I looked at him and said “mommy and daddy don’t sleep with a binky. Do you want to be a big boy and be like mommy and daddy?” He looked at me, smiled, then handed over his binky. That night we put him to bed without any crying. I went to bed thinking this must be a dream. There’s no way it’s going to be that easy.
I was right.
Fast forward to nap time the next day. Complete meltdown and trying to climb out of his crib, which he had never tried before. I went in and rocked him for a while which helped calm him down but when I put him back in his crib he proceeded to cry for almost an hour until he finally fell asleep. He only slept for about 30 minutes which was upsetting because he usually naps for two to three hours. I knew it had to be because of the lack of binky. But, nap number one was done. I could do this. We would make it. Bedtime came that night and it was much harder than the night before. Luckily my husband was there for the assist. Or so I thought. Our son had only been crying for about two minutes when my husband looked at me and said, “maybe he isn’t ready to get rid of his binky yet.” Way to stick with it, honey! I explained to him that this is going to happen no matter when we do it, so we might as well do it now. As he gets older his attachment is only going to grow and it will be that much harder. My husband is a big softy when it comes to our son. Imagine if we had a daughter! It is probably because he isn’t around him all day to deal with the ups and downs so he feels bad having to be the enforcer at night.
Day two came. It was Saturday so both my husband and I were home to handle what lied ahead. Nap time went slightly worse than the day before. The escape artist successfully got out of his crib. I watched the whole ordeal on the monitor and was honestly impressed. Those little gym classes are paying off! He held onto the end of the crib, swung one leg over, then the other, then lowered himself down slowly. I walked around the corner to his room and he looked at me and laughed. So pleased with himself! We waited about 15 minutes and tried again. This time he didn’t attempt to climb out and only cried for about 25 minutes before falling asleep for about 45min. Time was getting shorter! Bedtime came and he only cried for about 10min then he was out. This is starting to look up!
Sunday came and nap time actually went the best yet. He never tried to climb out of his crib and he only cried hard for about five minutes. Then he did his whole ‘I’m going to fake-cry and see if someone comes’. After doing that for about ten minutes he passed out and slept for almost two hours!! Win! Bedtime came tonight and he did not want to go to bed. He fought it tooth and nail but once my husband put him down he didn’t cry for more than a couple minutes. He didn’t fall asleep but at least he wasn’t crying. After about twenty minutes he was out. At this point I would say we’re binky free! Finally! My goal was to have him sans binky before the age of two and even though we’re teetering right on that line, I succeeded. The real test will be when he goes to my parents house this week. Send positive vibes to them! I might need to install cameras to make sure they don’t give-in and reverse all our hard work. Kidding. Kind of.
In all seriousness though, I thought this process was going to be so much harder. I figured we were going to have many sleepless nights with him waking up and crying in the middle of the night because he couldn’t find one of his three binky’s that were always in his crib. I’m so happy that didn’t happen. Yes, listening to him cry himself to sleep was rough. But we had already done that with sleep training when he was younger so we knew it worked. We just had to be strong and stick it out. I think that stuff is harder on us parents than it is the kids anyways. They will never remember it but we will. I mean do you remember your parents letting you cry when you were one? I didn’t think so. My advice is to stick with it and don’t let your partner cave! You have to be on the same page or it won’t work. The end result is worth it. It even has benefits for their dental health. All kids are different, and with our son I knew that he was going to show some resistance. He woke up the first morning looking for his binky and I just ignored him and went on with getting his clothes out and such. He gave up eventually and never tried to look for them again. We never talk about the binky or even mention it in passing which I think has helped tremendously. And just remember if it doesn’t work the first time you try, did you ever have a friend in middle school that still used a binky? If it doesn’t work on try one, try again after another week or two and maybe take a different approach. Maybe a friend just had a baby and you can tell your child you are gifting the binky’s to the new baby. Or maybe bury them in the front yard and “plant” lollipops the next morning to make it seem like the binky’s grew into a yummy treat overnight. Whatever you do, take it in stride and don’t stress. Everything will happen in time!