Bye, Bye, Binky

Giving up Charlie's pacifier.


"The pacifier's got to go," our pediatrician reprimanded at Charlie's 1-year check-up. "It's starting to affect his teeth."

Dear God. Help.

My name is Dana and I'm addicted to Charlie's pacifier.

How We Got Hooked

Charlie, like most babies, was born with a voracious need to suck. After about a week of being his personal walking/talking 24/7 pacifier, I decided that something had to give. That's when "Paci" came into our lives. Paci's first visit happened to coincide with the American Academy of Pediatrics' announcement of their updated stance on pacifiers, which were getting the official thumbs-up based on a link to decreased SIDS rates. That was all the encouragement I needed. Ever since, we've had an all-out love affair with Paci. Paci has been the answer to all our problems: What, Charlie's fussy? Paci to the rescue! Charlie can't sleep? Paci will settle him down! Charlie's making too much noise at Julia's field trip and I'm getting dirty looks from the museum curator? Paci saves the day!

We are so hooked. And now I need to figure out how to get us unhooked.

Going Cold Turkey

I tried going cold turkey. Which lasted for a sum total of two excruciating minutes. Charlie, who—ever since we "Ferberized" him—normally rolls over and hits the hay happily, writhed around screaming in his crib. But, we were also contending with an ear infection and the eruption of a set of monster molars, so I rationalized that we could surely wait 'til that storm settled before embarking on Project Paci.

This past week, I've been weaning Charlie (He's been ready for a while; I think I'm finally ready, too.), so there's yet another excuse—I don't want to deprive him of two sources of comfort all at once.

A Ceremonial Goodbye?

It feels like it's going to be a long goodbye. I'm sure Charlie would forget about his beloved paci in a few days if I could just bite the bullet and get rid of it. He's only one-year-old, after all—still highly distractible, unless of course we're trying to put him to sleep without the binky. When my friend Dani had to take her three-year-old daughter Emma's pacifier away, she was forced to call in reinforcements. The binky fairy visited Emma in the middle of the night, taking her pacifier away while she slept, leaving a gift in its place. A few days later, Emma missed her binky so much, Dani had to walk outside to have a chat with the binky fairy (who lives in their bushes), who graciously agreed to return Emma's binky—pronto.

Charlie's probably still a little young for the binky fairy. Instead, we've just been slowly losing pacifiers one by one, figuring that when the last one's gone, we'll have to be done with them.

Funny how this last remaining binky has had a knack for sticking around. Like when Charlie chucks it in the car, and I'm unbuckling my seat belt and climbing over the seats in a frantic, feeling-around attempt to fetch it for our distraught Charlie, all while Will's driving 60 mph down the highway. (At these times, I think: I should buy one of those clipy-thingies to fasten Charlie's pacifier to his shirt. But wait—no!—then we'd really be attached to Paci. Maybe I should just chuck it out the window instead?!)

Charlie's grandpa told me about a mother who tied her child's binky to balloons and let it drift off into the air—gone forever. It may be just the ceremonial goodbye we need.

If all else fails, I am hereby making a New Year's resolution that I never imagined I'd have to make:

Lose the binky.

(And hey, while you're at it, how 'bout those last five pounds of pregnancy weight?)

Join's Managing Editor Dana Rousmaniere each week as she chronicles life with a new baby.

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