How to Stop Your Kid from Sucking a Pacifier, Sucking a Bottle, Sucking a Thumb, Sucking on your Boob, etc. etc. etc.

Written by Lee

So yes. I was scared as hell to become a mother. 

But despite my deep-seeded fear that God did not cut me out of mother-making material, I couldn’t quite embrace the loads of parenting books that new mamas sometimes like to sink their insecure teeth into.  All the words I read as I tried to at least make it through the good ol’ standards “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” and “What to Expect the First Year” were just that….words.  Words that were just not doing the trick for me.  Words that were not sinking in. Words that just kept bouncing off my brain and back onto the page.  I’m sure there were plenty of good words in there somewhere.  These words were simply not resonating within me.  

And even though I am the first person to admit my weaknesses as a mama (hell, the whole reason this blog was created was because of my struggles in the mothering arena) I think that turning away from parenting books in general was actually an early sign of the kind of mother I was going to be.  And it reflects what I believe to be one of my greatest strengths as a person and it has ultimately saved my ass on this journey of mothering.

And that strength is the ability to listen to and to trust my inner voice.  Me.  My gut.

And in the upside-down whirldom of motherhood, the gut is pretty damn powerful.  And it’s the one thing I think that’s gotten buried in the midst of modern mama information overload.  And that’s not to say that there is not some extremely worthwhile and essential information out there. Sure there is. There’s simply too much of it.  

So my defense to information overload is to block out the chatter and look within.  The answer usually lies there.  For me.  And for my kids.  

And isn’t that all that really matters?

Claire, my oldest, loved her pacifier deep and true. And as she got older, her “paci” needs grew. From one to three. One for the mouth, one to hold under her nose to uh, smell, and one to hold in one hand and squeeze between her fingers.  By the time she was two-years-old, she needed ALL of them to put her to sleep.  And holy shit, you can imagine the chaos that ensued if for some reason, one of the three was missing.  

By the time Claire hit three, many of my friends around me with kids the same age were starting the “pacifier removal” process. And some friends who had older kids would tell me what they did to get rid of the pacifier so to help Claire and I in our sure-to-be painful journey of pacifier riddance.  I observed, and listened, but in my gut, I heard, “What’s the big deal? She surely won’t be sucking a pacifier forever.”  

So I let it go.  I let the pacifier trinity that was Claire’s soothing system reign. And I didn’t worry about it.  

And one day when Claire was a little over 5-years-old, I brought her pacifiers to her at bedtime like I had done a thousand times before and she said simply “I don’t need them anymore. I’m done.” 

And she was. 

And I left the room with her pacifiers in my hand and I cried.  ‘Cause it happened so damn fast. It was over.  

A topic that had literally consumed friends of mine and one that will consume many more mothers I am sure.  Gone.  In a flash.  With no warning.  No signs. She was bigger all of a sudden.  And she knew it was time.

And I’m not saying I’m a hero for letting it all happen that way.  I’m just saying that I think we need to remember that listening to our guts and not to everyone else who surely has a reason why MY kid needs to stop sucking her pacifiers.  

I think I am most successful as a mother when I listen to my inner voice and let go.  And usually what happens next is what’s supposed to happen. The organic path.  I truly believe that.  

It’s all of the plotting and stomping and and tricking and battling and reasoning and talking and pleading and bargaining and negotiating that I think is nuts. Especially when it comes to emotional matters for kids. Like sucking things. That sucking stuff is personal. It’s intimate. It’s comforting. It’s expression. It’s need.

I know there will be plenty of people who might very well make all kinds of arguments as to why I’m crazy for letting this sucking stuff take its natural course.  And I welcome those arguments of course.  I simply would like to present this as food for thought…

“We’re over-thinking it.” 

Being a mother has been the most single most surprising experience of my life and it never stops with its shock value.  In many ways, I am the kind of mother I never thought I would be. Like I’m a mother of a 25-month-old little dude who is not too interested in stopping nursing. I never thought I would be “that mom.” But I am. And I’m listening to my gut on this one too.

One day sometime soon, sooner than I would like, he will tell me in his own way that he doesn’t need it anymore. He’s done. 

And despite the people around me who I’m sure have their own thoughts about my nursing a 2-year-old, I will probably cry when it’s over.  ‘Cause it will all have ended so. damn. fast.

So how do you stop a kid from sucking the stuff he or she loves and craves to suck on?  I say, in most instances, let it go.  The sucking is gonna stop.  It really will.  That’s what my gut tells me. And it hasn’t let me down so far.
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