This is what I Googled last tonight. Because Lulu our almost 2-year-old loves her binky. Until a recent accident, she was doing good about giving it up. She took it to go to sleep most naps and nights, but that was it. We had it to a get-up and forget it place and some nights she even forgot to take it at all. We were progressing nicely to have no binky by two – which was my original goal.
But then Lulu had to stay overnight in the hospital. And she needed more assurances. She needed comfort more than ever, not just to get through that night, but the weeks that followed. After the hospital, she had to see different doctors, who poked and prodded. She had to get stitches removed, which is a traumatic experience for anyone. These activities required more than a lovey, a blanket, or even holding mom and dad’s hand. We had to bring in the big guns.
Since then, I admit, I’ve been part of the problem. I know a binky is a quick fix to anything, and I’ve been guilty of using it to my advantage. Lulu’s tired and we need to finish up in Target, give her a binky. Lulu is throwing her food on the floor at a restaurant – where’s the binky? Doctor’s office -have a binky. I know this is teaching her to misbehave, but I also know sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures.
I hate taking away things from her. I hate making decisions for her that she doesn’t have a say in, within reason of course. I make sure that she is safe, nice to people and animals and well cared for. But the other things, I want her to be comfortable making decisions, stating an opinion, and coming to me when she needs something.
Shouldn’t she have a say? We gave it to her so she could soothe herself, so why should we expect after less than two years of life she doesn’t need the tool anymore? Is a binky all that different from a favorite blanket or stuffed animal? I know that sugar isn’t healthy. It’s not providing me with nutritional value, it’s not giving me long term energy, and it’s not making me feel better – and yet at least once a day I reach for something sugary. So why am I holding her to a higher standard than I can hold myself too?
Every time I see a picture of a toddler with a binky in their mouth on Instagram or Facebook, it gives me joy. It makes me feel like I’m not alone. That I’m not the only one who doesn’t want to be a mean mama or doesn’t see the need to steal happiness away from a toddler. Maybe their pediatricians have said, “once she can ask for a binky, she’s probably too old for one” too. Maybe they’ve also thought one or twice, “don’t judge me devil woman! Sometimes my baby gets what my baby wants.” Just me? ok, that’s fair. I really do not think that about my pediatrician she’s wonderful, we love her. But she did really say that to me last week.
So, what’s a mama to do? When I googled this, there were over 5 million results! Obviously, I am not alone in this plight. From my research, there are 5 common themes that kept showing up.
- Cold Turkey – my thinking, are you crazy? I can’t do anything cold turkey, so I’m not going to put Lulu through that… at least not yet.
- Magical Binky Fairy – You prepare the child and turn it into a game for a mythical fairy to swoop up all the pacifiers and take them away to new babies who need them. This is a possibility. Although I’m not sure Lulu will buy it. Or care about new babies who need binkies. She’s been to Target, she knows the drill. There’s a wall of binkies for the taking.
- You’re A Big Girl Now – Prepare the child over a 3 day period to get ready to be a big girl and give up her binky’s on her own. I actually tried this recently. I told Lulu, Binky’s are for babies, are you a big girl or a baby? Her response – I’m a baby, binky, please. So I guess that answered that question.
- Alter the binky – on my own, I never would have thought of this, but you can cut or poke holes in the binky, so it loses its suction and takes the fun out of it. I’m equating this to a sugar-free cake – kind of up there with cruel and unusual punishment, but crazy enough I might try it. Like I said, desperate times, desperate measures.
- Let it Go – as in me, let it go. Most kids give up the binky between 3 and 4 years all on their own. So I could just let it go, let us both live our lives happily and binky filled. The ADA doesn’t like for toddlers to have binkies past the age of 24 months but it sounds like it’s not a real concern until after 48 months. And with both her parents having had braces growing up, I’d say there is a good chance having braces are in her future, regardless.
I know which option Lulu would choose, but what about you? Which option do you think is best? What worked for your littles? I’d love to know! Luckily, I only have to do this once. Linc was never a binky fan, and hopefully, it stays that way!