One mother’s personal opinion…
Ah, pacifier weaning. I don’t know who gets more stressed over this situation – the mother or the child.
On the one hand, we want our children to be strong and independent, on the other, we loathe to cause them upset.
Removing something as precious as a dummy from a two-year-old is fraught with emotions. Guilt is the biggest one as it goes both ways. We feel guilty letting them keep the pacifier because it might cause some harm and we feel guilty removing something that is obviously comforting.
I have had three children and three very different experiences with pacifier weaning. My first child was breastfed on demand for just on a year, so I suppose in some ways I was the dummy. She didn’t show much interest in the pacifier after a couple of months, so I just threw it out, and that was that.
My second child was a boy who discovered that his three middle fingers were just as good as any old dummy, so weaning from the pacifier in his case was a snip. I merely removed the pacifier from sight when he was about three months old, and he was as happy as Larry with a fluffy blanket and his nifty digits. They were always on hand (excuse the pun), never got lost and never needed replacing.
After these two, I thought I had this weaning from pacifier business down pat. Then my third and last child arrived and completely upset the apple cart. She didn’t like her dummy, she loved it. When I put her on solids, I used the dummy between mouthfuls to stop her from screaming like a banshee because I couldn’t feed her fast enough. It was an essential tool at mealtimes.
I learned to have several of her favorite pacifiers in stock. Thankfully, she was not attached to a particular dummy so as soon as they got old and sticky, I would replace them with a new one. I tried to remove them altogether quite a few times, but the poor little thing was so miserable that I did not have the heart to continue, it seemed like child abuse. It fairly broke my heart when I saw her staring wistfully at some other child with a dummy in its mouth. When I finally relented and bought another one, she would fall on it like a long lost friend and peace returned to the house.
Eventually, I decided she would give it up when she was ready and stopped trying to force the issue. I can’t say it did her any harm. She learned to speak just as early as the other two. In fact, she was my most talkative child.
By Gizelle Bichard
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