A happy 3 year old, with a slight overbite.
After seeing several of my friends struggle with their kids to get them to give up a pacifier, I vowed never to use such a thing on my children. I was so adamantly against them that while at the hospital to give birth to my first, within minutes of her birth, I proudly declared to the nurses that MY child would NOT be needing a pacifier. I even had them leave a note in her bassinet lest any of the other nurses try to pull a fast one on me. The plan was to nurse my child to happiness.
We got home from the hospital and a few weeks in of colic, nursing almost constantly, and little sleep, those pacifiers I had gotten as a present looked pretty tempting. So I secretly tried one out in the middle of the night. After hours of hearing her cry, I realized I had stumbled upon a magical ‘off’ button to the crying, how superb! From there the pacifier became an essential in our house, so much so it was strapped to my child and wherever she went, IT went.
Fast forward almost three years and the crying, screaming baby has now grown up into a fine young toddler-for the most part. The catch being that she was a pacifier addict. She had them strategically placed in our house, our cars, her backpack, and at her grandparents’ house so that she could ensure she was always within a 20 foot radius of one. Without it she would go through withdrawal, lose sleep, and engage in something akin to World War III against us. It was THAT important to her. We talked to her endlessly about giving up, while in the back of our minds realizing it was a lost cause. I would just tell myself, ‘well as long as I am not sending her off to college with a pacifier it will be OK….right?’.
Then along came Dr. Bilbeisi. She didn’t even have to see our daughter with a pacifier in her mouth to know that she was a paci-junkie. It was evident enough from her tooth formation. Dr. Bilbeisi explained to me what kind of damage would happen to my daughter’s mouth if this went on, but I knew better than to try to convince my daughter of giving it up. I admit I had very little expectations, but just to humor Dr. Bilbeisi, I asked her to talk to my daughter about giving up her life long pacifier addiction.
Off they went to the nearest mirror where Dr. Bilbeisi had a little talk with my daughter and showed her what was happening to her teeth as a result of the pacifier usage. Somehow my daughter became convinced and agreed to give it up immediately.
Since we are around several babies that take pacifiers, I needed a way to make it OK for those babies to have them, one of which is her own brother, but not OK for her. I decided to tell her that since little babies don’t have teeth, its OK for them to take pacifiers. I told her that some babies out there are sitting there without pacifiers and are sad about it. We came up with the solution to gather up all of hers since she no longer needs them, and leave them on the front doorstep for the babies out there that might need them more.
She got so excited about this and we quickly went on a scavenger hunt to gather up her pacifiers and place them in a box. We decorated the box with stickers and wrote on it that they were from her. She marched proudly to the front door, and left the box of treasured pacifiers outside for the ‘babies’ to come get them while she slept.
We decorated the box for the "babies"
Of course there were some tears at bed time, as that is when using the pacifier was most important to her, but with lots of love and reassurance she went to sleep eventually without it. In the morning when she woke up, she was so proud of her accomplishment. She went to the front door to see if the ‘babies’ had come to get the box of pacifiers and sure enough ‘they’ had. In its place ‘they’ had left her a thank you present.
It has been over a month now that she has been completely pacifier free. From time to time she checks the front door to see if the ‘babies’ perhaps forgot one of her pacifiers but when she sees that there are none she tells me ‘its fine because my teeth are going to be better now anyway.
Thank you Dr. B!