Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Our 2 1/2-year-old still uses a pacifier.

I never gave this topic much thought until one of our daughter's school teachers asked me about a red bump that she noticed on Linna's lip the other day (every now and then, Linna has a bump on her lip in the morning, from sucking on her pacifier overnight).

"Does she use a pacifier?", the teacher asked.

"Oh, yeah. But only at night or nap time. She ONLY gets it when she's sleeping," I quickly replied, feeling the need to defend our 2.5-year-old's pacifier use. But now I find myself questioning my need to defend this parenting decision.

Linna has used her pacifier (AKA her "wah") since she was a newborn. We used it to calm her down, she slept with it, and it quickly became the coveted baby tool in our house. If you didn't have one close by, you were in big trouble. I can't remember when, but my husband and I made the conscience decision to only allow Linna to have her "wah" during sleep time. We fully believe that this decision, and commitment on our part, resulted in the amazing little sleeper that Linna is.

By the way, I'm not trying to make you feel bad if your kid doesn't sleep... but... we really have a phenomenal sleeper! If our kid doesn't end up going to Harvard, swimming in the Olympic games, or learning five languages by the age of four... we can STILL say, "Yeah, but she was a FABULOUS sleeper".

Sleep always wins.

Sure as Linna got older, we eventually started "bending the rules", allowing her to have her "wah" when she's sick, or when we're on a plane. In those types of situations, the rules go out the door.

At 2.5 years old, Linna knows that she only gets her "wah" at nap and bedtime. Yes, she has her meltdowns when we're out in public and where she asks for her "wah", but we rarely break the rules. Trust me, it would be so much easier to just give her the f-ing "wah" at times, but if we don't stick to our commitment... the toddler wins. And that's not happening. While other kids her age don't nap at all, and/or don't sleep through the night, Linna averages a 2 to 3-hour nap in the afternoon, and sleeps 10-12 hours at night. WHY ON EARTH would we want to mess with this?!

BUT... now that Linna is getting older, I find myself searching for the answer to the question that a lot of first-time parents have:

When is a kid "too old" for a pacifier?

I'll admit, I still cringe when I see kids that are Linna's age, as well as older kids, walking around with a pacifier in their mouth ALL the time. But really, who am I to judge, when other parents are probably questioning my parenting skills when they see Linna on an airplane with her "wah" in her mouth? It's a routine that is currently working for us. Sure we have to start considering her oral development, but Linna speaks as clearly as any other child her age, and her teeth aren't all jacked-up or anything. So honestly, we have no plans to try to make Linna give up her beloved "wah". At this point, Linna might be in kindergarten and still sleeping with her pacifier.

I'm cool with that.

We're taking Linna to her first dental check-up next month, and if the dentist isn't concerned about our "wah situation"... I'm not concerned. Really, it was never a "situation" until someone asked me a question, and I got defensive about it. Secretly, I'm praying that the dentist gives us the thumbs-up to continue our current pacifier routine. I sure don't want to be the one to have to take it away! We'll leave that job for Papa Saigh;)

To sum things up, I'm basically going with the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" method. I truly feel that if something works for you and your little one, and it's not harming anyone in the process (other than the "judgers")... just keep doing it. If something is giving you some sanity in your life when it comes to your kids, and you're not harming them or yourself... just keep doing it. The "f" with what everyone else thinks!


  1. With our 1st kiddo- the moment we took the paci away at bedtime was the moment all hell broke loose at bedtime and we had months of sleep troubles with getting him to go to sleep (He was just past his 3rd birthday). With our 2nd, his 3rd birthday was at the end of January, and he is still using his paci. We talk with him about getting rid of it and some nights he chooses NOT to use it, but I have decided to "let him be little" and enjoy it for bedtime as he deems he needs it.. Now if he is 4 and still needing it.. we might need to rethink it! :)

  2. I feel like you just wrote our story for our almost two year old. He has insisted on the 'nuddy' since day two. I'm okay with him letting me know when he's done with his pacifier. Before him I swore that having a kid who's 2-3 years old and can talk is too old to have one, but I like to sleep, and I LOVE that he, still at 23 months, sleeps 10-12 hours a day and naps 2,3,4 hours a day. I'll take it! This mommy needs her quiet time!! You go momma, don't let others opinions make you feel bad about how you're parenting YOUR child.

  3. Our daughter also used it mostly for sleeping. The dentist said she should give it up by the age of 5 or so, so it wouldn't effect her permanent teeth. We prepared her for giving it up at her 4 1/2 birthday with a special doll, and since it was a month before Xmas we sent a note with the last pacifier to Santa Claus! I always figured it was easier to wean a child from the pacifier than a thumb!