The day after Sara Kate was born she was introduced to the paci. I was not on board with it at that time since I was only nursing her. I didn't want her to be confused but all she wanted to do was suck constantly and that was an extremely painful thing!!! So I caved and let the nurse give her the paci (my original plan was to wait 2 weeks to introduce it). Thankfully she never had any confusion with nursing and she took the paci and continued to breastfeed with no problem.
Looking back, this is the first picture I could find with it in her mouth and she was 1 day shy of 1 month old here.
She became dependent on it and it was her comfort, which I was totally fine with.
April 8, 2011, Sara Kate's 1st birthday
April 26, 2012, the day before Operation Goodbye Paci began. This is the last picture I have of her with it.
At first I thought 18 months was a good time to take it away but she was working on so many teeth at that time I thought we better wait. I decided 2 was the magic age. At 2 years old, the paci would be no more!! The closer she got to 2, I thought yep, we can do this! She got to where she wasn't using it at all during the day at school (not even nap time) but she had to have it in the car, at bedtime, and during her fussy tired times at night. Then it got a name (umpa) and I felt she started to backslide. She needed it more often and was even desperate for it at times, and I was at a loss of exactly what to do. But exactly 2 weeks ago I decided to bite the bullet and just do it. I figured a Friday night was definitely better than a week night for sure! My mom said her friend's daughter poked a hole in it so it deflated and that worked perfectly for her child. I tried that and that stupid thing didn't budge from it's original shape. So I went to the next best thing I'd heard about from several friends, cutting off the tip. After bath time I just took it from her, went in the kitchen, grabbed the scissors, and clipped the tip.
I gave it to her and she tried sucking and then that turned into the saddest night of my life thus far. She cried and cried and said 'mommy, what happened? Help me.' Over again and over again while she tried to suck it she cried, 'Mommy, what happened? Help me.' It literally broke my heart. I had done something that she didn't understand and that killed me. Chris was out working so I was home alone...probably not the smartest move on my part...but she cried and I cried. It was heart wrenching. It even brings tears to my eyes 2 weeks later thinking of her little crying voice asking me what happened and to help her. I contemplated caving, thinking it would be easier when she was a little older because she would understand. But I knew it would be just as hard so we had to do it. I finally got her to sleep and I was surprised when she slept through the night. Nap time and bed time the following several days were awful. She would WAIL for her umpa and of course, for me. There were a couple nights where she woke up during the night crying uncontrollably wanting her umpa. The first Monday after school when we got in the car she started asking for it. She cried so hard when I said we didn't have it...that was a long ride home! Ever since then, I've had her snack in the car for a distraction. But she would never ask for it during the day (minus that first Monday after school) so I felt that was progress. Almost a week in, my mother in law gave me the idea to tell Sara Kate something about being a big girl like her cousin Hannah. So I gave that a try at bedtime (but not mentioning Hannah), telling her she was going to be a big girl and go to bed like a big girl all by her self like a big girl. I REALLY stressed being a big girl. And it worked!! She went to sleep perfectly! And that's what we do every night now, give lots of hugs and kisses, say night night, and say it's time to go to bed like a big girl. That excites her and she will say 'big gul' over and over again. So I am writing this exactly 2 weeks after I decided to start 'Operation Goodbye Paci' because we did it. We are done, over the hump, and she's perfectly content without it. I think part of me was holding on because that was the last BABY thing we still had left. But she's not our baby anymore, she's our big girl.