Mom's Talk Q&A: Bent on Banishing the Binky
A weekly column on issues in mothering. Ask away, moms!
Q: My daughter is addicted to her pacifier (a.k.a. binky). She always wants to have it in her mouth, and she’s 18 months old. I am trying to limit her use of it, but I don’t know how to get her to give it up. What are your suggestions?
A: My daughter is in the same boat. True, she’s two years old, but she’s loved the binky since birth (see photo). Right now we’re limiting it to her afternoon naptime and night time (and she’s fine with that). She has a funny routine where we have to “wash the binky” for her before she takes it in her mouth. Anyway, I always say that a binky is semi-permanent, but a thumb is forever, so I don’t mind it so much. True (albeit embarrassing) confession: I was a thumb sucker well into my adolescence, so I’m not looking to go that route for my daughter.
I recently bought the book Baby’s Binky Box by Jennifer Ormond (www.jenniferormond.com); a tale that teaches toddlers to give up the binky on their own (by creating a box for the binky to “sleep” in). Also, I ordered The Binky Fairy by Andrea Van Ness (www.ThumbuddyToLove.com), which comes with a Binky Fairy puppet (which is supposed to replace the binky), a success chart and stickers. It’s a story of how the Binky Fairy visits in the middle of the night and gathers up children’s pacifiers and brings them to the hospital to help all the newborn babies. I’m excited to see how well these positive teaching tools will work for us.
Deborah Gilboa, MD, (www.deborahgilboamd.com), a board-certified family physician and mother of four, and Holly Klassen of www.thefussybabysite.com offer additional suggestions on how to wean your little one from the pacifier.
Limit Use to Reduce Abuse: Pick a milestone birthday to determine when the pacifier starts staying in your child’s bed or crib. Tell your child that he can have the pacifier any time he wants it, but he has to stay in the crib/bed while using it.
Cut it out, So She Won’t Pout. Snip a hole in the tip of the binky and then let her suck on it as much as she wants. The novelty will quickly wear off as she finds she can’t satisfactorily suck the binky anymore; but doing it in this fashion prevents her from thinking of you as the bad guy.
A Sticker Works Quicker: Let your child “earn” stickers for each time he doesn’t take his binky out of the crib or bed. Stickers work especially well at the end of breaking a habit to get your child over the hump.
Lose It, So She Won’t Use It: Get rid of all the pacifiers in your house (or put them away where only you can find them). If your child knows the binky is gone forever and there are no others stashed away nearby, she will manage to cope with the loss. However, if she knows there is another binky still in the house she will cajole and cry until you cave.
Wave Bye Bye Binky: Explain to your toddler that binkies are for babies. Create a special ceremony where you both say goodbye to the binky, and replace it with a specially chosen toy (such as a coveted stuffed animal or doll).
Good, Clean Culture for Kids
Q: Is there something fun I can do with my teenagers this summer to keep them close to home (and out of trouble)?
A: Check out www.fortleenj.org for a listing of events taking place in Fort Lee this summer. For example, the Fort Lee Film Commission is presenting the 2011 season of "Movies & Music Under the Stars," which will take place every Saturday night from July 2 to September 3 beginning at 7 p.m. at the Jack Alter Fort Lee Community Center, 1355 Inwood Terrace. The music is from 7-8:30 pm; films will begin at sunset. Bring chairs, blankets, picnic baskets and make it a family outing. For more information call 201-592-3663 or visit www.FortLeeFilm.org.
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