>The Binky Fairy Visited Our House

>Because I know I’m not the only mother who has struggled with breaking her child of his pacifier habit, I feel I must share this great news.  I thought I had confessed before that my Alex still sleeps with a pacifier, but maybe I didn’t.  So I guess that’s another parenting confession.

Let me start from the beginning.  My first baby never took a pacifier, despite our efforts, and he took a long time to learn self-soothing.  That meant a long loud crying jags whenever he was tired.  So when Alex came along and he did take to the binky, we were thrilled.  He was a really easy baby by comparison.  Happy-go-lucky and easy to put to sleep, the binky became a signal to him that it was time to sleep, which meant easier naps in the car or on planes.

As he grew, the pacifier became more of a fixture, and I chose to not fight it.  He was still only a year old, right?  My first step in breaking the bond was to ban the pacifier from the rest of the house, limiting it’s use to bedtime only.  That wasn’t so hard at home, but sometimes the daycare workers would not realize it and I would arrive at school to find my toddler running around with a purple bink in his mouth.  At some point his teacher mentioned he didn’t seem to need it during nap, so I took it home and I never heard another word about it at school.

But home was a different story.  At night he no longer wanted just one pacifier, he wanted several.  One for his mouth, one for each hand, and maybe a couple extra to replace those that fell out of the crib overnight.  Some nights he gave us no trouble, but more often than not he would wake up unable to find a binky and cry until someone came up and scooped them up off the floor.

When we visited the dentist and mentioned that yes, we know the gap between his teeth is wider because of the binky and no, we are not going to let him use it forever…we got a friendly lecture.  The dentist talked to Alex about it and advised us that once you get past the third birthday, it becomes even more difficult to break the habit.  So we set his third birthday as a goal to be rid of the pacifier.

I got kid books about dumping the binky out of the library for him to read.  I told him stories of the “binky-fairy” who would come and take them to give to other babies.  I asked him if maybe we should give them all to a baby who didn’t have any.  He said “like Ashlynn?” (My friend’s daughter…the only baby he knows well.)  I said “Sure! Ashlynn needs them!” He still didn’t want to give them up.  I kept verbally talking about all these ideas, but not going so far as to actually take the binkies away.

Then we started hyping up his third birthday, which is two weeks away.  This kid loves birthday parties, and even sings Happy Birthday to Alex at random moments.  It started to click that he was growing up, becoming a big boy, and passing another milestone.

So last night when none of his usual five pacifiers could be found in or under his bed (they are probably still there, way back under the bed against the wall) I jumped on the opportunity.  We had been out to dinner, so I told him that maybe the binky fairy had visited his room and taken all the binkies away.  “To give to other babies?” asked Alex. “She needs to bring them back.” I shook my head.  I saw the lower lip slowly start to protrude.

Then I bribed him. “If you can sleep ALL night without your binkies, and not wake up mommy or daddy, I will get you some donuts for breakfast.”  That did it.  His eyes lit up, because we hadn’t had donuts in quite awhile.  The kid is a sugar junkie.  As I walked out I said “You’re not gonna cry for your binky tonight, are you?” To which he confidently replied, “I don’t need binkies. I need donuts!”

It helps that this was the first day in months he went without a nap, so he was exhausted and passed out immediately.  But it worked, totally and completely, with no tears!  

Are you struggling with something like this, or have you found victory? Please share!


5 responses to this post.

  1. >it's kind of a johnny depp as captain jack mustache and goatee.


  2. >Thank you so much for this story! My son just turned two and is a binky hound just like his older sister. I gave it to him because he would nurse all day long and couldn't self-soothe. I will be using this tactic in the future! Following you from Mingle Monday :0


  3. >Out of my 4 children, only one of them took the binky. He had it until he was a little over 3 years of age. Possibly closer to age 4. I thought we would NEVER get him to give that thing up. We finally just lost all of them and told him we didn't have anymore. He was fine after that! I say do what you can to get rid if the thing! LOL!


  4. >jenifer, at first I had no idea what you were talking about, but you're right!Tethered Mommy…there is hope!Joy – I tried telling him we lost them all, but he would just say "gotta get more at the store?" Saying the binky fairy took them seemed to work better…plus of course the bribery!


  5. >After a wake up call from the pediatric dentist, I knew it was time to take the binky away from my son (2 1/2 at the time). I contemplated a couple different ways to do it but in the end, Build A Bear received a visit from us and we turned it into a big event (grandparents joined us) as we made a "binky bear". My son felt like such a big boy as he said good bye to his binky and placed it in the bear he chose right before stuffing him. We had one rough night, but after that, no complaints. You can feel the binky in the bear so I guess that gave him comfort that it was still with him. 🙂


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