It was Saturday morning at 4 a.m. Henry was up for the umpteenth time whining for his pacifier. He kept spitting it back out because the poor baby has a cold and can't breathe while sucking on it. But then as soon as it's out, he wants it back because it's comforting. Because he was barely awake, he couldn't (or didn't want to) find the pacifier himself. So I scooped him up, took him out to the recliner with me and started rocking, with pacifier firmly in place.
Shortly after, he coughed violently and with that cough, the pacifier went flying. Again. Instead of putting it back in his mouth, I decided I was going to see what he'd do without it. He whined for just a second, but was soon back asleep. I tiptoed back to his crib, put him down, and left. He slept until 7:30 a.m. (his normal wake time for weekends).
I told my husband (who was at work) I was a magician. He agreed. I was now determined to be done with this pacifier. You see, it wasn't just that night that it was bad. Henry had been reliant on a pacifier since he came home from the hospital. And we only indulged his bad habits by getting up at least 2-3 times per night and putting it back in his mouth for him. Did we like doing that? Nope. But we liked hearing him whine less. So after months and months and months of this, I decided it was time.
I figured with B gone at work for the day, I could concentrate on being rid of this thing once and for all. He went down for his first nap around 11 with very minimal whining. And he slept for 2.5 hours, never stirring! For his afternoon nap, we repeated the process but he fought me quite a bit more this time to fall asleep. But I was resolved, so I just kept rocking and shushing and stroking his head. Eventually he fell asleep and slept on my chest for an hour (I needed a nap too, don't judge me).
After doing pretty well all day without his pacifier, I was pretty convinced Saturday night would be easy(ish) as well. I was wrong. Trying to get him to sleep wasn't easy, and then he woke up a few times in the middle of the night whining for it. Each time I brought him to the recliner with me and rocked him back to sleep. Around 5 am, he woke up yet again and was literally CRYING TEARS after I fed him. It was at this point that B wanted to give up. But damnit, I had made it all day, I wasn't giving up! He finally fell back asleep around 6 and slept until 8 when B got up with him for the day.
Sunday naps went well and pretty easily. He would whine for a minute or two and then fall asleep on us. We'd take him to his crib and he'd fall asleep for his normal length naps. And then Sunday night came and I fully expected a repeat of the night before. Instead, he had his bath, had his bottle, I read him a book, and then he fell asleep almost instantly on my chest. He woke up twice that night- once because he didn't want to be on his back anymore (again, why he didn't just roll himself over, I don't know- but as soon as I rolled him to his belly, he was back asleep before I had even moved from the crib), and once because his medicine from early that evening had worn off and the poor kid is suffering from an ear infection (I know- I'm a terrible mom for taking this from him when he had an ear infection).
He doesn't sleep much at daycare (sometimes just a half hour nap in his entire 9 hour day there), so when he gets home, he's always tired. After a minute of whining, he was quickly asleep and stayed asleep for a couple hours, even once I moved him to his crib. And then Monday night. Oh, let me tell you about Monday night. HE SLEPT ALL NIGHT. He didn't wake up once. There was no whining for the entire night. HE JUST SLEPT. I think he's done that once since he's been born. So all I kept wondering was if it was a fluke or if we had really turned a corner- which therefore meant I was a genius.
It was a bit of a fluke. But now the only times he woke up were when he was in pain. Why can't this stupid cold and ear infection leave my poor baby boy alone?!
We had been wanting to get rid of the pacifier for a long time, but kept putting it off because we didn't want to do it while he was sick or teething- but the thing is, my kid is ALWAYS sick. I'm also not one for the "cry it out" method of teaching (though if it works for you, high five!). So by doing it this way, he would still be crying it out, but he'd be with me so that I'd be able to comfort him in other ways. And surprisingly it worked. Which therefore makes me believe that maybe I have that Mother's Intuition thing!