The End of an Era: Goodbye Pacifier

So I took Kaya to the dentist the other day, and the visit was bitter-sweet. I was ecstatic to see that the meer sight of a health professional didn’t send her into hysterics (as it used to), and that she actually sat in the chair and opened her mouth for the dentist. I learned that all of her teeth have come in and that they look healthy. However, I was not happy to hear that she has an open bite from using a pacifier….

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An open bite means that her teeth do not shut all the way when she closes her mouth. The dentist recommended ending pacifier use immediately, noting that her teeth might correct themselves in about half a year’s time if she stops now. If not then she will need to wear a retainer at night.

This is a warning to all parents out there, end pacifier use by the time they turn 1! Kaya only used her pacifier at night and during naptime, and it usually fell out once she fell asleep. Furthermore, we only gave her ‘ortho’ pacifiers. Obviously I should have nipped the habit in the bud a year and a half ago, but hindsight is 20/20.

My next thought was…oh dear god, will she ever sleep again?? I rememebered all those times when we couldn’t her pacifier in the car when she was tired, the tantrums that followed. I knew I had to come up with a way to allow Kaya to say goodbye to her ‘sucker’ in a way that she’ll understand. The first thing I did was ask the dentist to tell Kaya her pacifier days are over. I didn’t think her telling me, and having Kaya overhear was good enough.

Secondly, I decided we would go to the park and give the pacifier a new home.  I wanted it to be in the park, but we had to find a place where no animals/people could really get to it, so we can ‘visit’  it for days, or even weeks to come. We found a large bush with an alcove in the back, and I picked Kaya up to allow her to hang it on a branch herself. Then we blew kisses at it and said our goodbyes. I promised Kaya we would come back to visit.

Her first nap was a disaster, it took me almost an hour to put her down and there was quite a bit of crying involved. The only thing that calmed her down towards the end were stories about her ‘sucker’ and its new home in the park. But going to sleep for the night that day was much less of a problem, and it’s been downhil ever since.

Kaya still asks about her pacifier a few times a day, and we’ve visited it a few times since the day we hung it on the tree. Overall, I’m surprised at how quickly she was able to cope with going to sleep without it, go Kaya!

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