It was a dark and stormy night. The baby was beleaguered in misery, screaming until his throat croaked, until his face was as flush as a fire engine. But the binkie was nowhere to be found.
It sounds like the title to a horror story, right moms?
But no, this is not a horror story. My husband and I had been planning this day for months, in fact. You see, for both of our boys, we pulled the binkie at 15 months.
Initially, it wasn’t our idea. Our doctor made the suggestion when my first born was one year old. “15 months,” he said. “That’s the magic number to make this change as quick and painless as possible.” He sold me at the word “quick.”
Both of our kids loved their pacifiers. They were a Godsend on many a dark and stormy night, in fact. The calm and gentle nights too. They calmed terrors, they soothed sadness and they helped encourage sleep. It amazed me how many times the binkie saved my butt. If you’ve ever listened to a baby scream for more than 30 minutes, you will understand. My own sanity was on the line, for goodness sakes.
You can imagine the anxiety of preparing to eliminate this magic tool from our lives. Part of me thought we were crazy, part of me was terrified we’d fail, and part of me said “Just wait a few more months… Surely it won’t hurt anyone.” But we remained steadfast to our plan. The evening before our day of reckoning we combed the house front to back, inside and out. No binkie would be left behind.
Other ideas seem to pop out of nowhere on days like these, too. What if we just used the binkie at nighttime? What if we just rely on it less? No. No. No. This band-aid needs to be ripped off fast, folks. The faster the better. It will sting a little, but heal sooner.
Yes, it stung. It was a solid two days of discomfort for both my kids, respectively. But the beauty of the 15-month rule is the kids are old enough to know how to self-soothe and young enough to break habits easily. By day three, the binkie was all but forgotten and new routines emerged of long strands of babbling, more snuggling with the blankie, and — yes, you guessed it — times of very vocal complaints.
But it’s all been worth it.
I wasn’t always an advocate though. On the first few days after taking my firstborn home, my husband toyed with the idea of a pacifier to help calm our colicky, miserable, cacophonous newborn. “Nipple confusion!” I would shout at him with dagger eyes. Hadn’t he read the baby books? The pacifier would never encourage a proper latch, it would discourage self-soothing, and would probably drive the child to therapy by the time he reaches high school. Duh.
It was two days of hell. Hands down the worst two days of my life. I was in labor with this little tubby for 24 hours, and now we were home from the hospital, I was bleeding like I just shoved a watermelon through my vajayjay, and I was going on zero sleep. Screaming, crying, moaning… my son and I were practically taking turns playing the victim at this point. I looked my husband in the eye with the death stare and coldly said, “go get a binkie. Now.” 20 minutes later we popped that thing into his mouth and we’ve never looked back.
I’m grateful for the binkie. So grateful. It has gotten me through many extremely challenging periods in parenthood. I don’t know what it’s like to wean a 3-year-old from the binkie, and I don’t know what it’s like to wean a 12-month-old, either. But if anyone ever asked my advice, I would surely tell them that 15 months is the magic number. Because it was for both my boys.
And if you want only one piece of advice from me — and I know you do because I’m a mommy blogger and you knew that going into this article so listen up — GO GET A BINKIE. Best five bucks you ever spent. If they had them in adult size, I know a few folks I’d love to pop one in, too. But that’s a whole nother post.