I remember a day, ironically it was the day of my daughter’s baby shower, that I saw a five year old boy with a pacifier in his mouth. I was horrified. Now, at that time I had only been a parent for a matter of weeks so I didn’t yet understand all the complexities of parenting. I will admit that at that moment I looked at that boy’s parents with judgement in my eyes. I had no idea.
Fast forward a bit. My daughter didn’t take to a soother right off the bat but eventually it became a useful tool. When I say this you have to understand that, as a baby, she had terrible reflux and soothers can be quite useful for little ones with this condition. At any rate, we never saw the soother as a bad thing. She didn’t need it in her mouth at all times and it wasn’t really a hinderance. Until, that is, daycare. Now it wasn’t the fact that we started going to daycare that started the downhill soother spiral. It was, to be blunt, her care provider’s fault. This woman was so hell bent on taking our daughter’s soother away that it was almost like an obsession. And the more the care provider dug her heels in the more reliant our little one became on it. It was a ridiculous battle with no winner.
So, we watched as her need for that little plastic plug grew stronger and stronger. It DID become a problem. There were months that I don’t think I took a single picture of her without that thing in her mouth. We knew we needed to do something. So we did. We made a “bed time only” soother rule. We were met with resistance of course but it didn’t take too long for he new rule to become the norm. The soother stayed in the bedroom and was only allowed to come out and nap or bedtime.
We went on this way for quite some time. It was a solution that seemed fair and manageable for the short term. But at some point we knew the suckie would have to be banished. We really didn’t know what the best approach to take was. And then one day I saw a friends post about the “Suckie Fairy” and I knew this was the solution for us.
We spend a lot of time in our home talking about helping others, and specifically, helping kids who are less fortunate. So this was our way in. One night I mentioned the Suckie Fairy to our daughter. She was intrigued. I mean a fairy, of course she was! I explained to her that there were babies that didn’t have suckies so when you get a little older you put your suckies in a bag and hang them in a tree. Then the suckie fairy comes and collects them to give to the babies that need them. She started to get excited. “Will the fairy leave me a present?” she asked eagerly. Well sure that made sense. She had heard about the tooth fairy. I assured her that yes the Suckie Fairy would leave her some treats.
We agreed that we would get ready for the Suckie Fairy to come the following evening. The next day I went to the dollar store and picked up a pretty little pink bag with a drawstring. Then I found a few little treats – stickers, hair accessories, a couple of Kinder Eggs, etc. That night at bed time we gathered all the suckies and put them in the bag. We went outside and daddy helped her hang the pretty bag in the tree. She was very excited and very proud of herself. Once she was asleep I went out and replaced the suckies with the fairy treats for her to find in the morning.
So how did it work? I’m pleased to tell you it all worked out amazingly well. The first night she went to sleep without even asking for the suckie. The next couple of nights she instinctively went to the suckie drawer to get one at bed time and whined a wee bit about not having one but it really was not a big deal at all. By the fourth or fifth night it wasn’t even mentioned. Success!! By the way this works equally as well if you have an older “baby” that is reluctant to give up the bottle!
Did your little one use a soother? Did they give it up themselves or did you have to help when it was time to give it up?