Bye Bye, Binky: A Memoir

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I won’t even lie to you. There is no ideal way to get rid of the binky. The ONLY peaceful way to break your child’s pacifier addiction would probably be to not give them a binky at birth. But for many of us, it’s too late for that, hence why I’m blogging about it and hence why you’re reading this, looking for guidance or, at least, assurance that it does get better.

So here’s our binky journey… it’s a long one, so sit tight.

I first introduced the pacifier to Chloe on September 14th, 2015 around 3pm. This was the moment that started it all… You see, Chloe was born only three hours prior to her first taste of the binky. I didn’t think that she could really tell the difference between a bottle nipple, a breast nipple, or a binky nipple, but she could… she made it ABUNDANTLY clear which two she preferred and which one she was opposed to.(We’ll get into my nursing fails at a later date.)

I gave the baby the binky at three hours old because I like to think of things from unique perspectives. I figured: she’s new here, she doesn’t know me, it’s bright, it’s loud, it’s a little frigid… let’s just give her something that she can use to soothe herself as she adapts to her new reality. I HAD NO INTENTIONS OF STARTING OR ENABLING AN ADDICTION. But ultimately, I did just that.

Fast forward a bit: we’ve been living our new reality for a few months. She can now pop the thing in her mouth-unassisted. She gets a little peeved because of tummy time and she just reaches her scrawny, little, infant arm out, picks it up, and pops it in her mouth. She’s pretty particular about which pacifier she likes, too. I went out and purchased all of the adorable back up pacifiers, a pink one, a purple one, a blue one, a yellow one, two bear shaped ones! Really cute ones. No, she’s zeroed in on the same green one that the hospital gave her at birth. The kid has-in three, short months-seen her fair share of binkies and she has already established a preference? Okay, whatever, if it keeps you cool, calm, and collected, Chloe, do your thing.

We reach six months, she has a couple of teeth, she eats fruits (not veggies… again, another post for another day). She’s still sucking on that same binky from six months ago. The green one from the hospital. “Attached” is now an understatement. She wears the thing on a clip. It’s imperative she is wearing the binky, because God-forbid she not have it easily accessible.

The first year of her life rolls around and I consider doing away with the binky, but we just got rid of the bottles and transitioned to a sippy cup and i don’t want to overwhelm her with changes. The switch from bottle to cup was also a difficult one and if I’m completely honest, I didn’t really have the fight in me to pitch the pacifier. As she gets older, though, I realize that it’s something that I’ll have to do, sooner, rather than later.

My mom and I both agree that we should start limiting the binky time. Chloe doesn’t really need it all day and she really needs to start finding new ways to self-soothe. So we enforce the binky at night and naptime only… it was a rough few days, but she adjusted and that worked for us for a long time.

Almost a year passes… we have only a couple of months until the child’s second birthday. It’s summer. It’s a great time! We recently moved into our new home, Chloe is adjusting to sleeping in her new room and just being in a new environment. And we lose the binky. Just like that. I turn my house upside down and inside out searching for it. It’s nowhere to be found. The fit that ensues is like something out of a horror movie. There’s screaming and screeching and thrashing around… She screams until her throat is hoarse. There is nothing I can do, though, at 11pm. So we have a rough night. She cries until 2am, then she wakes up periodically, chanting, “binky, binky, binky, binky”… It’s agonizing…for both of us. However, a brilliant thought occurs: I’m not the bad guy in this. She lost her binky, it’s missing, and we cannot find it. I don’t have to think up some elaborate way to get rid of the darn thing AND I can’t possibly feel guilty about it. It’s a win/win! For me, anyway. Chloe just has to take this L.

So I’m feeling really great about it, despite having only had three hours of sleep. I meet up with my parents at Babies R Us for some kind of event and then we’re getting lunch afterwards. I’m telling them about all of the theatrics of the previous night’s binky blues and my mom’s like, “Poor baby, but now the binky is gone!” I’m feeling successful. I’m feeling optimistic. Pap and Chloe turn the corner with a new binky and a new binky-clip and I’m feeling… “here we go again.” She gets in the car, defeated this time, I open the new binky. She’s whining for it, going through her pacifier withdrawals. I attach the clip, at this point, she’s panting eagerly like a dog for a bone. I hand it to her, she pops it in her mouth, and exhales this sigh of relief… addicted to the binky.

Summer continues, we’re on the naptime and bedtime only routine. The binky is not allowed to leave her bed… ever… I put it in the far corner of the crib so that she can’t even reach her tiny little, sneaky arms in there throughout the day and take it. Her second birthday comes and goes and I genuinely start to worry that I’m going to have a kindergartener who refuses to give up the binky… I’m starting to feel pressured by society and my peers and other moms that I should have chucked the thing a while ago. At the same time, it’s making my life easier, just being honest. And there’s literally nothing wrong with wanting bedtime to go smoothly… especially after working all day and tackling tantrums. I feel conflicted. I feel ashamed. I’m starting to feel stressed by the whole thing, truly… but there’s a God who answers prayers.

For the second time in three months, the lovely child of mine LOSES the binky in the house. I’m feeling all of the feelings that I felt the first time, as well as thankful for the second chance that I’ve been blessed with. I text my parents the (good for me) news. I console an ANGRY Chloe. I get everyone on the same page: NO MORE BINKY…

The fits that follow are borderline unbearable. I go five nights without rest. Shouts of “binky, binky, binky, binky” are heard throughout the night, I receive a few scratches for trying to console her, she hits, she jumps in her crib, she’s mad… but… I’m determined. I stand my ground. I don’t give in. I let her cry it out. I take my deep breaths. And. I. Win.

We’re now a solid four months without the binky and it’s a distant thing of the past. She never even asks for it. I never even think bout it. I now understand why people are hesitant to give their second, third, fourth, etc. child(ren) pacifiers. Getting rid of it isn’t a fight. It’s a war… that you will lose many battles in.

If your child does not take the binky, I understand your frustration in getting them to settle and soothe, but TRUST ME, when they’re two and strong and stubborn and loud and relentless, you will be so glad that the binky fight is one that you do not have to fight. And if your child is as addicted as mine was… well, good luck.

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