It’s been about two months since I took pacifiers away from the quints. It was not an easy process. It was a huge change for all eight of us, but it was a change that I knew needed to take place. The quints are almost 2.5 years old. At their last dental appointment, the dentist told me to try to have them off the pacifiers before their next visit in six months. Not only was our pediatric dentist encouraging us to take the pacifiers away, so was our speech therapist. I always want to do what’s best for my kids, but I’ll be honest with you, Steven and I were just as attached to the pacifiers as the quints were. The pacifiers could silence them when we couldn’t. The pacifiers helped them sleep at night. The pacifiers helped us keep our sanity for the first two years. But as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end.
Right before their second birthday I decided it was time to make some changes. So, I took the pacifiers away during the day. They were only allowed to have them at nap time and bedtime. It was a tough adjustment but they eventually settled in and accepted the new change. It was so funny because when we’d say, ‘let’s go to bed’ and they’d take off running because they knew they were going to get their pacifiers. After about six months, I decided it was time to be done with pacifiers altogether. I didn’t want to do it, Steven didn’t want to do it, but we both knew it needed to be done. And I knew I needed to do it before they started preschool. So, I asked some moms for advice, read some articles, and looked on Pinterest for ideas to make this change as painless as possible.
The day I took the pacifiers was just a normal day. We didn’t have anything going on, it was just a normal summer day in the Seals household. I told the quints that the Pacifier Fairy was going to take their pacifiers to new babies. We put the pacifiers in a big envelope, addressed to the Paci Fairy, then walked to the mailbox to mail the pacis off. They had no clue what we were doing, but they went along with it. A few minutes later we received a package back from the Paci Fairy. We opened the package and it was all of their animals, without the pacifier attached. It was so hilarious to see their expressions when they realized the paci was gone. Brant looked at his, said, “it’s broke”, threw it and was done with it. Mia looked dumbfounded. I laughed so hard at her. Rayleigh tried to suck hers without the paci. Tessa and Gracie just looked around confused. It was so funny. They did well, that is until naptime. That’s when things got real. For the next week, there would be at least one, sometimes more of the quints that wouldn’t nap. Some would eventually go to sleep on the couch but not in their bed. Bedtime was just as bad. Gracie and Brant wouldn’t stay in their bed; they kept climbing out. Everyone cried. It was pretty miserable for a week or two. Then slowly, day-by-day, they began to figure out, life goes on without pacifiers. They had their WubbaNub animals to soothe them. I bought new pillows for their beds to comfort them. They went to sleep with stuffed animals. Everyone had at least one blanket in bed with them; we tried our best to figure out new ways to help them soothe themselves to sleep. They still have their moments, but we’re surviving, and that’s all I can ask for….
Here’s how that epic day went for the quints….
Everyone getting one last suck in before we mailed the pacifiers off to the Paci Fairy to give to new babies.
Ready to mail off….
We walked out to the mailbox to officially bid farewell….
A few minutes after we “mailed” the pacifiers off, the Paci Fairy worked her magic and they were gone…for-e-ver!!!
Thankfully the Paci Fairy is an understanding Fairy and knew we’d want our animals back….
Their faces were priceless when they opened the package to only find the animals.
I want to say a special thank you to my friend McCall (aka Tom) for helping me with this monumental task. God knew what he was doing when he put our “Tom” in our lives.
We’re now about two months without pacifiers and they are doing well. I’ve learned lots of lessons along the way that I’m going to share with you because that’s what I think us moms should do more, share ways to survive mommyhood.
Lessons Learned From Taking Pacifiers Away….
- Take it slow.
- About 4-5 months before I completely took the pacifiers away, I took the pacifiers away during the day. I only let the quints have their pacifiers at nap and nighttime.
- Find a replacement.
- My kids need something to soothe them so when the pacifiers were gone, I knew they were going to need something to help calm them during times of distress so I cut the pacifier off their WubbaNub and let them continue to have their animal. I also bought regular size pillows to make their bed more comfy. They were allowed to sleep with blankets to cozy up to. I also let them take stuffed animals to bed.
- Wear them out.
- Nap time and nighttime were the hardest times of the day without the pacifiers but I quickly found out if the kids were really tired, it didn’t matter if they had the pacifier or not, they quickly settled down and went to sleep. So, we take them outside or to the park or do something where they can run off as much energy as possible so they are tired and ready to go to bed when the time comes to go to sleep.
- Only one major change at a time.
- So I have found that I’m much more successful and big transitions go much smoother when we are only focusing on one change at a time. I knew preschool was coming very soon and I didn’t want to wait until after school started to take the pacifiers away. Big changes can stress kids out and I didn’t want to throw too much at my kids at one time.
- Wait until they are healthy.
- Sick kids need extra cuddles and soothing when they are sick. There were several times this summer that I wanted to pull the plug on pacifiers but all of the sudden the kids would get sick and I knew I needed to wait until they were healthy.
- Earlier is better.
- I took Brady’s pacifier away when he was around 16 months old, it was a tough transition for a few days but he quickly became attached to his pillow and blanket (that he still sleeps with at 4.5 years). After 4-5 days, he didn’t complain about the pacifier anymore. I waited until the quints were around 28 months to take their pacifiers away and they were much more attached than Brady was at 16 months. Now, I do think the fact that they are quintuplets and that all the girls share a room had a lot to do with how long it took them to finally get comfortable without the pacifiers. A few of them would have probably done fine but because there were 2 or 3 other siblings crying and having a hard time contributed to all of them having a hard time.
- Another reason I wish I would have taken the pacifiers away from the quints sooner is because they can do so much more at 28 months than they could at say 16 months. They would climb out of their cribs and come looking for us. A few of them took their poopy diapers off and had some nasty fun in protest to not having a pacifier. At 16 months, they would not have done those things. Like they say, hindsight is 20/20.
- Make sure you’re 100% committed.
- Once you decide you’re going to take the pacifier away, do it and be done. Giving in and giving the pacifier back only to take it away a few days later is just wrong in my opinion. It makes life hard on the child who is being confused and it’s harder on the parent because you have to endure this tough process longer. I threw the pacifiers away the day we took them away because I didn’t want to be tempted to give in. I knew it was going to be a tough process. I knew there was going to be lots of crying, screaming, snot, tears, sleepless nights, and days of no naps. I knew I would want to give in and give the pacifiers back, so I took that temptation away.
Well folks, there you have it. We survived taking pacifiers away from quintuplets and are still here to tell about it. I’m not, at all, saying my way of taking pacifiers away is the best way. I don’t think there is a perfect way to take pacifiers away from kids. Each kid is different and each situation is different and as parents we have to try to figure out a way to make the transition as painless and smooth as possible. I hope the lessons I’ve learned along the way may help another mom out there who is about to take the pacifier away from her little one. It’s not a fun process but do your homework, talk to other moms who’ve done it, and when you feel the time is right for your child, do it! I wish you all the best!