Bye Bye, Binkies

Ever since Mallory was born, she has been enamored with the binky.  She would take it pretty much any time during the day, and she needed it to fall asleep.  Initially, I didn’t have a problem with her sucking on it day and night, because it made my life much easier.  Any time she was getting fussy, I could just shove the binky in her mouth.  But it was time for Mallory and the binky to break up.  It was a relationship I could no longer approve of, because it was becoming a huge burden……… on me.

Logan was never interested in the binky.  He preferred to scream.  I am guessing he took it about 5% of the time that I tried to give it to him, which was not helpful, so I eventually just stopped offering it to him.  Once he got out of his ‘I hate being an infant’ stage, I was glad that he had not become addicted to the binky.  He is very attached to his blanket, which he refers to as his ‘kiki’, but I have not been inconvenienced by the blanket the way I have by the binky.

If you are a parent who has a child addicted to the binky, I completely get it.  It calms them and helps them fall asleep.  However, I was very annoyed with the binky constantly falling out of her mouth (or her spitting it out).  If I was at home and it fell on the floor, it would often go under the couch or the table.  If we were out of the house and it fell on the floor or ground, I would have to look around to see if anyone else saw it fall before I shoved the germ filled binky back in her mouth.  OK, I usually would put it in my mouth first to ‘clean’ it, but it’s still disgusting.  And I had to hurry, because if I don’t get it back in her mouth fast enough, she started getting fussy again, or maybe even started to cry.  There was also the day I remember feeling panic because I left the house and realized I had forgotten to bring a binky with me.  Oh, no.  What was I going to do?  I was a slave to the binky.

The worst part of the binky, in my opinion, is how it would disrupt her sleep, and consequentially, my sleep.  Once Mallory would fall asleep, the binky would fall out, but as soon as she hit a certain point in her sleep cycle, she would realize she no longer had it and would start crying.  It was fine if I was right there to put it back in immediately, but if I wasn’t she would wake up instead of continuing to sleep (which she needed).  I know there were some nights I must have put that binky in her mouth thirty times.  She was in a co-sleeper beside my bed, but it was still very interrupted sleep.

After a few particularly bad nights of sleep, I decided I couldn’t take it anymore.  Mallory needed sleep training and it was going to start with breaking the binky addiction.  I looked for advice on babycenter and also got specific advice from a friend, and the overwhelming advice was to just take it away cold turkey, starting at nap time, so the worst of the crying wouldn’t go on while I was trying to sleep.  So, I did it.  And it was pretty awful.  But only for two days.

Full disclosure:  my husband did comfort her the first couple times she tried to fall asleep, so it wasn’t brutal cry it out from the get-go.  He used the shushing technique from Happiest Baby on the Block until she fell asleep.  But then mean mom (me) told him that she had to learn to calm herself and that was the whole point, so we let her cry.  This is the hardest part and it is heart breaking.  Listening to my baby cry made me feel awful and I wanted to run in and make her feel better so many times.  But, once she had been crying for an hour, it would have all been for nothing if I had gone in to save her, so I let her go.  Eventually she stopped crying and fell asleep.   The next nap was skipped because she cried for an hour and forty five minutes, so I got her out of the crib to wait for bed time.  She fell asleep immediately at bedtime because she was exhausted, but then she woke up about an hour later.  I let her cry for about twenty-thirty minutes, and then she fell back asleep.  This day was the worst of it.

She has cried for a small amount of time (maybe five-ten minutes) each time I put her down to go to sleep (today was only the second day), but I feel like she gets it now.  She is comforting herself with a little blanket by chewing on it and hugging it.  I don’t have a problem with her chewing or sucking on her fingers, toys or blankets at night or during the day.  She will always be able to find her fingers in the middle of the night.

Mallory hasn’t had a binky in two days.  She’s doing really great during the day, and she is improving every time she falls asleep.  I am so happy to say BYE BYE, BINKY.

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